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Poll: How many languages do you speak, read or understand OTHER THAN your working languages?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 05:58
Jan 3, 2018

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many languages do you speak, read or understand OTHER THAN your working languages?".

This poll was originally submitted by Christine Andersen. View the poll results »


Paul Adie  Identity Verified
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mixed bag Jan 3, 2018

Russian, which has effectively stopped being one of my working languages. Studied at uni.

Lithuanian, which I studied for a year in Vilnius. Fully intended it to become a working language, but with very low rates and high competition from fully bilingual American sons and daughters of emmigrants, it was put to the side. Still a very interesting language.

German, which I'd like to turn into a working language in a year or two. Been living in Munich for a year and a half now, still more time needed.

Happy New Year!

[Edited at 2018-01-03 08:25 GMT]


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:58
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
When asked Jan 3, 2018

by Japanese how many languages I speak, I'll start with English then mention Japanese and end with Osakan (dialect). This generally gets a few laughs as most Japanese think "Osakan ain't Japanese." I'll answer "1" on the assumption that a strong and widely spoken dialect is a language on its own.

Happy New Year everybody! icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:58
Member (2008)
English to Italian
other Jan 3, 2018

I could speak German and French fluently.

Still I can read a bit of French


Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:58
Member (2006)
German to English
1 Jan 3, 2018

Understand a lot of Hungarian and speak a little


Teresa Borges
Local time: 13:58
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
1 Jan 3, 2018

Other than my working languages (English, French, Spanish and Italian) and my native (European Portuguese) I have a passive knowledge of Crioulo (a Portuguese creole language spoken in Cabo Verde)…


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:58
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Three Jan 3, 2018

I began translating EN > PT professionally with technical material, as a Mechanical Engineering sophomore back in 1973, hence long before the Internet, globalization etc. I only began to widen my horizon in translation around 1981.

Lack of information at that time (viz. I didn't know the difference between a translator and an interpreter) led me to believe that every translator was expected to work in BOTH directions within their working pair.

So I did two things:
a) Though demand was local only, and 99% of it was for EN > PT, I kept honing my skills to translate PT > EN to the same quality level; and
b) though I had studied IT and FR, each of these about half the time I had studied EN, upon realizing that I wouldn't be able to translate into them with the same fluency I had in EN, I decided that I would NOT translate from them professionally.

The outcome of (a) was positive. When I took the Brazilian gov't exam for sworn translators in 1999, I passed. In that very exam (Sao Paulo State), 1 candidate out of 4 or 5 (considering all the 22 languages) passed. My take is that most who failed did so in the PT > foreign language translation part of it.

The outcome of (b) is questionable. Nowadays I see a large number of translators working EN > PT (but NOT the other way around) with a visibly lesser knowledge of EN than I had of IT or FR at the time. Anyway, I still speak both, to what I call "advanced tourist" level.icon_smile.gif Too late to consider "what if?"

In the mid-1980s, I coordinated five large LatAm executive conferences in Brazil for the company I was working at. It was not my job, I was one of the two HR Managers there, and my colleague could cover for me during the 2-3 weeks each one would take. Most of the attendees were from ES-speaking countries, and (for reasons widely discussed on the Internet) while I could understand ES, they couldn't understand PT.

So I learned to speak ES by osmosis, though I remain illiterate in it. I use my very own personal variant of it, which is some sort of a pan-Hispanic mix, and speak it with impressive fluency. It is clearly not Portuñol (an ES/PT pidgin), yet not any identifiable variant of ES. Useless for translation, not professional for interpreting, but extremely useful, whenever needed for communication.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:58
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I wavered between 2 and 4 Jan 3, 2018

Should I vote 2 or 3-4? ... and in the end I voted 2.

The more working languages you have, the less capacity for others, and it is a bit of a question these days, whether I actually work with Norwegian and Swedish. I have done previously, so I counted them as working languages. I can read them, but always wonder about possible traps and false friends for a Danish speaker.

My other two languages are French and German, definitely not working languages, although I have studied them on and off and even spoken a sort of French/Franglais quite fluently.

Then there is my school Latin, which I never really understood comfortably, though the vocabulary has been useful time and time again. And now I am struggling with Italian from scratch, and finding odd things like oggi coming from hodie, or soddisfatto -- which looks like the opposite to my English eyes...

It will be a long time before I can read or carry on any real conversations in Italian, but time is ticking by - I get to meet a new side of the family in the spring, and that means their spring, not ours here in the north!

[Edited at 2018-01-03 10:51 GMT]


Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:58
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
2 Jan 3, 2018

Besides my working languages (EN and DA) I speak French and German, but not at professional level.


Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:58
Italian to English
+ ...
2 but not proficient Jan 3, 2018

My working languages are Italian>English and French>English.

I have a basic knowledge of German and Spanish, enough to know what is going on when visiting extended family and to get by in shops and restaurants.


Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:58
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
More than 5 Jan 3, 2018

I studied Latin at school and my knowledge of it still comes in handy from time to time. I taught myself Dutch to a basic level in my spare time and use it regularly to read the Dutch press online. I would have loved to have transformed it into one of my working languages, but I was unable to find suitable courses in the locality where I live. Later I returned to university where I studied Spanish to intermediate level and German, Portuguese and Polish to a basic level. It still amazes me to this day that I succeeded in writing in a essay in Polish in order to pass the course. At one time I also took a short course in Romanian, but there wasn't the option of pursuing it further due to a lack of provision at University level.


Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:58
Member (2004)
English to French
I replied other Jan 3, 2018

Because I still understand Russian (it was my mother tongue, but I ended up forgetting most of it), but don't speak it much.
I studied German, and still understand it, but since I don't get to practice it, I forgot a lot.

Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:58
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
To what degree? Jan 3, 2018

I use all languages I at least understand properly as working languages, although some of them not often.
Now you mention it - I also learned Russian at school, wouldn't think of that - but yes, I still understand it. I get about in some languages on the "tourist" level, but wouldn't call it understanding them, still less speaking them. I can understand written text in any Slavic or Latin language to a degree, but not enough at times when it's really important, as I found out the hard way when given Colombian immigration papers only in Spanish. I didn't end up in a Colombian prison, though, so probably I filled them in more or less OK:)


Joohee Kim  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 22:58
Member (2017)
English to Korean
+ ...
1-2? Jan 3, 2018

I can speak Japanese (not professional!) and read a little bit of French.

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Poll: How many languages do you speak, read or understand OTHER THAN your working languages?

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