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Why would you study another language?
Thread poster: Pablo Fiumara

Pablo Fiumara
Local time: 02:41
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
how do they help you? Mar 6, 2007

bramasole wrote:

Besides knowing more than 2 languages helps immensly when Im translating.

[Edited at 2007-03-06 22:28]


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:41
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
How they help you Mar 6, 2007

Languages are intimately related, and may be traced back to larger families, some of them no longer in active or normal use. Translation is not merely transferring ideas from one language to another by word meanings. Some of those meanings are quite complex and have evolved through history and culture. Other languages have interacted with your own and left their mark on them. Knowing some of the families to which your working languages are related or with which your languages have interacted hel... See more
Languages are intimately related, and may be traced back to larger families, some of them no longer in active or normal use. Translation is not merely transferring ideas from one language to another by word meanings. Some of those meanings are quite complex and have evolved through history and culture. Other languages have interacted with your own and left their mark on them. Knowing some of the families to which your working languages are related or with which your languages have interacted helps you a long way towards resolving such problems.

In a word, don't knock it till you've tried
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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:41
German to English
+ ...
In memoriam
To communicate with people? Mar 7, 2007

Prior to going full time in translation, I used to travel a lot on business and tried to learn "I'm sorry I don't speak xxx, do you speak English?" (in the respective language.)

I don't really have time to learn other languages now and I would never dream about it with a view to translation, unless I had lived in that country for several years.

But I made the effort for the reason stated above, which was triggered by friendship.

Still an uphill struggle (
... See more
Prior to going full time in translation, I used to travel a lot on business and tried to learn "I'm sorry I don't speak xxx, do you speak English?" (in the respective language.)

I don't really have time to learn other languages now and I would never dream about it with a view to translation, unless I had lived in that country for several years.

But I made the effort for the reason stated above, which was triggered by friendship.

Still an uphill struggle (I mean the language!)

But boy, is it wonderful to (try to) be able to order dinner in Florence in such a beautiful language.

Chris
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Amy Duncan (X)  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I love languages Mar 7, 2007

I translate only from Portuguese to English, because I am a native English speaker and Portuguese is my next best language (I live in Brazil). Not only do I not have a degree in Portuguese, I don't have a degree in anything else, either! I never finished college, but I'm doing just fine with my translation work. I'm a strong believer that you can do just as well being self-taught as you can with a formal education.

As for my Portuguese, it's very fluent and natural because I pretty
... See more
I translate only from Portuguese to English, because I am a native English speaker and Portuguese is my next best language (I live in Brazil). Not only do I not have a degree in Portuguese, I don't have a degree in anything else, either! I never finished college, but I'm doing just fine with my translation work. I'm a strong believer that you can do just as well being self-taught as you can with a formal education.

As for my Portuguese, it's very fluent and natural because I pretty much speak only Portuguese here. I never took a course or studied with a private teacher, and rarely consulted a grammar book. I learned it "in the street."

I think learning a language is a very individual thing. Some people feel they need to have a degree. That's fine, but it isn't for me.
I'm allergic to formal education...)

I studied French in high school, and also college (I studied at Boston University for a year and a half). I also studied Russian in college. Later on I lived in Mexico for awhile and learned Spanish. Even later, I took up Japanese, studied it for four years and was able to communicate fairly well when I went to Japan for month.

I enjoy learning languages. I'd say it's a hobby of mine.

Amy
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Patricia Ramirez  Identity Verified
Dominican Republic
Local time: 01:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree with Amy Mar 7, 2007

I don't have a translation degree either, and I am native in English and Spanish, so I started doing translations and interpreting for my family and friends, and saw that I was good at it, so that's why I decided to become a translator.

Patricia


 

Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 02:41
English to Spanish
.. Mar 7, 2007

Hi Cache,

I'm not sure I fully agree with you when you say that translating languages you don't have a degree in is unprofessional. I only work English > Spanish because English is the only foreign language I have (nearly) full command of, but if I were to, say, move to Germany and live there for 20 years my guess is that I would eventually be able to translate from German also, degree or not.

To me, the big plus of formally studying translation is that one learns diffe
... See more
Hi Cache,

I'm not sure I fully agree with you when you say that translating languages you don't have a degree in is unprofessional. I only work English > Spanish because English is the only foreign language I have (nearly) full command of, but if I were to, say, move to Germany and live there for 20 years my guess is that I would eventually be able to translate from German also, degree or not.

To me, the big plus of formally studying translation is that one learns different techniques that can be applied to most language pairs (I don't dare to say "all", because I don`t know). In my experience at least, the B-language level acquired at the end by people with no previous knowledge of it is far from ideal and needs lots of work. I remember that at my university the German > Spanish translation students had actually very few hours of German language and culture, and most of them admitted when they finished that they felt grossly unprepared.

If I had had the choice, since I have been studying English since I was five yrs-old, I would have gotten a different undergraduate degree than translation (probably related to Health Sciences) and gone for an MA in translation afterwards instead, but Chile had no Translation postgraduate programs back then.


As to why would translators who work on a given language pair(s) would study another language, I think that the answers received so far can be summarized in two words: personal satisfaction




Vito Smolej wrote:


Whoever had the joy of reading Proust in original (talking about French) will understand why I want to learn Portuguese: because of Camoens - he's there somewhere and so is the Girl from Ipanema and Gilberto Jil etc. ..



Literature is the main reason why I have been struggling with German for years (on and off, unfortunately). I am still far, far away from being able to read Günter Grass, but I managed to tackle Rotkäppchen and Katze und Maus in Gesellschaft in less than 3 months*


*meaning, I needed 3 months to read them and fully understand, not that I could after studying the language for only 3 months (I wish!)

[Edited at 2007-03-07 03:43]
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Herminia Herrándiz Espuny  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Mar 7, 2007

Cache wrote:

Herminia Herrandiz Espuny wrote:

What I meant is that I would not translate into a language that is not my native one, that is, for example I would translate from English into Spanish, but not from Spanish into English and I would never think about translating from English into Italian, for example, one foreign language per translation is enough for me

By the way, are you talking about degree per language pair or degree in one language?

[Editado a las 2007-03-06 21:44]


Suppose you have got a degree in English but you know a lot French, Would you translate from French to Spanish although you haven't got a French degree?

[Editado a las 2007-03-06 22:33]


Of course I would, as I said, I don't think you need a degree for every single language pair that you command in order to translate


 

Carolin Haase  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:41
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Exactly! Mar 7, 2007

[quote]Andrea Riffo wrote:


As to why would translators who work on a given language pair(s) would study another language, I think that the answers received so far can be summarized in two words: personal satisfaction


[quote]


 

biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 07:41
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
how would they help me? Mar 7, 2007

In a lot of ways.
Lets say Im translating some text from language A into language B, but I cant find a translation of a term in language A in language B. What do I do? Try to look that same term up in Language C or (if that does not help) in language D. Lets face it - some languages are much better equipped with dictionaries than others and hence you must have some other way out.
As somebody already mentioned - if you want to work with EU texts you simply must know 2 other languages
... See more
In a lot of ways.
Lets say Im translating some text from language A into language B, but I cant find a translation of a term in language A in language B. What do I do? Try to look that same term up in Language C or (if that does not help) in language D. Lets face it - some languages are much better equipped with dictionaries than others and hence you must have some other way out.
As somebody already mentioned - if you want to work with EU texts you simply must know 2 other languages apart from your native language because thus you can more easily cope with translation doubts/problems etc.
I dont know but to me this seems obvious.
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Pablo Fiumara
Local time: 02:41
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
I understood all you meant Mar 7, 2007

It is very interesting the discussion

I understood your reasons for studying another language, whether you would translate from a language you don't have a degree.

I was told that it was unprofessional to translate languages you don't have a degree. Sorry for saying if that annoyed someone. It wasn't my intention.

@Bramasole: It is outstanding your explanation about how languages help each ot
... See more
It is very interesting the discussion

I understood your reasons for studying another language, whether you would translate from a language you don't have a degree.

I was told that it was unprofessional to translate languages you don't have a degree. Sorry for saying if that annoyed someone. It wasn't my intention.

@Bramasole: It is outstanding your explanation about how languages help each other.
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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
Flemish to English
+ ...
Apparented. Mar 7, 2007

Romanic, Germanic and Slavonic (Baltic?) languages are so apparented that if you know one, you can easily learn another.
For those wanting to take part in any E.U.-open competition, the computerised preselection tests where you have to obtain an avarage of 9/10 are either in no so easy English, French or German.
At translation competitions, you definitively have an advantage if you master a "rare" language.


 

Melzie
Local time: 06:41
French to English
+ ...
To communicate Mar 7, 2007

As said above. That's what language is all about after all.
English and French are my main languages, I can barely make myself understood in my others but it's great fun trying anyway.

Communication is what our job is all about, building bridges and making links. Trying to make other people's lives easier with our insight.

The 'dead' languages can come in very handy too for understanding how language (and sometimes culture) has evolved


 

Pablo Fiumara
Local time: 02:41
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
a quote Mar 7, 2007

@Melzie: "Communication is what our job is all about, building bridges and making links. Trying to make other people's lives easier with our insight."


Like someone has said: "Connecting people"



What a good phrase!


 

Latin_Hellas (X)
United States
Local time: 06:41
Italian to English
+ ...
Degree, What Degree? Look to specialization Mar 7, 2007

I translate professionally from four languages into English and I have not one single degree in language or translation.

Now, I do have much coursework in the languages that I translate from, but my degrees are in other fields which have become my translation specializations. Much more important, I have real work experience in those fields and in at least some of the languages in those fields.

But the basic point is that, as far as developing in the translati
... See more
I translate professionally from four languages into English and I have not one single degree in language or translation.

Now, I do have much coursework in the languages that I translate from, but my degrees are in other fields which have become my translation specializations. Much more important, I have real work experience in those fields and in at least some of the languages in those fields.

But the basic point is that, as far as developing in the translation profession is concerned, one would study another language as part of a strategy to expand in a specialization, as opposed to a strategy of doing many types of translations in one language.

In any case, while degrees are important, there is no need to get hung up on them: they are not a criteria for a profession or professionalism.

In a profession, the criteria is whether real world customers are willing to pay real world money for the services that one can provide, not whether one has this or that degree.

Anyway, this is one further point of view you can add to the many responses you have received to your query.

All the best!
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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 00:41
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
degrees do not promise real fluency Mar 7, 2007

I am fluent, and able to translate professionally in three languages ( but I speak 5 quite well). A lot of my work comes from Eng/Sp or Sp/Eng, but my degree (PhD Comparative Literature) is not in Spanish. In fact, I never took a Spanish course in my life. I learned it after living in Buenos Aires for a while ( where my husband is from), and ended up using it a lot for research and writing while studying.
I know I am MUCH better at learning languages in every day life, and not in a classr
... See more
I am fluent, and able to translate professionally in three languages ( but I speak 5 quite well). A lot of my work comes from Eng/Sp or Sp/Eng, but my degree (PhD Comparative Literature) is not in Spanish. In fact, I never took a Spanish course in my life. I learned it after living in Buenos Aires for a while ( where my husband is from), and ended up using it a lot for research and writing while studying.
I know I am MUCH better at learning languages in every day life, and not in a classroom- always have been. I ended up teaching Spanish at the university (ironically), and can tell you that I had many graduate Spanish students who I would never trust with a translation. I firmly believe that only you know how fluent you really are, degree or no degree. If you were dropped in the country where they speak the "other" language- could you have a professional conversation? Understand the slang? It's a very individual matter I think...
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