Native languages
Thread poster: Phyto
Phyto
Local time: 16:40
English to Turkish
+ ...
Apr 28, 2007

Hello, just getting established here.
I was filling out my profile and realised that ProZ.com differs from other resources in that the native language issue is taken a bit more seriously... which is good! However, I found the "We will have you prove you have to native languages!" - huh?? - a bit - intimidating. Here's why...
Both of my parents are Turkish and we speak Turkish at home, but my schooling has been in English since day 1... For the life of me, I know English better than I know Turkish. Yes, Turkish is my mother tongue - but putting it ahead of English just isn't going to do it justice. And if I put English as my native language, well, that's going to look like I learned Turkish, for which there aren't as many resources as English, later as a second language, which is also not the case. (Speaking of second languages, I do not see English as my second language. No way.)
So, what do I do?


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:40
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
declare both as your native Apr 28, 2007

If you speak/read/write both languages as a native speaker there is no reason you cannot declare them both as native languages. It's called being bilingual and there are many people here on Proz.com (yours truly included) who speak 2 or more languages to this level.

I don't think the nativeness verification program is active just yet so I wouldn't worry about it in the immediate future.

[Edited at 2007-04-28 20:23]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 08:40
German to English
Native language Apr 28, 2007

Phyto wrote:

Both of my parents are Turkish and we speak Turkish at home, but my schooling has been in English since day 1... For the life of me, I know English better than I know Turkish. Yes, Turkish is my mother tongue - but putting it ahead of English just isn't going to do it justice. And if I put English as my native language, well, that's going to look like I learned Turkish, for which there aren't as many resources as English, later as a second language, which is also not the case. (Speaking of second languages, I do not see English as my second language. No way.)


Hi, Phyto - from what you've written and the way you've written it, I'd say you're bi-lingual and should feel comfortable listing English as a native language. You grew up speaking and writing both languages. What really counts for a translator (besides mastering the source language) is his or her ability to write well in the target language.

I raised this issue some time ago:

http://www.proz.com/topic/62666

My concern was that many of our colleagues have listed English as their native language even though it is clear they did not grow up speaking the language. They want to express that they feel qualified to translate into English and selecting it as a native language is the most effective way to get jobs into English.

I know that some German, Dutch, French, Russian, etc. translators can write English to perfection and would do a better job translating into English than many a native speaker even though English is not their mother tongue. Clients who insist on the native-speaker qualification would be missing out on some excellent translations.

On the other hand, the native-speaker requirement is usually a good rule of thumb - as many clients have learned from bitter experience.

I'm still wondering if there is anything we could do to address this issue.

Kim



[Edited at 2007-04-28 22:05]


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Phyto
Local time: 16:40
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Apr 28, 2007

Thank you both very much for the encouragement.

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xxxPRen  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:40
French to English
+ ...
That's a silly comparison Apr 29, 2007

Kim Metzger wrote:


I know that some German, Dutch, French, Russian, etc. translators can write English to perfection and would do a better job translating into English than many a native speaker even though English is not their mother tongue.


It's comparing apples and oranges. Not every native speaker is a translator (despite numerous claims to the contrary on this site). How do they measure up against trained and experienced translators whose native language is English? Not as well.

Paula


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:40
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
this has been discussed countless times... Apr 29, 2007

PaulaRen wrote:

Kim Metzger wrote:


I know that some German, Dutch, French, Russian, etc. translators can write English to perfection and would do a better job translating into English than many a native speaker even though English is not their mother tongue.


It's comparing apples and oranges. Not every native speaker is a translator (despite numerous claims to the contrary on this site). How do they measure up against trained and experienced translators whose native language is English? Not as well.

Paula


At the risk of hijacking the thread somewhat I would point you to my post in a more relevant thread where I attempt to move the discussion to a more constructive and Proz.com-relevant definition of nativeness - http://www.proz.com/post/483336#483336 . I believe Kim also expressed his opinion in that discussion.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:40
English to Arabic
+ ...
One point... Apr 29, 2007

As Konstantin has pointed out, this has been discussed many times before, but there's one point I want to make on your specific situation.
Very many translators have been to foreign language schools, maybe even studied and lived abroad, done most of their reading in that language, etc. The results vary enormously, some have come to master the language as well as you, others haven't. I don't think it should be the translator's decision whether or not a language is "native". You'll get all sorts of people falsely claiming that it is, just because they went to a foreign language school. To prevent that from happening, a native language should be the language first learned by a person and spoken at home. And I wouldn't worry that stating that a language is your second language will make it appear as if you don't quite master it.

(By the way, my situation is very similar to yours, as I've started learning both my foreign languages at the age of 4/5. But I would never go so far as calling any of them my native language.)


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Phyto
Local time: 16:40
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Exercise May 14, 2007

I thank all for the input. However, for the sake of another mental exercise, how about if we had a situation where there is this kid who is adopted at a certain age, taken away from their country, brought up elsewhere with no compatriot with whom to keep knowledge of the first language they learned alive? Suppose this is a Korean kid brought to the US... Korean forgotten, English perfect. So what is the native language in this case and what good is it going to do this person if they stick to "The first language I spoke at home is my native language" and mark Korean as native whilst translating EN-FR, say? Korean is definitely out of the picture, and English is the native language even if they learned it after 6-7 years of age.
Overall I don't think it should be seen black and white.

[Edited at 2007-05-14 09:18]

[Edited at 2007-05-14 09:20]


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