How to keep your mother tongue up-to-date?
Thread poster: xxxwonita
xxxwonita
China
Local time: 02:03
Mar 14, 2008

I am a native speaker of Chinese who has been living in Europe for more than a decade. In some fields my mother tongue is seriously out-of-date. I learned computer application in Germany, and most of the softwares I use are either in German or in English, which is also available in Germany. The computer language in my mother tongue is so foreign to me, that I have to keep my finger away from IT translation.

When I do translation for the automobile industry, I have to study lots of words in detail to make sure my vocabulary is also used in the present Chinese. The biggest problem is: is there already a fixed term for this phrase in Chinese or can it be translated freely? How can I know it as an outsider?

Now I am translating some marketing materials for a leading buiding company in designing green roofs, facing the same problem again. Kudo is a good place, but somehow I am tired of big disccusions for tiny words.

Though I never have difficulties with the choice of words in gossiping in Chinese.

Have a nice weekend!
Bin


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Carole Paquis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:03
Member (2007)
English to French
My tricks Mar 14, 2008

I am a native French speaker and I have been in Britain for 14 years now. Here's my tricks:

meet other professionals in the same field. Because it's 'business talk', we don't use colloquial French.

read lots of specialist magazines. I have a subscription to different trade magazines. If not available on paper, I read them online.

read books that are published on the subject (food industry, marketing...) but also 'new technologies' as, like you, I was already in Britain when the Internet and other technologies developed.

visit trade fairs and engage in 'idle chat' (not so idle !) about products and services from French companies. It's less about getting a new client that getting brochures and 'live information' from.

Of course, France and Britain being neighbouring countries, I can also easily get to France to trade fairs, meetings...etc (might not be so easy for you)


Generally speaking, fighting it !!!!!!


Other suggestions always welcome.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Border Mar 14, 2008

There is no better place to live than on the border, where both of my languages are used in their natural environment right here, and I can use them both on a daily basis in all areas imaginable.

It's the place to be.

The border between Germany and China is rather wide, unfortunately, and after a time you will not even be up to date on gossip language!


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 08:03
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Satellite tv Mar 15, 2008

Probably you'll have it already, but native tv-channels are one source.
In my case, after 30 years away from Germany, I have trees in front of tv-satellites, and after all I find German tv so boring. But working as a translator is probably still the best you can do to keep in touch, reading publications on the net all the time.
Cheers
Heinrich


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:03
Flemish to English
+ ...
Ivory Tower Mar 15, 2008

You are not going to brush up your Chinese sitting in an Ivory Tower.
There is such a thing as cheap carriers, high-speed trains and satellite.
From Germany to China is a 9 hours flight.
I am pretty sure that if you look, you will find a cheap ticket to China.
Besides at most Western universities, you will find Chinese students whose Chinese is still up-to-date. You may not have time to fly to China.
---
In my case: Brussels to London St.Pancreas takes 1 hour 38 minutes. In Brussels, English is the lingua franca of international institutions. Dutch, French and German are the official languages of Belgium. To brush up my Spanish, I take a vueling.com flight (easier than Rynair) and go on a prolonged weekend to Spain.
If you want to practise different languages, buy a Eurorail.


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Podcasts Mar 15, 2008

Use the time you spend driving or using public transportation to listen to Chinese radio content on an MP3 player. I am sure that also in China, there is a wide range of shows to choose from, and MP3 players cost next to nothing these days.

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Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:03
English to Spanish
persevering Mar 16, 2008

Hi

I do similar things to the ones already mentioned:

* listening to the Spanish radio (live over the Internet or via downloads): http://www.rne.es/page?HOME_RNE
* reading the press in Spanish (I buy the weekend newspaper and read the news on line the rest of the days)
* reading literature
* talking to Spanish friends and family
* writing occasionally a diary
* travelling to Spain as much as possible

It is not such hard a work when you enjoy keeping up with the language. And being on the country of your source language you are lucky to achieve a priceless in depth knowledge of it (you may have to make a big effort sometimes to find the target equivalent of an idiom or an expression, but at least you probably know the right nuances and interpretation of the source).

Ideally, when money allows you to do so, I think it is best to spend four months a year on your native country.


Marta

[Edited at 2008-03-16 17:28]


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 06:03
That is what I do as well :-) Apr 1, 2008

Wolfgang Jörissen wrote:

Use the time you spend driving or using public transportation to listen to Chinese radio content on an MP3 player. I am sure that also in China, there is a wide range of shows to choose from, and MP3 players cost next to nothing these days.


Podcasts are a great idea
I tried tuning into various French & German TV stations one weekend but I couldn't get a signal, so I'm stuck with the freeview DW-TV and TV5. (they are both fine, but I'd like some more variety)

Alternatively, you could listen to a Chinese radio stream live online? You don't need anything more complicated than Windows Media player or Real Player to do that. Even YouTube?


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 02:03
TOPIC STARTER
Can you learn anything from YouTube? Apr 2, 2008

Orla Ryan wrote:
Alternatively, you could listen to a Chinese radio stream live online? You don't need anything more complicated than Windows Media player or Real Player to do that. Even YouTube?


One of the most popular Chinese songs from the last years goes:

I love you,
love you so much,
as much as
mice love rice .:)

I recken even my decade-old Chinese is more advanced than some modern song lyrics.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mice_Love_Rice


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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 07:03
Member (2006)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Get a shortwave radio! Jun 14, 2008

Get a shortwave radio and tune to China Radio International. It broadcasts loud and clear in Europe 24 hours a day on one station or another.

What is especially good about CRI is that its features are almost always about economy and finance, technology and trade. (OK, some may find that boring, but for keeping up language skills it is great.)

Shortwave is cheap, no internet connection required and is portable. I am surprised that so many expats I have met do not have them.


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angeling
Local time: 06:03
English to Chinese
read chinese websites Jun 20, 2008

well, i always read chinese websites every morning, china has changed so fast, the same as chinese language

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