Language focus | 23.07.2012

Multiple-language learners may fall short of professional translation capabilities

Even if you have learned a second language to a good level of fluency, your ability to convert sentences between it and your native tongue may still fall short of professional translation agencies’ capabilities.

That is because, unlike truly bilingual people who have grown up speaking more than one language naturally, those who learn at a later age are usually taught the second language in isolation.

Researchers at the University of the Basque Country are now looking at new ways to approach Spanish, Basque, English and French, to identify new linguistic similarities and differences between them that could be used to teach foreign languages in a more joined-up way in future.

“We are studying what happens if we take the languages … out of their watertight compartments,” says the group’s coordinator Durk Gorter.

“In theory – and if we take into consideration other previous research – the results ought to be very good.”

The research highlights the difference between simply speaking a language, and professional translation between two tongues.

In the absence of more joined-up education, translation agencies can continue to provide the level of service required for the final text to still make good grammatical sense.

Source: EurekAlert


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