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Thread poster: Don Hank

Don Hank  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
German to English
+ ...
Sep 26, 2013

I use Rosetta Stone for Korean and Arabic. Excellent if backed up with grammar texts.
I brush up on Japanese listening skills with NHK on cable TV.
For missed spoken portions, Google NHK site, type in key JA words to find an article on the topic in question.
Copy and paste into Google Translate to save time with unlearned kanji and terms.
GT gives a copy in JA and in romaji plus 'translation,' which is not perfect but usable.
I also use GT to learn Greek.
Supplement with a dictionary for unintelligible passages. Saves 95% on lookup.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:33
English to Polish
+ ...
Old books, some new books Sep 26, 2013

Reading old books should help translators learn to handle complex sentences and precise grammar, which many of them just can't do these days, even in their own native languages, even with the benefit of an M.A. degree, which is sad. Reading well-written more modern books would serve to counterbalance the old-fashioned influence on their style, in turn.

 

Don Hank  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Old books and parallel translation Sep 26, 2013

Agreed. Ex: Thomas Mann in the orig., with his famous Schachtelsätze. Which raises the topic of using parallel translations to learn the art of translation. I went thru the old Bantam Dual language series for FR, DE, RU, ES and later read novels this way. Get a copy of the novel in the foreign original and the EN version and read sentence by sentence or phrase by phrase in both languages. I read Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Fathers and Sons, etc during my Master's program in Russian. It's the very best translation learning method.

 

PamelaC (X)
Sweden
Local time: 06:33
for beginners Sep 27, 2013

If you are a beginner or at an intermediate level, I have found Memrise really helpful to expand my vocabulary http://www.memrise.com/ It depends on what type of learner you are: on one hand I get extremely bored at writing down long lists of vocabulary but on the other hand learning words in context has never helped me much and this website saved me from giving up learning Swedish. I also use it occasionally for expanding my working languages (French and English) vocabulary and I have downloaded the app on my phone so I can revise while queuing for example. Of course, it is useless without a good grammar book.

Always at a beginner / intermediate level I also enjoy Lyrics training http://www.lyricstraining.com/


 

Don Hank  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Memrise Sep 27, 2013

Hello Pamela,
I went to Memrise and joined up. I think this will be good for European languages, but I tried the Arabic course and there was no sound. Or am I missing something? The problem with Arabic is that many of the vowels are not represented by letters so you really have to hear someone pronounce the word before you know how to pronounce it. I may have missed it but didn't see any button for audio.
But while we're on the topic, may I also recommend Transparent Language Byki, which is a series of interactive flash cards. These have an audio component and are excellent, also because they have games to play and are 'addictive.' Of course, Byki is only intended as a supplement for vocab training, but it really works.


 

PamelaC (X)
Sweden
Local time: 06:33
sounds Sep 28, 2013

I have no experience at all with languages that are not European, so I did not know about the issue of pronounciation in Arabic. I am sorry, I think it is definitely better suited for European languages in this case. I have checked the Arabic section and I think it depends on the course you choose: I have tried this one for example http://www.memrise.com/course/110178/1000-arabic-verbs-msa-by-frequency-with-audio/ and there seems to be audio at least for the few words I have visualized, but this one has not http://www.memrise.com/course/42856/arabic-very-advanced-vocabulary/

I have watched the explanation video for Byki and it seems to be a great tool to revise vocabulary, I am going to try it out.


 

Don Hank  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Sep 28, 2013

Thanks, Pamela. That verb course is helpful for me. For now I only found the infinitive forms, but maybe the later levels give the conjugated forms. Unlike in European languages, you can't derive the conjugated forms with 100% certainty from the infinitives, but for those using Rosetta Stone, we usually hear mostly the conjugated forms and only rarely the infinitives, so this was an important element that I was missing. I have found that for non-European languages, it is imperative to go through several beginning courses to get a good working knowledge, because each text author has his or her idea of what is important. (I went through 9 beginning texts for Chinese before studying formally in Taiwan, and about the same number for JA before I started translating it professionally).

[Edited at 2013-09-28 16:00 GMT]


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
Russian to English
+ ...
It depends Sep 28, 2013

Don Hank wrote:

Agreed. Ex: Thomas Mann in the orig., with his famous Schachtelsätze. Which raises the topic of using parallel translations to learn the art of translation. I went thru the old Bantam Dual language series for FR, DE, RU, ES and later read novels this way. Get a copy of the novel in the foreign original and the EN version and read sentence by sentence or phrase by phrase in both languages. I read Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Fathers and Sons, etc during my Master's program in Russian. It's the very best translation learning method.


Provided you have a good translation. That a certain translation was publish does not always mean that it is good.


[Edited at 2013-09-28 15:37 GMT]


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
Russian to English
+ ...
extra Sep 28, 2013

Sorry.

[Edited at 2013-09-28 15:38 GMT]


 

Don Hank  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, published translations aren't always up to snuff Sep 28, 2013

Yes, Lilian, it is true that some published translations are not up to snuff. I have seen a translation of a novel in which the FR author was describing a man who was witty, and he used the word “spirituel” to describe this trait. The translator, unaware of this meaning, rendered the word as “spiritual.” I found that a popular published translation of Marquez’s “Cien Años de Soledad” was also rather second rate. But a good publisher can generally be relied upon to publish top-notch translations. I believe the ones I read back in my student years were really quite good (I suspect standards were higher then), and they were of great benefit to me at the time particularly because I was still learning those languages. One thing we often overlook is that the method of reading parallel texts is not just for language learning. It is also useful for learning how to translate. And it is the best if you are reading good translations.

 

Don Hank  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Caveat on Rosetta Stone Sep 29, 2013

In Rosetta Stone, you can't always tell what the sentences mean simply by referring to the pictures on the screen. So to be sure of the meaning, you can print up the English language course available on RS, which should be identical. Or ask for help. (EN now has 5 levels, while many others only have 3. That could be a problem. I printed them out from a 3 level EN course).

 

Whitney Maslak
United States
Local time: 22:33
German to English
Keeping up with German... Nov 22, 2013

It's been pretty difficult for me to keep up my German skills, because I don't know anyone around here who I can practice with. I tried asking some of my college friends if we could have Skype dates in German, but most of them said that they don't remember enough German to speak it anymore (we only graduated 3 years ago).

One thing that has been helpful for me is Michel Thomas' CDs. I believe there are several different languages available, and it really helps me to keep my grammar skills sharp. I also try to read news articles in German every day, but I have been lazy about that lately. I guess I know what I'll be doing after writing this post!

I desperately need to work on my speaking and listening skills. I started watching the German soap opera, "Verbotene Liebe," and it's pretty easy to follow.

If anyone has any other suggestions, that would be great. It's hard to keep up with a language when you're not forced to use it every day.


 

Jessie LN  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Meetup Nov 22, 2013

Whitney, have you tried http://meetup.com? There might be a German-language group in your area if you're lucky, or at least in the nearest city.

 

Whitney Maslak
United States
Local time: 22:33
German to English
Thanks, Jessie! Nov 23, 2013

I live in a pretty rural area so I'm not sure if I'll find other people, but it's worth a try!

 

Petra_44  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:33
English to German
+ ...
Memrise Nov 24, 2013

I like www.memrise.com which I also use for Korean and to finally learn those Hiragana as well.

Rosetta Stone is alright, but has its limitations. It drives me nuts that all the sentences vanish after you've answered the question, when I'd prefer to get another look at them, or to write down some of the words. Memrise is better to learn vocabulary and spelling. I couldn't spell at all in Korean, and now, I find that I can in fact remember those words after I've seen and typed them often enough.

By the way, sounds can be included in Memrise as well. I definitely remember that someone read one of the words. But someone would have to read the (Arabic) words for you.


 
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