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Poll: Do you think it's an advantage to live in your target language country?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:29
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Jul 28, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think it's an advantage to live in your target language country?".

This poll was originally submitted by Natalia Pedrosa. View the poll results »



 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:29
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, to some extent Jul 28, 2015

Good question - and a new one, if I'm not mistaken.

My native language is English and I lived and translated in Mexico City for two years, speaking Portuguese at home and Spanish on the street and with colleagues and friends.

I felt that my English got rusty. I got a bit behind on my slang and the latest expressions. I noticed that my ex-pat friends were even further behind the curve; they often mixed Spanish and English when they talked, depending on which language offered the most nuanced expressions for what they wanted to say.

There's something to be said for that constant bombardment of messages all day long to build and strengthen the language muscle.

[Edited at 2015-07-28 09:10 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:29
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jul 28, 2015

I have been living in the country of one of my source languages for the last 30 years. I worked in-house for 20 years in a Portuguese translation unit as part of a team of 15 Portuguese translators. When I retired 10 years ago, I decided to stay in Brussels. Obviously, frequent contact with the target language is of paramount importance and nowadays it’s easier to keep up-to-date with your target language than it was some years ago (thanks to cheaper airfares). I travel to Portugal as much as possible, I read books, newspapers and magazines, I watch TV in Portuguese...

 

Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:29
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, definitely Jul 28, 2015

Hi there,

Many job posting demand residency in your target language, plus you are in constant touch with the language itself. Although it's also good to spend some time in your source language country for obvious reasons.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:29
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I think it depends... Jul 28, 2015

Firstly it depends on which languages you work with, and which way you translate. Ideally, you should live immersed in one and have frequent access to the other, but some are much more easily accessible than others, so it may be an advantage to be surrounded by the one that is least accessible abroad.

For me, it is an enormous advantage to live in my source language country, because my target is English, and you simply cannot escape exposure to it. I have family in the UK and can visit a couple of times a year too.

In the UK, you have to make an effort to find Danish, although of course, Danes get about everywhere, and once you know where to look and send out the right signals, they pop up.

I have only lost one client because they suddenly insisted on only working with translators who live in their target language country. We had been working happily together for several years! Then they introduced this new idea and I was tired of their CAT...




[Edited at 2015-07-28 10:15 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:29
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Aren't you the asker? Jul 28, 2015

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:

Hi there,

Many job posting demand residency in your target language, plus you are in constant touch with the language itself. Although it's also good to spend some time in your source language country for obvious reasons.


 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:29
Danish to English
+ ...
Yes, definitely Jul 28, 2015

And I hope to move back to England soon for that very reason...

The majority of my work is translation from my mother tongue, Danish, into my first foreign language, which is English.

I lived eight years in England before I started formal language studies, and my work today is based in equal parts on my immersion in English language and culture on the one hand, and on my training and professional experience on the other.

As Christine says, it is easy to find some level of exposure to English while living in Denmark, and I do what I can to keep my English skills up-to-date from a distance, but I am acutely aware that language changes over the years and that the best way to keep abreast with developments is to live and breathe, hear and speak them...

[Edited at 2015-07-28 10:09 GMT]


 

Timothy Barton
Local time: 20:29
French to English
+ ...
Depends on the language Jul 28, 2015

To some extent it depends on the language. I work into English, and being in the country of two of my source languages has given me a wealth of opportunities that I wouldn't have found so easily in the UK: companies wanting a website in English, university lecturers who want to publish in English, etc. In terms of keeping in touch with the language, it's really not very difficult nowadays. You can read news online in your language, you can get free-to-air news channels via satellite, even if you only have local TV, you can usually watch films in the original language, etc. And in Europe, cheap flights mean that you can regularly travel "home" without it costing an arm and a leg.

 

Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:29
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, Teresa, I am Jul 28, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:

Hi there,

Many job posting demand residency in your target language, plus you are in constant touch with the language itself. Although it's also good to spend some time in your source language country for obvious reasons.


I don't get your point Teresa. I thought askers were also entitled to provide answers.


 

Georgia Morgan  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:29
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
source country more important Jul 28, 2015

Personally, it's more important to me to live in my source language country (first Brazil, now Portugal). As people have said, English is ubiquitous; I also subscribe to newspapers and journals, I Skype friends, I watch BBC and SKY news, I go to a lot of movies, some of which are English or American.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:29
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Probably, yes, but... Jul 28, 2015

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:

Teresa Borges wrote:

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:

Hi there,

Many job posting demand residency in your target language, plus you are in constant touch with the language itself. Although it's also good to spend some time in your source language country for obvious reasons.


I don't get your point Teresa. I thought askers were also entitled to provide answers.


... I think it's the very first time I've seen it!


 

Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:29
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I've seen it many times Jul 28, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:

Teresa Borges wrote:

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:

Hi there,

Many job posting demand residency in your target language, plus you are in constant touch with the language itself. Although it's also good to spend some time in your source language country for obvious reasons.


I don't get your point Teresa. I thought askers were also entitled to provide answers.


... I think it's the very first time I've seen it!


I don't know how you get so surprised, after all if you ask a question you can give your own opinion about it. Or maybe I'm confused with the forums.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 04:29
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes Jul 28, 2015

For me, at least

I'm a tech translator so I have lots of opportunities to go to factories and talk with engineers and authors who actually write what I translate. This is exceptionally cool 'cos you can learn sooooo much by going to the shop floor and seeing what they are talking about. icon_biggrin.gif

But, again, there is lots of diverse discussion about the pros and cons of 'immersion.' All I can say is that I am up to neck in it every day - and it feels quite nice. icon_smile.gif


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 00:59
English to Hindi
+ ...
Definitely Jul 28, 2015

Ideally translators should manage to live in places where both their main languages are spoken. To do really cutting edge translation you need to have native-level competency in both source and target languages. Otherwise many of the subtle points in the source will get missed out in the translation, even when the translation reads well.

This may be possible for larger languages like Hindi or English, but for smaller or rarer combinations, it would be difficult to find places where both source and target are spoken. In such cases, there is no alternative to shuttling between the two language zones as often as possible to maintain high level of proficiency in both the languages.

I don't think it is quite possible to maintain living contact with languages merely by watching TV or reading books. You need to immerse yourself among actual speakers of the languages. The reason is, TV, books, magazines, etc., use a more or less standardized version (read watered down version) of the language, whereas the real creative use of language is happening among the less educated, native speakers, particularly the younger ones. We need to interact with them to keep our languages alive and active.

It is a small but critical investment that all serious translators should make - spending time in their source and target language regions.


 

DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:29
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Depends how well-exported the target language is Jul 28, 2015

I am bilingual, I have 2 target languages English and Greek - and my answer would be different for each - so, it is really hard to say.
My main [and dominant] target language is English, when I lived in English speaking-countries, I didn't work as a translator and there wasn't (much on) the internet either. But English is such a globally-dominant language it would be hard to escape it - even when not living in an English-speaking country.

For the last 12 years I have been living in Greece (Greek being my other target language) and, even with all the resources available on the internet today, it would be harder to keep up-to-date with Greek if I didn't live here. Ignoring our best efforts to destroy the language, with Greeklish or Gringlish or whatever, there is just much less written Greek outside of Greece, than is the case with English.


 
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