Which would be the next language to be picked up, other than English, German and Spanish?
Thread poster: Francesca Bricolo

Francesca Bricolo  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
English to Italian
+ ...
Jan 16, 2007

Hello everybody. This is the frist time for me that I enter a forum topic, so I hope I am entering it in the right place..
My question is: I do already work with English, German and Spanish. I am mothertongue Italian...Now, which would be up to you a new language to be studied?How is the market going? Shall I try with Chinese, or Turkish or what else? I would like to learn another language since the languages I work with are the most spoken languages... I would be please to read your advice..


Capesha  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
interesting question Jan 16, 2007

if you already speak Italian and Spanish, it would be no big deal to learn French?

Regarding "exotic" languages I see a market in Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Polish.


Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Learning Chinese in order to get more clients? Jan 16, 2007

Ciao Francesca,
I am not sure if I understand you well.
You wrote: I would like to learn another language since the languages I work with are the most spoken languages.
You would like to learn another language for business purposes?
A. in order to communicate properly with PM's of Chinese agencies for example ?
B. in order to translate in another language pair with less competition?
If B.: Chinese does not seem a very good choice unless you have a Chinese friend, a lot of patience, a lot of time to study, linguistically gifted etc. etc.
Will the Chinese market welcome you with open arms in about 2 or 3 years when will have finished your studies?
Maybe Catalan would be a good choice or Maltese.
But still I have the impression that you did not tap the right resources in your present language pairs.
For example: Do you think you can attract new clients with your PROZ-profile? Is it customer-friendly?
Regards Steffi

[Edited at 2007-01-16 10:35]


Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:52
Flemish to English
+ ...
Law of supply and demand. Jan 16, 2007

Japanese and Korean are exotic too. Turkish might be a good option. Whenever new member-states are admitted to the EU, open competitions for that language are held and demand for the languages of those countries, not only at the E.U., but also at companies starting to do business with the other member states. The ??? remains whether or not Turkey is going to become a E.U.-Member.
Take into account the law of supply and demand. I guess not many people translate from and into the Baltic languages. Or from Hungarian and Finnish. Don't the Chinese prefer Chinese before Europeans?

[Edited at 2007-01-16 11:37]


Francesca Bricolo  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
English to Italian
+ ...
To explain me better Jan 16, 2007

I wanted your advice to know which would be the best language to study, for business purposes..to have less competetion..I do not refer to european languages..

Of course Steffi is right, my proz profile is not really updated and I still haven't had enough time to update it, but I'll do it as soon as possible.

I feel I have to study another language, and I'm ready to study it for at least 5 years, please tell me what you think.

Many thanks


Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Working with exotic languages Jan 16, 2007

Ciao Francesca,

It takes a lot of time, patience and determination to learn an "exotic language" and then you'll probably end up working with English most of the time.
As far as I’m concerned, it was very hard to master Polish,
I can't even imagine what it means to learn a non-Indoeuropean language...
And work with it, not just have a basic conversation.

To be honest, now I’m happy with my combination, but it took an awful lot of efforts and still does.
Why still ? Just imagine this daily scenario.
Suppose you have a terminology problem with your Polish source text.
What do you do? Look up in IATE? There's hardly any reference.
Look up in a specialized dictionary Polish-Italian? Not all the time, PL>IT dictionaries are not a commodityicon_wink.gif
Look up in a specialized dictionary Polish-English? Yes, but they’re not always checked by natives. Besides, it takes an extra effort and extra time, as you have to look up again in EN>IT.
Ask a colleague? How many natives translate from PL?
So, how do you solve your terminology problem? Simply compare an awful lot of documents on the Web and on paper. Problem solving must be your number one weapon. And not sometimes. All the time.
Suppose now my rate for PL>IT is almost the double of FR>IT.
Is it worth? Not economically speaking, as it takes 4 times more to translate from PL than from FR. It's worth because I love it and it helps with marketing. Many agencies asked me to translate from EN or FR after a small certificate from PL or RO.
Maybe in 4 years things will be different, but this is the present situation with my “exotic” languages.

Last but not least: you have to spend time in the country where this language is spoken (China or Turkey). Are you ready? Do you think you can spend there at least 6 months? They’re not easy EU countries so far and China never will. I still remember the painful red tape & alike in Romania '95 or Russia.

Well, to wrap it up, you might consider all these pros and cons and make your decision.
Good luck


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:52
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Better specialise Jan 16, 2007

In order to outwin the competition you better study something "real" instead of just languages. Law, accounting, finances, choose whatsoever.


Latin_Hellas (X)
United States
Local time: 16:52
Italian to English
+ ...
Specialisation Best Bet Jan 16, 2007

I agree with Heinrich. If business is your goal, it is more efficient to specialise, in the languages you already know, in a field where customers have money to pay: law, medicine, finance and marketing, technology.

From there you might add French and Portuguese.

It appears that your real goal is to combine potential business with a cultural and intellectual interest. That is certainly laudable, but the return on investment in business terms (not necessarily in personal terms) will not be as efficient as the specialisation route.

Good luck!


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:52
English to Spanish
+ ...
Quality Before Quantity Jan 16, 2007

My recommendation is to work on languages you already know, and then only the strongest pair. You can spend your entire life on that and not know enough.

It's not how many languages you know, it's how well you know them. In Spanish we have a saying, "El que mucho abarca poco aprieta".

You could start by working more on your English.


Silvia Silberstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
I've already started studying Chinese! Jan 16, 2007

I guess I wanted to learn a language spoken by millions, and I also have great curiosity for Chinese culture. I guess it will be very useful in the future and I'm prepared to try.
Till now, I'm learning only phonectics and yes, it is difficult. But I don't see why not, If you like studying, and are prepared to spend some years on it, I think we all shoud encourage you, and sure you will find more work if you know more languages.
So, go for it!


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 08:52
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
You're doing fine Jan 16, 2007


according to your profile you are already learning Turkish and you are already specialising in medicine. As far as I can see, you're doing fine. Concentrate on the languages you already have - there is always room for improvement - and don't spread yourself too thin.

I can't see that there would be a great demand for translation from 'exotic' languages such as Chinese, Japanese or Korean into Italian. If you do want to learn another language in addition to Turkish, then I would add French. Another good option would be to add another specialty.

I agree with Henry that you could work on your English as well. Read a lot, or spend some time there if you can. Even though you don't translate into English, it would make a good impression on potential clients if your English is polished.


Lia Fail (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
specialise in a knowledge area Jan 16, 2007

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

In order to outwin the competition you better study something "real" instead of just languages. Law, accounting, finances, choose whatsoever.

If you are referring to developing your translation career, it would be far, far better to focus on specialising in a knowledge field in a language you already know well.

It takes a long time to learn a language well enough to be able to deal with subtleties in translation.

Specialist translators typically can command their price, becuase the competition is less.

You will also see that many of the translators who impress - typically with a long track record - focus on very few language pairs.


Alp Berker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:52
Turkish to English
+ ...
If you can do a Non-IndoEuropean Agglutive language then.... Jan 16, 2007

Merhaba Francesca
Nice photo of you in front of the (I believe) the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul. If you are able to learn Turkish a Non-IndoEuropean (I think I spelled it right ) aggulative language, then you should be fine in tackling any Asian language. There should be plenty of opportunities in the future for this language group, regardless if Turkey is in the EU or not due to the booming economy and growth of the Turkic republics in Central Asia.
I wish well on your language pursuits!
Though I would recommend specializing also if you can.
regards from USA,
Alp Berker


German to Romanian
+ ...
Why not European? Jan 17, 2007

Why are you considering only Asian languages. There are still a lot of European languages which are are rare, needed and interesting: Maltese, Baltic languages, Irish, Russian aso. I don't know about the translation market for them or for other languages like Hungarian, Finnish, Chech, Polish aso.
I also agree with Lia. It is a matter of specialisation too and of other aspects, not about the language itsself. There are a lot of translators on the market generally speaking, for every language and field.
I remember the times when IT was at his highest level and the most important and rich people were IT experts. Everybody dreamed to study this field. Now it is on his discreasing curve.
It is hard enough to learn a difficult language for translation purposes and it takes a lot of time. Besides, the colleagues translators are already struggling against competition puttin a lot of stress on the "native-speaker" matter.
As for Asian languages: they are very difficult, their writing is very difficult and well, I can not tell you about translation market, because it depends. Many are already using English as a wide business and communication language.
Besides they actually small groups of a lot of languages. Which to chose? Chinese is not exactly Chinese, but Cantonese, or I don't know what, Indian is not Hindi, but Bengali, Urdo, Punjabi or I don't know, Arabian has also it's own diversities.


Francesca Bricolo  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
English to Italian
+ ...
Just wanted to thank you all a lot! Jan 25, 2007

Dear collegues,

I just wanted to thank you all, for having taken part to the topic I posted.
Now I'm really considering to specialize and improve always more the three languages I already work with.
I am considering to take languages certificates, e.g. the Cambridge certificate, or the certificates released from the Goethe Institut and so on.
Well thank you again,


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