Monday, June 19, 2017

How to be an Interpreter: Advice for Newcomers by Tess Wilkinson

Interpreting as a career is competitive but rewarding and the demand for interpreters to bridge the language barrier between people and professionals is in high demand, all over the world.


If you are completely new to this and want to know what it takes to get into this field, our 5 steps on how to become an interpreter will send you on your way.


1) Self Evaluate


Is this career path really for you? You need to consider all factors within this job role. What does it entail exactly and how are you going to find work? Can you remain impartial throughout the assignments? Doing extensive research into the field is advised before you jump straight into it. Interpreting can be harder than it looks. 


2) Qualifications


You will need an interpreting qualification to become a professional interpreter. The qualifications include the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting and the Level 6 Diploma in Community Interpreting. You may also need a certain level of experience and qualifications to work in certain sectors. Research the different interpreting qualifications on offer and how you can obtain these. Researching different education centres will be handy as well as not every centre will fit your wants and needs – for example, we provide mainly distance learning. Writing a development plan may help as you will create some realistic goals when you will be able to start working as an interpreter. 


3) Volunteering


Have you got a sufficient amount of experience in Interpreting? Volunteering for your local public services or charities such as the refugee council can be helpful for your community and it can also provide you with great experience. This experience can be applied and used when signing up to different agencies and it will increase your earning potential. If you are looking for organisations that are currently taking on volunteer interpreters, depending on your location, Nottingham University Hospital are accepting.


4) Freelance Business


 Do you want to work for yourself or through an agency? What do you need to do to be able to set up your own freelance company or to establish yourself as a sole trader? If you would rather work for yourself, as a freelancer, you need to know how to set this up and what makes a good freelance business. Our Introductory Business courses are packed with advice on how to run a successful freelance interpreting or translation business. Click here.


5) Finding Work


Which areas do you want to specialise in? How far are you prepared to travel to an assignment? What rates are you prepared to work for? You need to decide on the type of work you want to undertake as an interpreter for example: NHS work or Police work. You need to have realistic goals and expectations based on your experience and qualifications and what income you want to get from the job. You also need to consider the area you live in and the languages you speak. There may not be much demand for interpreting services for your language in the area you are currently based. It will be worth considering how far you are willing to travel for an assignment.

So if you want to start your career as an interpreter, what are you waiting for? Use this guide to help you make your first steps into this challenging and rewarding line of work. 

If you have any further questions about what qualification to take why not email the team at info@islinguists.com.

This blog is brought to you by Tess Wilkinson from the International School of Linguists.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Thank You!!!

Today we'd just like to take the opportunity to thank all our readers who took the time to vote for us in Bab.la's Top Language Lovers 2017 competition. Thanks to your support we managed to finish 13th in the Top Language Twitterers category. Just click the link below to check out the other great accounts:

Top 25 Language Twitter Accounts 2017 

Thanks to your support, we also made it into the Top 100 across all categories. If you'd like to check out those blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, or YouTube channels, click the link below:

Top 25 Language Twitter Accounts 2017

Once again, thank you for all your support!

Monday, June 5, 2017

10 Tips for Improving Your Writing in a Foreign Language by Julia Kyprienko

Ten Key Tips for Improving Your Foreign Language Writing Skills

As Federico Fellini put it, a different language is a different vision of life since any foreign language is a reflection of its speakers’ culture, traditions, and worldview. Writing in a foreign language can be much harder than doing so in your native language – you can't understand exactly how people speaking this language think which creates certain problems when it comes to expressing yourself clear.

Making errors in writing can be embarrassing and confusing so it's natural you'd want to improve your proficiency. Why should you worry about making mistakes in your writing? Here is just a couple of reasons:
  1. Mistakes can create a false impression that you have a very low level of education, even if you're very intelligent.
  2. Language tests traditionally grade your writing ability. If you keep making technical errors you'll receive low grades, even if the content is fabulous.
  3. Writing is a vital aspect of professional communication. Moreover, if you are planning to stay in the host country or work with the second language speakers, becoming proficient in written expression is imperative.
  4. Errors in writing can cause misunderstanding and confusion. We all want to be understood correctly, don’t we?

Nevertheless, with intensifying globalization, mastering a foreign language and using it in natural settings is not a problem or rarity any more. More and more foreign students are studying in countries where they can learn the local language and perform assignments in that language. Though self-expression in a foreign language is sometimes harder than it is in mother tongue, it's not impossible. Experts from a custom essay writing service have compiled a set of simple rules to follow to acquire strong writing skills in a second language. Enjoy!

1. Use Professional Writing Workshops

The best way of learning a foreign language is to communicate with people speaking it, or at least with other students learning it. Hence, active writer communities, workshops, and retreats specializing in that language learning may become a very strong boost to your writing skill. Meeting like-minded people with a similar goal, training and learning new things together – all this can become an effective starting stage for your expressive proficiency.

2. Deal with Your Own Clichés

As we have already noted, every language comples complete with its own world view. Writing to be understood is connected with avoiding the clichés inherent in your culture and language. An experienced reader knowing your mother tongue will always spot these clichés, which generally look unnatural in the second language and confuse the meaning of what you wanted to say. Learn the foreign language’s phrasal verbs and idioms to use them effectively for eloquence.

3. Read in the Second Language

Active and diverse reading is a sure way to develop natural literacy in any language. Similar to helping you acquire elegance of expression in your native language, reading is a powerful tool for learning interesting expressions in the target language. Make notes when you read, learn the phrases you like, and start using them in your writing and you will gradually grow to a natural-like style of writing even in a foreign language.

4. Use a Thesaurus

No matter how many words you learned by heart – there is still a strong likelihood that you only know a small percentage of the language’s lexicon. Never ignore the possibility of consulting a thesaurus; this useful tool will suggest numerous contextual variants and synonyms of the word or phrase you would like to use, and will add diversity and richness to your speech.

5. Ask Native Speakers for Feedback

Feedback from native speakers is vitally important, especially at the initial stages of the learning process. A person who speaks your foreign language natively will definitely have a better understanding and they may point out some unnatural-sounding phrases or confusing expressions. Use this feedback to improve and polish your writing and it'll look as if a native speaker wrote it.

6. Use Second Language in All Writing

Many students and learners make a common mistake – using a foreign language only in thematic writing for a purpose, that is, for academic assignments and tasks. However, learning a language well usually stretches far beyond only using it in essays and research papers. To make it a part of your life and to learn to think in that language, try to write down all your routine issues in it: make shopping notes, hold a personal diary, find friends online and communicate with them, make reminders in your phone in that language. You won't even notice how it will become a natural and easy way for your self-expression.

7. Learn More Grammar

Obviously, you cannot ignore grammar. Writing correctly in any language requires a knowledge of the grammar rules but you can start your learning process from learning the basics and then progressing through the language as your skills mature. Attention to grammar should be in every sentence you write, since bad grammar mistakes can create much confusion.

8. Collaborate with Fellow Students

If you are a foreign student studying in the country and learning its language as your second/foreign language, we strongly recommend finding other foreign students and working together in a collaborative ESL/EFL community. These students are certain to have the same problems with the foreign language as you do; some of them know the language better and can help others in a non-academic, friendly environment. Such a mode of studies has many advantages: on the one hand, you acquire many new friends in a new, unknown environment, and on the other hand, you receive knowledge outside a classroom.

9. Make Active Use of the Web

The Internet is a very powerful source of mostly-free language learning opportunities! There are numerous sites offering language classes and advice and you only pay with your free time and perseverance. Independent learning is surely harder than directed learning in a classroom but if your desire to learn writing in a foreign language is strong, you can surely handle it!

10. Keep Your Writing Simple

The final piece of advice is to keep things simple; be critical and objective regarding your real level of knowledge, and do not attempt to produce extensive, complicated pieces of writing right from the start. Beginning is always hard. Try to write simple sentences to and avoid complex grammar and syntax constructions. This is the surest method of making sure you will be understood by native speakers. Once your language skills become stronger and you learn more grammar rules, you can then try to compose longer and more sophisticated writing pieces. Good luck!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Languages Online: The Best of May 2017

It's that time again where we have a look at some of the best language content to hit our screens over the last lunar cycle.


This content comes from one of our favourite language sites. "Hello" and its equivalents in other languages are some of the most common words we use. However, we barely think about them. In this article, you can see their origins and what they mean.


Have you ever wondered why people say they're A2, B1, etc. when it comes to speaking languages? This is because of the CEFR Levels used to gauge language ability. In this article, you can find out all about them and how to find out what level you are.


This interesting radio broadcast talks about the Cockney accent, how it's disappearing, and why. A fascinating listen and something you can put on in the background while you work, too!


Why do the British hate Americanisms so much? It's kind of weird given how many of them are just English expressions that fell out of use. Additionally, there are plenty of Americanisms we use without even realising. This article has it covered.


Not sure what kids are talking about these days? Me neither! In this interesting article, you'll find out about some of the weird and wonderful words the youngest generation are using.


Though controversial, swearing can be a powerful thing. After an interesting psychological discovery, this author gives her thoughts on why swearing is so powerful.

(Source: Dan Chung/The Guardian)

Ever stood on a piece of Lego with no shoes on? If you didn't swear, I salute you. However, it might've been a good idea to do so since psychologists have discovered that swearing both makes you stronger and increases your tolerance for pain. Read more about it here.


Numbers 3 and 2 this month both come from Itchy Feet, a great comic about languages and travelling. If you're learning Spanish, you'll enjoy this one!


The second comic in our list from Itchy Feet is fantastic. Remember, confidence can go a long way when speaking a foreign language!


Since France headed to the polls earlier this month, it's no surprise this article made it to number 1 this month. It's surprising how many French words and ideas made their way into English political terminology. Find out more about it here.

Were there any interesting stories that we missed? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Vote for TLF Translation!

Today's post is just a quick message to thank everyone for their ongoing support. This year we've been nominated as one of the Top 100 Language Twitterers category in bab.la's Top 100 Language Lovers competition.

We'd really appreciate it if you'd show your support for us and our blog by clicking on the button below and voting for "TLF Translation".

Top Language Lovers 2017
 
You should also check us out on social media. You can like our Facebook page here:


Or follow us on Twitter, here:


Thanks again for your ongoing support! Keep loving languages!

Monday, May 15, 2017

10 Ways to Dive into a Language Environment when Studying Abroad by Richard Nolan

Communication is a crucial part of our everyday living. Without communication, we wouldn’t be able to anything. Language is key when it comes to communicating. It’s therefore pertinent that we understand the language that we intend to communicate in.

At times, we find ourselves in an environment where we may not fully comprehend the language that people around us are using. It can be quite stressful since you can't do much and you end up feeling frustrated. For a student studying abroad, the feeling could be worse, especially if the language in which your teachers or lecturers are using is foreign to you.

Well, you needn't worry anymore. We're going to discuss some tips on how to learn a new language should you find yourself studying abroad. Different individuals have different learning styles. It's up to you to establish what works well for you. Check out these 10 ways and pick the ones that work for you:

1. Use Apps

The advancement of technology has brought about easy ways of doing and knowing things. This is mostly by the use of phone applications. There are a number of language learning applications like Duolingo and Memrise that you can use to learn new languages.

Some of these have audio so you have no excuse when it comes to pronunciation too.

This makes the use of applications a very easy method because you carry your phone around everywhere hence you can always have access to the application.

2. Take a Dictionary

This might look like an outdated and old-school way of learning a new language but it’s really helpful. Having a pocket dictionary gives you the ability to check any new vocabulary that you hear around and get to know its meaning. You can also use the dictionary to learn new words and even get to know how to use them in a sentence.

3. Enroll in a University/College Programme

Audio and online learning programs work well but they cannot be compared to a classroom setting. This is because there’s interaction in a classroom which makes it easy for someone to grasp a new language. Not all universities offer foreign languages but you can still apply for course in another university or college.

Learning a new language in college is interesting and interactive since you can practice what you learn with other classmates. The classroom setting also helps you learn quickly since you meet people who speak a different language. This will push you to use your new lingua franca. An added advantage of learning a new language in a university is that there will be up-to-date reference books available for you that you can use during your study.

4. One on One Learning / Private Lessons

The difference between a private lesson and a university lesson is the number of students involved and less of a classroom structure. In this case, the number of students will be minimal and instead of a classroom or lecture hall, a more informal setting will be involved.

The advantage of having private lessons is that they bring about the one on one interaction between the teacher. Therefore, the student can get all the attention that he/she might require. There is also some freedom that you don't get with a university class. The disadvantage is that costs more and you may not have up-to-date reading materials.

5. Buddy Programmes

Buddy programmes is more of an informal method of learning a new language. It involves an exchange of lessons with a foreign friend. This can be done online or you can meet up for a one in one session.


From this method, you can learn accents and slang of the language since you’re interacting with someone who is a native speaker of the language you want to learn.


This method is easier than reading from a book or listening to an instructor. Buddy programmes are free in terms of money but do cost a lot of time. This is because it’s a give and take situation where you also have to teach the other person your language and this requires a lot of patience.

6. Make Learning a Fun Activity

The conventional way of attending lessons, reading and writing may prove to be so boring and make you disinterested in learning the foreign language altogether. Well, the good news is that there are an unlimited number of activities that are enjoyable to engage in and that can assist you with your learning.

Frankly, there is something for everyone. For example, if you love listening to music, then you could learn a thing or two from listening to music in the language you want to learn. You could also watch a movie, go to football matches, concerts, play games etc. There are many things you could do.

7. Use the Language Whenever You Can

The trick to perfecting your language skills is to always practice speaking regardless of whether you’re perfect or not. That helps build your confidence and makes you more comfortable reading, writing, or communicating in the language. It’s crucial to be confident in your learning.

Always incorporating new vocabulary in your speech is an excellent way of learning a new language. Why? Because you get to familiarize yourself with how different words fit into different contexts.

8. Have a Go-To Place That Helps

We all have our favorite hangout spots where we go whenever we need to relax or get something to eat. These spots will help you familiarize with the people of the country you’re in while at the same time improve on your mastery of the language. If you go to restaurants or gyms, you’ll get to meet different people, listen to them speak and ultimately end up being fluent yourself.

9. Read! Write! Speak!

The only way to master any language is by constantly using it to communicate. Be it through reading, writing, or speaking. Reading materials based on the language that you’re learning is important as it improves on your understanding. Writing and speaking allow you to practice using the language. You get to understand what words are used under different scenarios.
You also get to identify what mistakes you’re making and work on improving on them.

10. Avoid Using English

English is more of a universal language, therefore spoken in a majority of countries worldwide. The problem with this is that if you study abroad, you may fall into the trap of using English and fail to learn the new language. Try to use the foreign language as it is the only way to learn effectively. If you insist on using English to communicate, then you may as well give up learning a foreign language.

Be careful of getting comfortable using English as you may end up not seeing the point in learning the language.

Learning a new language may appear to be difficult but it’s quite simple if you're dedicated. Passion and drive are very much needed. These tips will help you out. Write your daily schedule to incorporate the foreign language learning tips that you find will work for you. All the best!

Richard Nolan is a writer and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of  writing, blogging, entrepreneurship and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers and students.  Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, May 8, 2017

8 Tips for Those Who Find Learning a Language Difficult

Learning a foreign language can be really difficult. It's probably even more difficult if you're surrounded by gifted learners making it look really easy and speaking like it's their native language. Does it feel like you aren't progressing as quickly as you should? Are you desperate to become bilingual? Then here are some tips to help you!

1: Immerse Yourself

This doesn't necessarily mean moving to a country where the language is spoken! You can immerse yourself in plenty of ways. Here are a few that I find useful...

Put flashcards all over your house to help you learn new vocabulary.

Make sure your phone is in the language you're trying to learn. If you're like me, your face is probably glued to your phone most of the time. Consider it free language learning on the go!

Read the news in the language you're learning, listen exclusively to music in that language, and only watch TV and films that will help you.

You'll be amazed at the phrases and vocabulary that you'll learn by doing just a few of these. You'll probably also learn a lot about the places where your new language is spoken since language and culture go hand in hand!

2: Go To Classes

If you've been studying at home using things like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone but you've only picked up a few new words and phrases, perhaps it's time to learn a foreign language with language lessons.

While online language learning can be beneficial, signing up to language courses means you'll have a teacher in front of you who can help you grasp the grammar. Furthermore, learning a new language with others in a classroom can be a great way to meet people and have lots of fun!

3: Get a Private Tutor

If classes aren't working, then maybe you need one on one tuition. If you want to learn French. spending a few hours a week studying and practicing with a native speaker will help you develop your language skills on put you on the right track towards fluency.

Remember, you should always work with somebody who teaches, not just somebody who can speak the language!

4: Go To Language Exchanges

If you live in a large or diverse city where people speak lots of different languages, there'll probably be language exchanges where you can learn a foreign language.

A language exchange is where you meet native speakers of the language you're learning in order to practice. What's the catch? You also have to help other people learning the language you speak. They're great if you want to speak your second language at a conversational level!

5: Change Things If They Aren't Working

Are you doing all of the above and still struggling? If you've been studying at home, consider changing the resources you've been using and rediscover how to learn a language.

Have you been taking lessons for what seems like ages but still finding things difficult? You should tell your teacher or what you're finding difficult, they'll probably be happy to adapt their approach.

If nothing seems to be working, perhaps it's time to move to the country where the language is spoken. Personally, I find immersion the best way to learn a new language and if you're surrounded by it every second of every day, you'll be fluent in no time!

6: Don't Compare Yourself to Others

Every language learner is different and needs to go at their own speed. A lot of people who think they're struggling with a language. In fact, they just think they are because they're comparing their own language learning experience to others, often those who learn languages with ease.

Don't get demotivated by what you read online. Stories of people learning their first foreign language are rarely published. Instead, you'll read about somebody who was once a monolingual English speaker but now thanks to their special learning process, they've gained proficiency in Mandarin, Portuguese, Arabic, etc.

Just remember: These are the rare special cases, don't get demotivated by them!

7: Don't Dwell on Mistakes

When you learn a foreign language, you will make mistakes. In fact, people make mistakes in their mother tongue all the time, so they're even more likely in their second language. Use your mistakes to help you learn, not to tell yourself you're terrible at languages!

8: Be Proud of Your Progress

As I said at the beginning, learning languages is difficult! Every time you learn something, give yourself a pat on the back! Focus on the progress you make, rather than the journey you have ahead of you. This will help motivate you. If you're motivated, you will learn!

Do you have any other tips for those being demoralized by learning a language? Tell us your advice in the comments below!