Advice on language to learn
Thread poster: melo45100

Local time: 01:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 3, 2010

Hello everyone,

I have a question about learning a new language. I have just graduated in translation and interpreting in English, French and Spanish and would like to pursue a career in interpreting. I am now very keen to learn a new language in order to improve my career prospects as I am well aware that the English-French-Spanish language combination is quite a common one.
I am aware that a language such as Chinese, Russian or Arabic would be very useful but I am not particularly drawn to those countries.
Could anyone advise me on another language to learn that would be useful? I am quite interested in German but do not know if this would be a good choice.

Many thanks for your help,

Loïs Meier


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:46
Member (2007)
+ ...
Clients need specialists Sep 3, 2010

My own personal opinion is that you should be careful of becoming a "Jack of all trades, master or none".

Particularly if you are interpreting, clients want specialists. Someone who "knows a lot of languages" cannot necessarily translate between them and interpreting jobs call for a very high standard as there's no recourse to dictionaries etc.

Sure, there are a lot of translators in the languages you speak, but there's a lot of work in those same areas too. If you are really good you'll find work.

The best advice I could give if you are intent on adding another language is to go and live where the language is spoken. For the first year or two, work as a translator in your current languages whilst studying the language that's spoken locally.


Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Interpreting Sep 3, 2010

It rather depends who you intend to interpret for. Naturally you'll starting interpreting for your local market using your French/English combination. If you aim to interpret in the EU institutions you will need more passive languages, I think that if I were you I would go for Swedish as you seem to get Danish and Norwegian thrown into the deal. I also think that they are very attractive countries. May be you should look at EU interpreting job offers to get an idea of the languages in demand.

German would also be a good language to learn, definately a good choice. I like Dutch myself.

Interpreters are jacks of all trades by definition. Interpreting is a specialisation of translation.

Good luck to you.


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
If you don't know it now... Sep 3, 2010

If you don't know it now, forget about it. Whatever language it is, you'll be competing against native speakers, and well... your chances of ever getting to their level will be nil.

To the contrary, work hard on the languages you do know, because they all go on forever, and ever, and ever.

Quien mucho abarca, poco aprieta.


Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:46
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
See similar discussion thread Sep 3, 2010


Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 01:46
German to Serbian
+ ...
Another perspective Sep 3, 2010

Wouldn't it be more useful to work further on improving your skills in the languages you already know? Or you believe there's nothing more to learn and the process has been finished by getting a degree?


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