Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Words you need to know about Foreign Language

Words You Need To Know About Foreign Language

Someone once said that learning a new language is like becoming a whole new person. True actually, language is for communication, what light is to the world. Simply put, you limit your life when you limit your language skills. Like riding a bicycle for the first time, you jump on and take off, you may fall but you learn to balance yourself along the way. Grammar, vocabulary and diction will help you balance and hone your language skills.

Number of words you need to know

The thumb rule is to plan yourself; use the Pareto principle,do the 80 - 20 rule.The Pareto Principle is very clear, Italian engineer and philosopher Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto observed and researched plants and animals for a considerable length of time before drawing a conclusion, known as Pareto’s Law. It works out as follows: in the cycle of life for many actions, approximately 80% of the effects usually come from 20% of the causes. In other words, with regard to work or study, 20% of your efforts can bring in 80% of the results.

For this to work, we need to understand 95% of words commonly used in a foreign language. When you go about grasping this, the remaining 5% comes to you through contextual situations and experience in the language.

As exasperating as it is trying to figure out the right tools and methods to learn a new language, there is something even more vexing, none of the numbers and statistics on this subject are the same, they are all impossible to nail and thus  keep you confounded, varying  from source to source.

The basic foundation should include

With any foreign language, at the foundation level, you will require to know a basic 250 - 300 most frequently used words of the native speaker. These words are the ones you will be using 65% of the time. On the other hand, it has been noted that 2000 - 2500 words form 90% of what is used all the time.

Of course, the million dollar question is what are those 300 words? There is no magic answer; the jury is still out there on this one. Each language has its own parameters and that is the beauty of it. You learn with practice.

However, for your learning ease, supported by facts and research that is out there, we have listed the category of baseword groups we feel are important to any language you want to learn.

        . Animals
·         . General nouns- objects, articles, singular nouns
·         . Transportation- land, air, sea
·         . People – relationships, genders etc
·         . Food- local, cuisine this is very important
·         . Beverages
·         . Body
·         . Clothing- man , woman, children
·         . Location-  places, areas
·         . Colors
·         . Months
·         . Society- to include religion, money, culture, genders etc
·         . Home- furniture,
·         . Nature – sea, river , ocean, trees
·         . Materials- metals, glass, wood
·         . Measurement and math
·         . Seasons
·         . Number
·         . Time- to include days of minutes, morning, week, months, year etc
·         . Verbs
·         . Adjectives
·         . Pronouns

Each language is unique to its region and dialects can differ marginally from place to place even within a country, so there is no hard and fast rule per se. All you can do is bend and adapt, take Chinese, for instance, it has approximately 370,000 words, English on the other hand has 171,476 words, Dutch 430,000 words and French 100,000 words. As you can see each language varies and with it the number of words you need to learn may run the gamut. So do your math and apply yourself to the task with the dexterity of a gymnast and the willingness to learn.

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© Copyright 2015 Rephraserz Media and Communication Services.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Being Bilingual and Being a Translator

Communication is the most important skill in any area of work, so whether you are a polyglot or a bilingual, you are half way to honing your skills. However, you walk a thin line here, knowing a language and perfecting grammar and diction are two different things. Just because you are bilingual does not automatically mean you are a great translator. Let us address each one by one, first by clearly defining the bilingual and the translator and then assessing how they are different.

Being Bilingual and Being a Translator
Being Bilingual and Being a Translator

Who is a bilingual?

A bilingual person can communicate in two languages but not necessarily to a degree of professional competency. Do note that language has four expressions: speaking, reading, writing or listening; of these four modalities a bilingual may have one or more skills. Hence the extent of competency may not be as much as that of a professional translator.

Did you ever translate a song or a piece of literature from one language to another? How good was your translation, if you are a native speaker it would have been easy, if not you would have had an uphill task. Sometimes communication has been known to get lost in translation and we mean literally. A small goof and the whole sentence can mean something different. Every language has its quirks, typical of the country of origin. Hence culture, colloquial trajectory, the interplay of words, vernacular jargon, euphemisms and many other factors comes into play when speaking a language. A native speaker or a language expert may be able to translate best what a bilingual cannot.

Who is a Translator?

A translator is a professional with a thorough grasp of the source language that they must translate in. A translator must possess certain key skills, chief among them the ability to understand the language in its totality. A translator must have thoroughly grasped the fundamentals in the four modalities: speaking, reading, writing or listening. Of course, when a professional translates the other factors to be taken into account would be the culture of its origin, and translating from a plethora of dictionaries and reference materials to consistently provide perfected material in a language that is accurate and precise in its translation. Therefore the most critical quality required of a professional translator would be the ability to read and write in the source language.

The skills could be clearly defined as:

  • Meticulous knowledge of the source language to be translated
  • Familiarity with its culture
  • Extensive vocabulary
  • Clear and concise expression in translation in the four modalities

The subtle difference between bilinguals and translators! 

The difference between being a bilingual and a translator can be vastly depending on the person concerned. But in most cases it is as simple as the difference between a professional and an amateur. A translator has the knowledge and expertise alongside the experience to deliver communication that is clear and concise in written or spoken form. A bilingual may or may not be able to translate like an expert for a very simple reason; the grasp of the language may not always be up to the mark and there may be a lack of ability to write in the source language. That is the very distinct difference between understanding a language and perfecting it. Factors to be considered would be analyzing the language, spelling, grammar, diction; every language has its rules. The key is to understand and implement them without the source language ever losing its essence.

A bilingual can translate a message to a different language, but may not be able to faithfully do so with justice, whereas a translator would interpret the source language as is and translate the message without ever losing the truth of the words they are translating. Thus we can distinguish between a translator who is a professional and a bilingual. 

No material contained in this blog may be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission of Rephraserz Media and Communication Services. The information published in this blog is own property of the company.