The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - 29

RR
where your native language
is not spoken. I've been living
outside the U.S. (in Korea
and China) for most of the
past decade. Every time I go
back to the U.S., there's new
slang. Even new grammar!
Yes, most of that new slang
will not show up in the
texts my company receives
for translation, but there's
always emerging terminology
to be learned. How about the
term herd immunity? A few
months ago, I wouldn't have
known what that referred
to. But if you keep up with
English-language news,
you'll unfortunately know
that term quite well.
In addition to staying
up to date with changes in
terminology, I need to make
sure that the languages that
surround me here in Asia
don't start affecting the
natural fluency of my native
English. The other day, I
went to write a sentence
in an email and started to
second guess myself. ( " I
would say that in Chinese,
but would I really say it this
way in English? " ) I had to
check it with a friend.
To maintain my writing

Do Translators Really
Need to " Speak " Their
Source Language?

The Elements of Language
Linguistic Term

Plain English

Lexicon

Vocabulary, Terminology

Grammar and Syntax

Conjugations, Word Order, etc.

Phonology, Phonetics, and
Prosody

Pronunciation

improve their speaking and
listening abilities in the

Pragmatics

Culture/Conversation

Motivation

Staying Productive and
Accountable to Your Language
Goals

After all, translators work
with written text, so how
important is it for them to

source language? This really
depends on the translator
and their personal goals. It's
definitely the case that you
can be an excellent translator
without being able to speak
your source language.

are structured and acquired

spaced repetition algorithms

Comprehension is a very

in the human brain.

to show you flashcards in

different muscle.
However, the more
ways you can access any
given language, the more
information you can access
and the better translator you
can become. Why wouldn't
you give yourself the best
possible opportunity to access
that information? For this
reason, I recommend that
translators continue to work
on their speaking abilities in
their source language.

My Credentials as a
Language Learner
At this point, you might want
to know a bit more about

As much as I love learning

sequences that are optimized

new languages, I also know

for long-term memory.

how quickly I can forget

You can create your own

them (sorry, Russian and

flashcard packs in Memrise,

Arabic!). For this reason, I've

but I'm usually able to

learned to integrate language

find specialized packs that

maintenance into my

already exist (e.g., a pack

schedule. Over the past decade

that's just for studying the

I've tried what feels like every

vocabulary from a specific

app, tool, and strategy to learn

Korean textbook).

a language. Now, I can tell you
what works.
The key to learning or
maintaining a language is to
attack each separate element
of the language using a tool

Drops
https://languagedrops.com
Drops is a similar to
Memrise. While its features
are less extensive, the

that targets that particular
element, as opposed to trying

platform is much more

a one-size-fits-all approach.

aesthetically pleasing (which
helps get you hooked!).

ability, I make it a point to

me. I've always loved the

That's why just using an

surround myself with the

challenge of learning a new

online learning platform like

It also offers lessons for

best possible versions of

language, although I got

Duolingo isn't going to get

learning new scripts (e.g.,

written English. In addition

started a bit late.

you very far. (I'll talk later

Arabic or Japanese). I also

about how Duolingo can be

use Drops to strengthen

to reading every day, I

I began learning my first

listen to podcasts produced

second language (Spanish)

helpful!) So, here are the

specialized vocabulary (e.g.,

throughout the Anglophone

in high school. Even though

tools and strategies I use to

computing and politics).

world. This is especially

I struggled (it took me about

target each element.

important for me because

six years to become fluent in

even though my immediate

Spanish), I became enamored

English-speaking world (my

with the process of learning

husband and my parents via

languages. Over the next

Zoom) is primarily in North

10 years I studied French,

Lexicon/Vocabulary
Memrise
www.memrise.com

American English, I still

Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and

Memrise is a great app for

the most physical part of

need to stay equally familiar

Korean. I ended up majoring

studying vocabulary. It

speaking a language. And

with British and Australian

in linguistics to better

won't teach you grammar

guess what? Your tongue is

vocabulary and phrasing.

understand how languages

or pronunciation, but it uses

a muscle. Or rather, it's a

www.ata-chronicle.online

Pronunciation
Glossika
https://ai.glossika.com/home
Pronunciation is definitely

American Translators Association

29


https://www.languagedrops.com https://ai.glossika.com/home http://www.memrise.com http://www.ata-chronicle.online

The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021

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The ATA Chronicle - March/April 2021 - Contents
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