The Linguist

The Linguist 53,3

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Vol/53 No/3 2014 JUNE/JULY The Linguist 31 OPINION & COMMENT More on retour Once again you give space to early foreign language learning practices: the learning of individual words by means of FlashSticks (TL53,1). But I don't recall you publishing articles on the next stages – the crucial stages – when the learner has to acquire the grammar to enable him/her to become an increasingly independent, creative and confident learner. I should like to read articles describing good practice in the middle and later stages of school MFL (modern foreign languages) teaching. Some time ago you published Theo Merz's account of his disappointment with his GCSE course, where no opportunities were given for reading and the emphasis was on functional language learning – the buying of ice-creams was one of his examples of pointless learning. Having experience of using languages in business, when I taught in the 1960s and 1970s I tried to centre my teaching on the exploitation of foreign language texts, analysing the vocabulary, idiom and grammar in order to reuse them as a basis for speaking and writing. It would be interesting to read articles dealing with these later stages, especially in view of Theo's apposite criticisms of his GCSE course. Joe Trickey FCIL Editor replies: You may find our article on revisions to the GCSE interesting (page 16). Legal aid Regarding Nil Okan paniguian's article, 'In the Dock' (TL53,2), I believe the Magistrates' Association has guidelines on working with interpreters on its website. Also, the recent UK-led EU project, Building Mutual Trust 2 (BMT2), international team produced a set of training videos on working with interpreters for people in the legal services in all member states. They are free to download at That website also includes free legal interpreter training materials from BMT1, aimed at helping those setting up courses. Ann Corsellis HonFCIL Relevance and recognition The latest edition (TL53,2) shows what progress the Institute has made over the last decade. Every article is relevant, interesting, well written and doubtless of practical value to members. From trade secrets to therapy, through shared offices and universities, to Erasmus and retour, let alone music and law, emotional capital and jokes, the articles underline the importance and relevance of languages to the UK. Congratulations to the Institute and its Editor. Successive governments have failed to understand how learning, teaching and Thank you for raising the subject of retour interpreting (ie, out of one's native language) in the article 'In the Right Direction' (TL53,2). I strongly support retour interpreting and personally prefer it. To me, the key thing is to understand the speaker. In my work as a native English-speaking Arabic interpreter, I have witnessed highly experienced interpreters who make frequent mistakes when translating an English-speaker going at speed (and no doubt I do the same going the other way). No end of beautiful phrasing and perfect pronunciation can cover a failure to get the speaker's real intent. Surely speaking skills are more easily acquired than the skills needed to grasp meaning, intent and the vast mass of dialectal variations – yet mistakes in meaning are more critical. We must all know people whose command of a language is near perfect but who frequently miss the point in conversation with a native. It is interesting that, according to the article, end- users think this way as well. The theorist's argument that interpreting into one's native language gives greater confidence strikes me as specious; how can an interpreter be confident if they are not sure what the person really means! I would be interested to know if the CIOL is taking any steps to rehabilitate retour interpreting. I am considering taking an MA in conference interpreting and would love to hear advice from members: given the bias against retour and my preference for it, is there any point in seeking to move my career in this direction? Peter Solomon MCIL working in other languages is an important pillar of the UK multicultural society, with implications for so many parts of it. Gradual recognition of this owes much to the Institute's dedicated and often underestimated members, and the way in which their Institute has developed. At Regent's University London, with 140 student nationalities and teaching nine different languages, we understand more than many what the Institute stands for. Professor John Drew Chancellor, Regent's University London A higher stage of learning © DREAMSTIME Email with your views

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