Monday, February 17, 2020

8 Mistakes People Should Stop Making When Learning a New Language by Aimee Laurence

Learning a new language can be an incredibly tough challenge, but also very rewarding if you keep up with it. Here are some things to avoid doing while learning your target language, as they can affect your motivation and overall performance.

1. Freaking out about mistakes

Many people, when starting to learn a new language, avoid using it because they are afraid of making mistakes, but this approach is not at all beneficial. Making mistakes is all part of the process of learning, and errors are actually an essential part of it.

There is no point in panicking once you make a mistake; you should learn from it as quickly as possible. If you avoid practice because you worry about being perfect, you'll not be able to progress. It's important to relax and acknowledge that you are only at the start of your journey and that these mistakes can only help you gain experience.

2. Getting frustrated about pronunciation

It is very easy to let yourself feel overwhelmed with pronunciation in your target language. There are between 300 and 600 different possible sounds and every language has its own unique phonemic inventory. Not getting it right from the very beginning is no reason to get frustrated or lose confidence.

It is important to identify the rules you have the most trouble with learning and focus on them. At first, you have a bit of work to do to adjust your mouth and tongue to the target language's unique sounds, but with time muscle memory will help you start to pronounce them correctly.

3. Not starting with the way a language sounds

When starting to learn a new language, everybody wants to delve into reading and writing right away, but that is not always the right way to go. Instead, start with the way the language sounds first. Verbal exercises will help you, even if you are only pronouncing a few basic words and phrases.

4. Focusing too much on grammar


Every language has complex grammar rules, and it's easy to get tangled up in them. Many people make the mistake of focusing too much on the grammar they find difficult, which can be discouraging.


It's important to remember that all languages have easy aspects to them as well, and if you feel overwhelmed, you can always just focus on them. Any practice is valuable, even if it seems "too easy".

“[E]ven the hardest features of language have ways in which they can be simplified. By knowing the simplest, core grammar, you will be able to recognize elements from them when they are used in harder structures," says Brian Oliver, an educator at Assignment Service and OXEssays.

5. Focusing on the wrong vocabulary

Contrary to what you might believe, starting with endless lists of vocabulary isn't the way to go when learning a language. Ideally, you should start slowly, with a strong base of words that are useful in day to day life, such as numbers, colours, days of the week, food and family members. By knowing the core phrases and words, you can start practising speaking right away.

“[L]earning vocabulary is more effective when you choose words that are relevant to you and your life. Because of this, starting off with a list of words related to your hobbies, hometown and life will help you be able to speak to people right away about the stuff that is specific to you," says Diana Simpson, a tutor at Australianhelp and BoomEssays.

6. Getting too frustrated listening to natives

As a beginner, one of the most frustrating things when watching a video in your target language is listening to the fast, complex speech of natives and not being able to understand everything. However, simply listening to them can help you improve in many areas such as grammar, pronunciation, and broadening your vocabulary. Even if you may not be able to follow the speech of a native from the start, there are many tools to help you, such as subtitles.

7. Using textbooks instead of immersion

Another common mistake is using textbooks too much instead of other methods of immersion, such as listening to the radio, watching TV, reading articles online, all in your target language. Immersing yourself in the current culture will give you great insight into how people actually use their language, instead of what's "grammatically correct".

8. Not having enough patience

Language learning is a task that involves a lot of time and commitment. Many people tend to be intimidated by this, but it's important to have patience with it. Just like with any other skill, you will only get better with practice, and a lot of trial and error.

Overall, keep in mind that even making these mistakes does not mean you won't be able to learn a language. Everybody learns languages for different reasons, but you can always learn to adapt your behaviour for better results.

Aimee Laurence is a writer and language tutor specialized in topics related to education. She works at BoomEssays and UK Writings, and you can find her work on Essayroo as well.

Monday, February 10, 2020

How And Why To Paraphrase Text By Using Back-Translation by Beatrice Beard

It can be a real chore having to paraphrase a block of text. Reading and paraphrasing text takes a good amount of time and often requires the help of a thesaurus to guide you through the changes.

There are lots of reasons that you might want to paraphrase text and it's becoming an increasingly important job as content development has become more and more important online. There are also more nefarious reasons (like wanting to take someone else's writing) but there are plenty of interesting reasons as to why you need to get the job done. 

Given that it's tedious doing it by hand, how can get it done more easily? Through back-translating. 

Let's take a look at how that works.

The Back Translating Process


The process of back translating involves Google's 'Translate' tool, traditionally used for giving translations into one of the over 100 languages that Google offers. "The process is a three-part one, that is very simple and only takes a matter of seconds initially and will speed up your paraphrasing job", explains Chloe Calhoun, writer at WriteMyx and BritStudent.


Step 1: Take whatever the piece of text is that you want to paraphrase and put it into Google Translate. Make sure that it isn’t too long. Google Translate has a 5000 character limit so make sure that your block of text fits in with that. 

Step 2: Translate the text into a foreign language. Ideally, choose one that is noticeably dissimilar to English. Try languages with non-Roman alphabets, or which are simply very different from English. I find that Korean, Irish and Russian are all quite effective languages.

Step 3: Translate the resulting foreign text back into English. The text you are left with will be similar to the original but have some noticeable differences between individual words and turns of phrase.
There you have it, a nice and convenient way to paraphrase text and come up with something similar but different. The work of only a few minutes.

Why Back-Translate Text?

There can be many different reasons that you might want to perform this process and everyone will have a particular desire for having back-translated paraphrased text.

Having the meaning preserved across lots of subtly different texts can be useful for data scientists who need large swathes of textual data to experiment on. This sort of 'multiplying' effect can be useful for lots of other areas as well but will depend on the individual.

“People do try and use back-translating as a method for plagiarizing work. A word of warning if this is you. If you are using it for anything where that is expressly discouraged, you will almost certainly get caught”, says Laura Park, lingua blogger at 1Day2Write and NextCoursework. It won't fool anyone who is on the lookout for it, so it is not recommended. Furthermore, plagiarizing, in general, isn't recommended. Just write it yourself, it shouldn't be too complex.

Another reason to back-translate is to compare translations and refine the meaning. The way that a back translation will take on synonyms and offer alternative turns of phrase is a really interesting way to look at improving and sharpening translation. You can back translate into different languages or the same language multiple times and you will keep landing on different versions of the same text. It gives you a new way to look at language and translation. You can also compare the translations given to the same piece of English text by different languages which can be useful for anyone involved in linguistics to make interesting judgements about the nature of the different languages that are being tested. This can be a really interesting process that can teach a lot.

Hopefully, this article will help you next time you need to paraphrase text for whatever reason that you might have. It's not in the least bit complicated and we should be grateful that such a useful tool is so readily available to us for our use.

Beatrice is a professional copywriter at OriginWritings and AcademicBrits specializing in academic literature. She is considered a wonderful resource in her work at PhdKingdom, where she advises beginner writers uncovering all the peculiarities of creating content that sells.

Monday, January 27, 2020

5 Second Language Options that Can Change the Way You See Your Career in Translation by Manoj Rupareliya

We all know that English is the global language for business, but it's not even many countries' first language. This is why learning a second language can provide you with a competitive edge. For example, translators and interpreters all over the world tend to earn quite well.

The median salary is $49,930 for translators and the unemployment rate is just 3.1%. If your second language is English, becoming a translator might be an obvious choice! However, if English is your first language, which languages would be best for becoming a translator?

1. Chinese/Mandarin

One of the most spoken languages, Chinese is a macrolanguage that includes dialects like Mandarin, Wu, Min, Xiang, Gan, Hakka, and Yue. Of all these dialects, Mandarin accounts for 70% of Chinese. Mandarin, which is predominantly spoken in Taiwan and Beijing, is considered the "standard Chinese language" and is mostly spoken in Taiwan and Beijing provinces.

Chinese might be a divided dialect, but knowledge of Mandarin will help you communicate with 
a large percentage of Chinese people.

2. Spanish

After Chinese, Spanish tops the table with more than 410 million native speakers worldwide. It's also the first language in 20 countries and a popular second language in countries like Belize, the Philippines, and even the United States.

Spanish to English is a popular language pair for translations and there are plenty of countries needing content translated.

3. French

French is often ranked as one of the most beautiful languages in the world and as the fifth most spoken language in the world, it's quite a popular second language.


It's a native language for many in Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and, of course, France. Additionally, it's quite an important language in international business.

4. German

With 130 million speakers, German is the most spoken first language in the EU. As a minority language, there are also 7.5 million German speakers across 42 countries in which German isn't the most common language.

German learners are often impressed by the structure and grammar of the language and how nouns combine to form new words.

Learning German can improve your career prospects, especially in translation. Furthermore, it's never been easier thanks to all the online resources and the efforts of many mobile app developers.

5. Russian

Russian is one of six official languages on the United Nations. It has more than 144 million speakers in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. and is one of the most widely spoken Slavic languages.

Russian is an important language for business and tourism across several nations, making it a great choice for anyone interested in becoming a translator or interpreter.

Second languages can now be used for much more than just talking to others, you can use it to further your career. With business becoming increasingly globalised, it makes sense to speak more than just one language.

With technologies like Artificial Intelligence an
d the Internet of Things (IoT), the need for interpreters that can produce native content based on global demand has increased and created more opportunities.

Manoj Rupareliya is the Online Marketing Expert and Blogger. He is an experienced writer with expertise in the field of technology, blockchain, crypto, AI, Digital Marketing and SEO. All the blogs he writes are aimed at providing credible help and insights for readers who want to stay updated all the time. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Monday, December 16, 2019

Effective Post-editing Machine Translation Techniques by Ashley Halsey

Technological developments are having a bigger and bigger influence on languages. Translation, transcription and language learning are all revolutionized by machine learning algorithms. As a result, linguists must themselves evolve and adapt their skills at breakneck speed to these developments.

Machine translation (MT) is a fine example of this kind of development within linguistics. MT was developed to translate huge amounts of text from one language into another. Although MT isn't new, in recent year it's taken huge leaps and is increasingly dependent on artificial intelligence, big data mining and cloud computing. Where Statistical Machine Translation – a translation process based on the grouping of certain core words – has traditionally been used since the mid-2000s, a new system called Neural Machine Translation has now become more prevalent, and the degree of accuracy in translation services has become greater still.

Once the translation is complete, linguists are still faced with the need to edit the output. Since this cannot be performed effectively by machine, it can be an incredibly time-consuming activity, as well as just another example of how linguists have had to add a new skill to their arsenal. But how do you become a master post-editor?


Make Decisions Quickly


One of the core competencies in becoming a highly effective machine translation post-editor is quick decision making in terms of the quality of what you have in front of you. Does it require only minor rejigging, or will it be better deleted and started again from scratch? Indecision here simply delays the process and often compromises the quality of what remains. 

“Some editors, and those who commission them, employ a three-second rule here: three seconds to ascertain if any mistakes exist, and if not, then a quick move along to the next line is recommended. This kind of speed editing does not always guarantee completely error-free text, but shows the most faith in the machine translation, thus making an investment in this technology most worthwhile,” says Audrey Kavlos, a translator at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting.

Decide on Voice

Even the most stagnant of text has some type of discernible voice which can be detected from the combination of words that are used, as well as punctuation. MT can leave a text almost devoid of any recognizable human voice, but this in itself is not an issue. What is relevant is how the post-editor maintains consistency in the text that remains (this is as true with concepts and terms as much as with voice). Any heavy tweaks will lead to inconsistencies in voice, so some semblance of continuity will need to be employed. This is not an all-or-nothing approach but is rather another example of a skill which exists in the art of post-editing.

Don’t Over-edit

Over-editing is a minefield. Once you begin over-editing, you have entered the realms of an activity which is possibly more time consuming that re-writing the entire text from scratch in the first place. It messes with the aforementioned voice and is a deeply frustrating activity that ends up compromising the original text in some way, which brings us on to…

Stay True to the Original Source Copy

Any linguist worth their salt appreciates the importance of staying true to the tone and character of the source text. It is not the job of the translator to adapt such things but instead give a faithful representation, in another tongue, of what the speaker (or writer) of those original words was trying to convey. 

“Even small changes applied inaccurately can have a profound effect upon the translated text in terms of how faithful it is the original source copy, and a delicate touch is the mark of a talented linguist," says Matthew Holderness, a linguist at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK.

Don't Omit or Add Anything

Similarly, nothing can be omitted or added which was included (or not) in the original text. Again, it is not the job of the translator to decide upon the value of certain concepts, and to include them (or not) on a whim, but to instead remain faithful to that original text. Any glaring or subtle omissions as a result of the machine translation must always be rectified.

Ashley Halsey is a  professional writer, marketing expert and tech enthusiast. You can find her contributing her insights and expertise at LuckyAssignments and GumEssays.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Tips for Teaching Your Child a Second Language by Mia Ackerson

Knowing another language is one of the biggest intellectual assets that one could ever own. This is because this knowledge reveals the secrets of a foreign culture, their literature, cinematography, history, and mindset, which would otherwise stay obscure. Studies show that you need to learn a language before adolescence if you want to learn it as a native speaker. With that in mind, here are a few tips for teaching your child a second language.

1. Learn a Thing or Two about Language Teaching Methodology

There's a reason why you need to be a qualified educator to work in a school. However, parents can also teach their children a second language as they spend a lot of time with their children and will be aware of their progress. Similarly, they can adapt their teaching style to their child since no one knows them better.

To get the best of both worlds, it's a good idea for parents to study the methodology for teaching a foreign language to young learners as it'll definitely help in the learning process.

2. Keep It Fun

Your kids need to interested in learning a foreign language if they want to have any hope of speaking it fluently. Make sure they have fun when learning and even associate the two. This emotional connection will follow them through the rest of their lives and significantly bolster their academic efforts later on.

A simple way to do this is to get your kid toys of things that represent concepts that you want to teach them. For example, if you're teaching them a song in Spanish where various different animals are mentioned, what you could do is get them wooden toys of these animals. Some learners respond really well to physical objects you could always use them to narrate a play or story in the second language.

3. Utilise the Power of Technology

Make sure that you're using technology effectively. There are so many amazing language learning apps for children and it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity to get the most out of it. Apps like Duolingo, Memrise or Babel can help your child make the first step towards learning a new language. Since these apps often provide visual assistance and teach one through game-like experience, it's fairly easy to see why they would be so effective with young kids.

4. Have Reasonable Expectations

The first thing you need to understand is the fact that learning a language is an organic process that takes time. This means that you can't expect your kid to master a language in a matter of weeks or months and it's difficult accurately measure their progress. After all, you can't use the number of words learned or errors made as an accurate metric. You also can't expect them to progress their knowledge without them being able to use it so try speaking to them in the foreign language, even if it's just to say regularly good morning or goodnight.

As you can see, as long as you start early enough and keep learning fun, you shouldn't have any problems teaching your child a second language or even allowing them to develop bilingual abilities. Also, keep in mind to set your expectations as realistic as possible since not everyone learns at the same pace and just because you don't see the progress, it doesn't mean that it's not 
happening.

Mia Ackerson is a Melbourne-based part-time writer, currently engaged in projects with Wooden Crafts handmade toys. She babysits her nephew and loves writing about it based on her personal experiences, in her free time. She’s also interested in interior design, reading books, movies, music, baking, and gardening. You can follow her on Twitter.




Monday, August 12, 2019

How to Learn a Language If You're Busy by Sienna Walker

In the modern culture of lifelong-learning, we all have so many things we’d like to master, with a language being one of the more ambitious pursuits. Unfortunately, we don't always end up succeeding in this endeavor.

The number one reason that people fail to set learning goals and take steps towards achieving them is that they feel as though their schedule prevents them from doing so. Sometimes it is just an excuse, but if you live a hectic and busy lifestyle, it might, in fact, be true! Learning a whole new language can take a lot of time, and how will you find and devote that time if you're juggling so much? You'll do it the same way everyone else does – by optimizing your life and making time to achieve your language learning goals.

Create a Functional Schedule



Many people with hectic lifestyles don’t adhere to strict schedules. It can be hard when things seem to be constantly moving – most of the time, it feels easier to go with the flow. Record everything you do for a week. Use that as a template to create a functional schedule. Pick one or two days a week where language learning can be realistically inserted into your schedule. It might come at the expense of eliminating something less productive.


Depending on what your schedule looks like, you might not be able to devote yourself to language learning on the same days of every week. For example, if you take martial arts classes or have a gardening club that meets every other Thursday, it might help to schedule language learning alternating between Tuesdays and Thursdays. What matters most is that you put in the same amount of time – not necessarily that you do it on the same day every week.

Automate Where You Can


Taking some things out of your schedule will undoubtedly free up some time. If you can automate making dinner every night by meal prepping at the beginning of the week, it’s easy to find an extra half an hour every day. Creating a chore chart or list of responsibilities for everyone in your household will keep you from doing more than your fair share, freeing up some additional time.

Some busy people prefer to order their groceries online and have them delivered. It's easy to get lost in the grocery store for an hour, and that hour is time you could be spending learning a language. If you can afford to have your food delivered to you, even if it is only once or twice a week, it will free up a lot of your time you can spend mastering the language of your choosing.

Scale Back on Bad Habits 


Perhaps you're making your life seem much more hectic than it is. Consider how you may be misappropriating your time, and be honest.

Do you tend to aimlessly scroll through social media? Or maybe you still keep watching the season 11 of that one show which lost its edge and luster a long time ago, only because you feel like you are forced to?

It may be a fun way to waste some time, but wasted time is ultimately still wasted.

Do you get sucked into binge-watching numerous shows – especially ones your friends are begging you to watch? Do you spend tens of hours a week playing video games, just because you feel there is nothing better to do?

Step away from Netflix. Disconnect your gaming system. Such things might be fun for a moment, but they are wasted hours and, in retrospect, you will wish you had given them up in favor of learning and achieving excellence. 

There's nothing wrong with decompressing or finding comfort in something familiar and fun, but saving those habits as a reward for completing a language learning session will keep you on track with your goals.

Use Your Downtime Wisely 


Consider where your downtime is. For many people, their commute is a large source of downtime. If you don’t language learning apps while you get from point A to point B.
drive while you commute, you can use

If you drive, you can listen to language learning lessons or podcasts instead of the radio. You can do the same thing in waiting rooms or when you arrive somewhere early.

Sneaking in ten minutes here or there over the day can cumulatively become an hour of language learning before you go to sleep at night. Just make sure you're paying attention during your brief learning bursts – run through the material in your head when you can and remind yourself throughout the day to help the knowledge sink in.

Learn at Your Own Pace 


You don't necessarily need to enroll in classes or meet with a language tutor if your schedule doesn't allow for it. Many programs allow people to learn at their own pace, including software and smartphone apps. Online courses and eLearning programs typically have deadlines. You can complete the assignments or lessons whenever you have a moment, as long as they're done before that deadline. Putting some flexibility in your language learning can help you work it in whenever you can – whether it's 6 AM or 11 PM.

If you want to learn a new language, all you need is commitment and dedication. You may not have the time to go the traditional route, but you don’t need to. If you’re eager enough, you’ll achieve your goals.

Sienna Walker is an experienced tutor, an avid traveller from Australia, and a languages lover. She also has an unquenchable love for writing and might often be found online, sharing her tips for career improvement and learning. Feel free to visit her Twitter and say "hi".


Monday, May 13, 2019

Surprising Literal Translations of American Cities by Alexandra North

Ever wondered how a city got its name?

It may be more surprising than you thought.

In many countries with long histories of one language, such as Italy or China, the city names are well understood by most inhabitants.

But what about countries like the U.S., a melting pot of languages and culture?

What you get is a beautiful, messy assortment of city names in many different languages, and most of the population speaks two languages at most.

For example, even though I grew up in Texas, I don’t speak Spanish, so I couldn’t even tell you many city names throughout the state even mean.

I’m fascinated by the impact that language has on a region - both on the psyche of its inhabitants and how it manifests its influence physically.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, from Anthony Burgess: “Translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making intelligible a whole culture.”

This infographic from Reservations.com highlights some of the most surprising literal translations of city names throughout the United States.

Here are a few of my favorite translations from the article...

1. Palo Alto, CA - Translates to “Tall Stick”


This highlights the Spanish influence on early California history. Many, many cities throughout the state are in Spanish, and yet a sizable portion of the population couldn’t translate the city name on the spot.

Furthermore, what’s interesting about this one is the place Palo Alto has held in Silicon Valley as the seat of the headquarters of many tech companies. It’s also interesting to think of the world of difference there is in the culture between the modern tech world and the historical impact of the California missions on the region. Cultures mix and collide, and create fascinating results.

2. Des Moines, IA - Translates to “Of the Monks”


What I love about the translation of Des Moines, IA is two things: the fact that it’s French in origin, and that it’s exact translation is up for debate.

There’s a strong French influence in certain pockets of the U.S., but overall there’s a limited number of cities and regions in the French language. Compared to Canada, it’s a small percentage of the U.S. Des Moines, is one of those anomalies.

The region was originally settled in part by Trappist monks (Moines de la Trappe) who established a monastery at the mouth of the Des Moines River. These French-speaking monks had an influence on the region that we still have today, although we normally don’t think of Iowa as a hot-spot of international cultures.

The other part I love is that the origin of the city name is up for debate, another hallmark of some of the challenges of translation. The Native American Algonquian name for the river was Moingona, which may have had an influence on the final city name. We can agree that language is beautiful.

3. Hilo, HI - Translates to “To Twist”


While the Hawaiian language is a mystery to your average U.S. (or world) citizen, it makes up part of the rich tapestry of American heritage and influence.

The translation of Hilo is “to twist”, which may refer either the twisting of humans (seen above) or twisting in the sense of “braiding” or “threading”. Either way, it’s one of our favorite translations.

Hawaiians are very proud of their language, and extensive information has been recorded about Hawaiian place names and their literal translation. The Hawaiian Electronic Library is a fascinating online database with more names than you can memorize. Definitely worth perusing before your next Hawaiian vacation!

Alexandra North is a Translation Studies Masters candidate at Heidelberg University. She loves the intersection of language and societal trends, and works on community outreach with Reservations.com