The Linguist

The Linguist 55,1

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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I read your three 'starting out' articles (TL54,6) with great interest. I noticed that the three ladies involved all had language- related university qualifications (although this was less clear in 'The Intern'). It would be interesting to hear about the experiences and careers of translators (and possibly interpreters) who do not have university language qualifications but who work with languages at professional level, such as people who are bilingual or trilingual from birth, or who, as a result of circumstance or work, were exposed to two or more languages for many years, and who entered the language business later in life. By this I mean after successfully completing some kind of university programme, gaining non- language work experience and having their language skills recognised appropriately. Translators with advanced education in certain sectors (such as an MSc or PhD in sciences or engineering) and proven language skills (e.g. via the Diploma in Translation) are likely to be better equipped for the professional, accurate translation of technical texts than translators with a degree in languages, proven translating skills and who attended specialisation courses. I do not mean to say that one combination is better than the other – just that in certain settings one combination may be preferable. Jill Marturano MCIL FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 The Linguist 29 OPINION & COMMENT It was good to see the British Council's call to "learn a language in 2016" widely reported, its impact amplified by the backing of actor and languages champion Larry Lamb. The Telegraph also chipped in, with an online poll in its travel section asking "Should we feel ashamed that so few Britons speak a foreign language?". When I accessed it, 60% agreed that we should. This column has reported many times on scare stories in the tabloid press about the growing presence of languages other than English in schools and communities around Britain. Late in 2015, The Express ran a story about the "English language starting to die out". Happily, the Independent Press Standards Organisation found the account "totally unsupported" and forced the paper to publish a front page correction. However, the publication soon found another outlet for its linguistic intolerance: the "shameless" "splurge" by MPs of "your cash" on language lessons – the underlying message being that language learning is a waste of time and a luxury. The amount – £38,000 since 2010 – hardly amounted to profligacy, although the paper was most outraged at the £5,000 spent on Icelandic. The Express, The Mail and The Mirror all ran an encouraging story about Arsenal goalie Petr Cech, whose success this season is attributed to his ability to speak to fellow team members in French and Spanish. "It's easier to say it in their language than hoping they will understand," Cech was quoted as saying. The Mail also reported that Gary Neville's Spanish classes were paying off in his new job with Valencia FC, although in another article they said that his difficulties with the language would hinder his long-term future there. Finally, more evidence, via The Mirror, of the perils of Google Translate: Ukrainians recently identified an error that rendered Russia as 'Mordor' (the evil kingdom in The Lord of the Rings), and Russians as 'occupiers'. Teresa Tinsley is Director of Alcantara Communications; TERESA TINSLEY STAR LETTER Email Another take on starting out The mediator I really appreciated the well-written and well-structured article by Allison Brown, 'Re-writing History' (TL54,5). Parallels can readily be drawn with translation work in a number of fields. The article concludes with the following words: "A translator thus does not only simply translate words, but acts as a linguistic mediator across history and cultures." In my view, a good translator never "only simply" translates words. Our role is always one of a "linguistic mediator". Glynis Thompson MCIL Star letter prize The BBC Active Talk Complete self-taught French course is reviewed on page 27, and this issue's Star Letter writer wins the Spanish set of three books and four CDs. For a chance to win your choice of course (French, Italian, German or Spanish), share your views via © SHUTTERSTOCK

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