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Poll: Would you make a good language teacher?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
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Apr 3

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you make a good language teacher?".

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Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:00
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Yes, I trained as a language teacher Apr 3

Prior to returning to University to retrain as a translator, I undertook an intensive month long training course to qualify as a language teacher. Initially my plan was to do some language teaching to supplement my translation work, but it didn't work out that way and in the end I never worked as a teacher. I think I would have made a good language teacher.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:00
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I don't think so Apr 3

I thought so, many moons ago, in my young years I did like teaching and I gave private lessons for a while, but experience taught me that I have no patience at all for those who don’t put the effort in…

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:00
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Class: No. One-to-one: yes. Apr 3

Experience in other fields has taught me I am not good at controlling numbers of people.
But I have been a language teach at BBC Monitoring, teaching the specific requirements of the job to new monitors, and I was considered good at that.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Used to be one Apr 3

I worked in TEFL for several years before getting into translation full-time. Depending on your criteria, I may or may not have been a "good" language teacher. In general, I think the students enjoyed my classes and some learnt more than others. Some were very appreciative and asked for private lessons after their courses had finished.
However, I learnt my own languages in a rather traditional fashion and I found a lot of the communicative method group and peer work that became fashionable around the 80s awkward to organise. I found I also tended to rely on my Spanish to explain grammar points, in an effort to speed up what I saw as the lesson; however, on one summer course a young American teacher had a class next door to me of a similar age and level to mine and although (or perhaps because) she spoke absolutely no Spanish, her class had notably improved their level by the end of the four-week course compared to mine. A lot of my friends are still teaching, but I'm definitely happier translating full-time, where I can see the results of my efforts and feel more confident that I've actually achieved something.


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Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:00
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Not sure Apr 3

A pet hate of mine is people asking "why don't you become a language teacher?", not because I don't really know why I'm being asked that but because the assumption seems to be that anyone can teach, which is patently not the case.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I don't think so Apr 3

My wife is a good language teacher, I can see how some of her students develop, so I have a benchmark.

We keep a rule at home: I don't teach; she doesn't translate... though we work on the same language pair. I translate EN-PT; she teaches EN to PT speakers.

The fact is that she must know all the grammar rules and exceptions, so that her students can expand their implementation to the entire language, not being limited to the examples provided.

I - as a translator - had to internalize the same rules and exceptions, and then forget them "as stated", so that I'd be able to get the idea from the source text, and then write it naturally and correctly in the target language.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:00
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Used to be Apr 3

When I was teaching English and German to students of all ages on a one-to.one basis.

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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:00
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
I am a trained language teacher Apr 3

and I taught full time for about 6 years in Paris.

But I much prefer translating, and I think I am a lot better at that, too.


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Samantha Payn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:00
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Different skills Apr 3

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

The fact is that she must know all the grammar rules and exceptions, so that her students can expand their implementation to the entire language, not being limited to the examples provided.

I - as a translator - had to internalize the same rules and exceptions, and then forget them "as stated", so that I'd be able to get the idea from the source text, and then write it naturally and correctly in the target language.


This is a great explanation of the different skills required. Thank you


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:00
Member (2008)
English to Italian
yes Apr 3

I have been a teacher and I have experience in teaching to groups and individual students.

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
No Apr 3

Interesting that so many people are, or have been, both translator and language teacher, given that these are pretty much at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of personality and require very different skills.

Does this reflect a certain desperation about what to do with your life when all you're good at is languages?


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Jasa Pipan
Slovenia
Local time: 10:00
Member
French to Slovenian
+ ...
No. Apr 3

I'd be a horrible language teacher because I have zero patience. I'm perfect for working alone, and horrible when I have to explain something to someone else, especially if there's a chance they won't understand it even after I've explained it (which often happens with languages, obviously).
Interestingly enough, my husband is a FLE teacher and wholeheartedly agrees with me that I should never try that.


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 10:00
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes, but no Apr 3

I have taught languages and I've been told I am good at that, but I will not take it as a job - too unrewarding in the vast majority of cases. I may, however, help out a good friend or a family member (and actually do it from time to time).

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Joohee Kim  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 17:00
Member (2017)
English to Korean
+ ...
No Apr 3

Translation and education are VERY different...

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