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 

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 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

Monday, April 22, 2019

5 Good Habits for Successful Language Learners by Jack White

In this world, there are two types of people: those who learn languages fast and effortlessly and those who struggle when it comes to learning languages.

Those who learn quickly are confident in themselves and know that they can learn any language they want without too many difficulties. This may lead to others thinking they're incredibly gifted but they're just like us; flesh and blood. 

It doesn't have anything to do with their physical abilities so what makes one person learn languages quickly and effortlessly while another struggle? What is the separating factor?  

It's the person's attitude. Our attitude changes the way we perceive things and deal with them. For example, students who have a negative attitude towards a certain subject tend to fail terribly in it no matter how hard they study. On the other hand, a student with a positive attitude towards a subject has a high likelihood of excelling in the subject. 

That’s why some people excel in a particular field and others struggle. The problem is that they may never understand why they are failing and may end up coming up with plenty of different excuses.

When you change your attitude, the world around you changes. This doesn't mean that those who learn languages effortlessly don't go through the problems you experience when they're learning languages. However, rather than complaining about or criticizing themselves, they look for solutions.

Individuals who seem to learn languages effortlessly have a set of habits that can make them look super-human when it comes to languages. You can be super-human too. Let's have a look at the habits that will make you a confident language learner.

1. Revise before learning

As human beings, we tend to forget what we don't review. Forgetting means you've wasted a lot of time and energy.

That's why it's always important that you review what you learnt in your earlier study sessions. Go through your notes and flashcards before moving on to a new study session.

If you start a study session without reviewing the previous, you'll complete your course sooner but you won't remember as much of it. Technically, you'll be falling behind each day. Even if you're tired, make sure to revise before moving onto something new. It's better to consolidate what you've already learnt than to move on.

2. Study and improve yourself a little bit every day

Learning a new language takes time. Successful learners know that it's the small improvements that add up to huge results. As the popular saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day". Everything worthwhile takes time. 

It's better to learn and remember how to pronounce five new words each day than to learn fifty words and forget all of them by the following week. Learning a lot of new things is great but if you overdo it you could burn out.

Never mistake progress for improvement. As we said earlier, you might be flying through your course but not actually remembering anything. If you push yourself too hard, you may end up giving up.

A five or ten-minute study every day can be more efficient than a two-hour study session once a week.

3. Have clear goals and use the new language for something you enjoy

Let's face it. Learning a new language can be frustrating. You need to be motived to learn a new language otherwise you'll just give up. According to Australian Essays writing service, using your new language during your free time can increase your motivation to learn the language.

Use the language whenever you can: while on holiday, horse riding, hiking, playing with your dog, etc. If you do this a little each day, your brain will associate speaking that language with pleasure and you'll find it more enjoyable.

4. Don't look for shortcuts

For something difficult like learning a new language, a shortcut might seem more appealing. Effective learners don't look for an easy way out. They know it's a waste of time, energy and money. They make a wise decision by choosing an effective method and sticking with it to the very end. 

They don't have a load of books or apps that they've never used. People don't realise how much time they waste looking for new learning techniques when they could have spent this time learning the language. Choose a method that works for you and stick with it.

5. Use your new language

Successful language learners concentrate on both comprehension and language production. For every word they read or listen to, they make an effort to pronounce aloud. 

Studying heaps of words won't help you learn your language. You'll quickly realise this the second you enter into a conversation in your new language. If you want to learn faster and be fluent in the language, dedicate time to practising what you learn through expression. Speak to friends, write about it a blog or social media page, etc.

Have you seen how a small child learns a new language? Through listening and repeating words. The child might pronounce words wrongly a few times but as the days pass, they get better at it. 

Don't be afraid of getting it wrong. After all, that's how you are going to learn and become fluent. Get out of your comfort zone! Expressing yourself using the language will improve your memory and enrich your vocabulary.

If you can form some of these habits, your lessons will be fun and engaging. You'll read and speak the new language effortlessly and become very fluent. So, what are you waiting for? Start using these tips today. Remember, don't wait around for the perfect time to start. Start today!

Jack White is optimistic that he will carry his past success into the future. He managed to work his way up from the bottom and today he is an excellent writer who also works at EssaysScholarAdvisor in the PR department.

Monday, March 11, 2019

5 Ways Professional Translations Can Help in Business Growth by Vanessa Anderson

Rapid expansion and access to foreign markets is the aim of many businesses. In the competitive environment of the business world, if you want to make your mark and leave a lasting impact on the target markets, you have to provide them with a customized experience. For targeting foreign markets, the first thing required is a translation of your online profile into their mother tongue.

Language barriers are one of the biggest hurdles that impact your traffic and rate of conversion. If you want to cater to a diverse audience, you must make sure that these are communicated in a language that they completely understand.

Your company website basically serves as your online office. It's a place where potential clients can get to know more about your products and services. How it appears and what content is available also reflects your professional efficiency. It's critical that your content is available in the local language of the target market.

For a quality translation of your website and other content, it's important that you hire a reliable, qualified, and experienced translation partner. Their service can add value to your business by tailoring your content so that it's suitable for the audience.

No matter what you do, if you're after global success, you are advised to take translation services for creative translation of your brand profile. It will add to your credibility and improve online visibility as well.

If you are still having second thoughts regarding the importance of business translation, we've got you covered. Here are 5 major ways through which translations can help in your business growth.

Easy Access to Global Markets

You must be aware of the fact that the world does not only revolve around English-speaking people. For catering to other lucrative markets all around the world, it's vital that you get your business website translated into their language. Expanding your business into new markets is not easy. However, if you present content in their own language, you can become successful in less time. Simply put, making your website multilingual will make it easier to access multiple foreign markets. Therefore, you must hire professional translation partners for transforming your content into their native tongue.

Effective Localization

Another major perk of taking translation services for your business is that you will get culturally tailored content which will help in enticing the foreign target audience. Professional translations customize the content to cater to local sensitivities and integrate said cultural sensitivities. In short, the professional translation services transcreate your content to make it resonate with the foreign audience so that it can leave a positive impact on them and improve your credibility. The more localized experience you provide them, the more your rate of conversion increases.

Fruitful Marketing Resource

Your translated website can add to your marketing efforts and help your business to grow. In addition to the translation of your websites and other online material, the translation of marketing content is also important. Targeting the foreign audience with customized content will deliver enhanced impact. This is where translation services can be valuable.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

Along with several other tips of attracting new target markets, the most effective one is providing them with a comfortable and pleasant experience. When a non-English speaking audience visits your website and finds the content tailored in their own language as per their regional and cultural preferences, it makes them feel valued. Related content can provide potential and regular customers with an enhanced experience. Thus, translation services can aid in improving your customer engagement that can add to your business growth in the long run.


One of the most beneficial aspects of translating your company website is enhanced online visibility. By taking the assistance of expert translators, you can boost your SEO and get higher rankings on multiple search engines. Multilingual SEO can help your website to get improved ranking on different search engines including Google, Yandex, Baidu, and others. Thus, if you want to be a big name all across the globe, translations from a reputable company can help you achieve this.

Hiring a credible translation agency can add to your business growth. In fact, it is essential for attracting foreign markets. A meticulously translated content can add to your credibility, help in marketing and improve online appearance. If you aspire to go global, you must consider taking translation services.

Vanessa Anderson is an enthusiastic creative writer. In addition to writing for multiple foreign corporations, she enjoys writing poems on current social issues.

Monday, February 4, 2019

5 Major Challenges of Becoming a Freelance Translator by Kristin Savage

Starting a career can be a rocky road for people in most professions. You're entering a completely new chapter of your life and you have no idea where to start or what to expect. Suddenly, you're no longer in school and the fight for your place in the market is beginning.

The same is true for freelance translators. Even though you initially may feel that your knowledge of the languages and internet access is everything you need, there's more to it than that. The truth is, there are some major challenges ahead and you won't be able to avoid them all. However, you can overcome these challenges if you put in some serious effort and arm yourself with patience and persistence.

Here are 5 major challenges every new freelance translator needs to face at the beginning of their career.

1. Finding Clients

First things first, you need to decide where and how you’re going to find clients. You may think that all you need to do is set up a social media account and wait for the offers to come rolling in. However, that’s not how things work.

Setting up a business page on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., is a good start, but it won't take you very far. The truth is, you need to start networking.

Start by creating a profile on freelancing websites and start hunting for gigs. Be persistent and send as many proposals as possible since the first job is always the hardest to get.

Apart from freelancing platforms, get in touch with translation agencies looking for remote translators. Regardless of the job openings they have, reach out to them and let them know that you're available for projects.

The bottom line is, if you want to succeed as a freelancer, you need to be applying for jobs, sending emails, calling and asking questions tirelessly. It's the only way for you to seal that first deal.

2. Setting a Price

Another challenge that many freelance translators face is setting a price. You need to set the rate which suits both you and your client.

But how can you know what’s the right price?

Rule number one: do not underestimate yourself. Just because you’re new doesn’t mean you should be charging less than everyone else.

Rule number two: do not overestimate yourself. You know you’re good, but the market still doesn’t. Don’t go crazy with your initial rate.

The best recipe for setting the perfect rate is research. Sniff around and learn about your competitors. Find out how good they are, how many clients and working experience they have.

Once you have a clear picture of what’s on the market, you’ll be able to set the perfect rate for yourself at your beginning.

Remember, once you get on your feet and seal a couple of deals, you’ll be able to slowly increase your rate.

3. Managing Deadlines

Deadlines are a translator’s worst enemy. Or are they?

Many freelance translators will tell you the worst thing about their job is the impossible deadlines they constantly need to deal with.

Their clients seem to be unreasonable when it comes to setting the deadline. This is why it often happens that a freelancer needs to work all night in order to meet the deadline.

Why does this happen?

The truth is, newer freelancers tend to accept as many projects as possible rather than refusing offers and letting their clients down. This is normal and not at all surprising. However, this strategy may start working against you.

What if you take on too many projects and fail to complete them?

What if you complete them but it turns out to be low quality?
“Instead of embarrassing yourself in front of the clients, it’s better to stay organized and modest.  Take only the projects you’re absolutely certain you can complete in time” says Dina Indelicato, a content contributor at PickWriters.
As time goes by, you’ll be able to make the right judgment call and take the exact amount of work you can complete properly.

4. Standing out from the Competition

Let’s be honest, the competition on the freelancing market is harsh. Especially if you’re only just getting started. There are people with much more experience killing the game and you’re supposed to stand shoulder to shoulder with them.

But, how can you do it?

In order to make the difference between yourself and the competition, there’s a couple of things you need to cover:

  • a killer CV
  • a great cover letter with strong points and a personal note
  • confidence
  • social media as a portfolio

You have nothing to lose so make sure to invest all your efforts into creating the perfect application documentation and a winning attitude.

5. Time Zones and Cultural Differences

When you’re a translator, you’re often collaborating with or working for people from different cultural backgrounds. This means that your viewpoints might be different and you might experience some trouble communicating with them.

The time zones are always a barrier but with a bit of understanding, you can easily establish a regular communication flow with your clients.

Cultural differences are the tricky part. In order to be a good translator, you need to know how to deal with culture-specific references within the text. Don’t be hasty when making translating decisions. 

Keep in mind that the reader of the target text might not be familiar with the source text and the circumstances it was created in.

Starting out as a freelance translator implies that you need to be ready to take things into your own hands and start fighting for your spot. It’s highly important that you’re determined to succeed and you’re aware that it’s not going to be as easy as one might think.

The challenges listed above are something most freelancers have to deal with when starting out. Luckily, you’re now ready to face them and overcome them. Preparation is key, so think about the solutions for each of these challenges and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer. You can find her on Facebook.

Monday, January 21, 2019

7 Effective Ways to Ace a Job Interview in a Foreign Language by Alice Berg

Hello! Hola! Bonjour! Whatever language you speak, making it through an interview in a foreign language is challenging. In addition to general nervousness, you might worry about your job interview speech.

How do I sound? Am I speaking correctly? What if I don’t understand their question or can't find the right word to answer it? 

You have to stay calm. Interviewers will understand that you're a non-native speaker, so they'll be ready for small misunderstandings. However, if you have an interview in a given language, you'll probably be expected to have a decent level in it. That’s why strong speaking and writing skills are required.

Let’s have a look at how to ace an interview in a foreign language.

Practice Makes Perfect

Don't ever think about going to the interview without a small rehearsal. Guess what the questions will be and how you'd answer them.

While no two interviews are the same, most will ask you to say something about yourself. Here are some extremely common interview questions:

  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why did you leave your last job? 
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What is your biggest achievement/challenge in life? 

It's a good idea to take some time and answer those questions. Ask a friend or relative to be your interviewer if you want to make your answers feel more natural. Tell them briefly about yourself, your career goals, experience, expectations, and plans. This simple exercise will help you find the right words and learn them.

“I would advise candidates to prepare short and concise answers to the questions. Be focused, listen to the question carefully and provide the best answer you can. Don’t be afraid to clarify the question if you're not sure you got everything correct. You can always say “Would you like to hear more?" if you feel they're still waiting for a more detailed answer”- Brenda Sommers, an HR manager at Skillroads.

Keep in Mind That Your Interview is Cross-cultural

The more languages you speak, the more cultures you belong to. Find out more about the culture of the countries where your target language is spoken.

Did you know that language shapes the way people think?

For example, both light and dark blue have the same word to identify this color in English – blue. Russian speakers differentiate those two colors and have separate words for both. Research conducted on the brain activity of both Russian and English speakers revealed that English people noticed differences in shades of blue less while Russian speakers were quicker to tell them apart.

The difference in the way people think, communicate, interact with each other is much bigger. Make sure you know basic things about the mentality of your interviewers.

Don’t Be Afraid of Having an Accent

Even though you are not supposed to sound 100% natural, too strong an accent might be a problem. Work on your pronunciation as it's important for general understanding. If you speak well, both you and your listeners understand each other much better

Now let’s use English as an example. English speakers often reduce sounds (“em” would be a reduced form for “them”). Listen to the native speakers, repeat after them; watch movies and cartoons - try to imitate the accents you hear; write down basic pronunciation rules and practice. Keep practicing to improve your accent and pronunciation.

Be Ready to Exchange Common Pleasantries

Many candidates show up at interviews ready to answer any question. However, don't be silent when it comes to general things like expressing gratitude or demonstrating good manners. The first impression is very important; 33% of interviewers know whether they would hire someone in the first 90 seconds!

Make sure you know how to say “bless you” if somebody sneezes or “likewise” when the interviewers wish you a nice day. Prepare several different “difficult phrases” and idioms. In such a way, you’ll sound more impressive. However, make sure you have a clear understanding of the context and meaning of these phrases because if you don't, you'll just look silly. Saying a simple "Thanks for having/inviting me,” “Hope to hear back from you soon,” or “Have a good day” will always improve your chances.

Immerse Yourself in the Language before the Interview

Are you having an interview in Spanish?

Turn on Spanish TV and music, visit a Spanish restaurant in your city, or watch a movie. Talk to yourself aloud and even think in the target language.

If there are speaking clubs in your city, make sure you attend the next time they meet. People who practice the same language might help you out by asking some of the questions that we already mentioned earlier. The relaxed atmosphere in the club will help you calm down and speak with no pressure. Listen to the speeches even on your way to the interview. Choose only those topics that are interesting for you or related to the job.

There’s No Shame in Being Honest

Didn’t understand the question?

Don’t be afraid to say "Sorry, but I didn't get it. Can you repeat that, please?”. Nobody will judge you, laugh or think you’re not fluent. Even people speaking in their native languages have to occasionally ask for things to be repeated. Be yourself and stay positive and relaxed.

Robert Hellmann, the President of Hellmann Career Consulting, says telling a story is a good way to interest the interviewer: “Yes, you need to get other things right in an interview as well: ask the right questions, prep for handling issues with your candidacy, follow-up effectively and so forth. But telling a good story is the most powerful way to stand out from the competition since our brains are wired to remember the imagery, the drama, and the emotion that’s conveyed in a good story”.

Keep Calm!

Don’t let stress eat you up. The last and probably most important way to nail the interview is by being yourself. Languages are a tool to communicates your skills, abilities, and thoughts. The really important thing is not the way you speak, but the way you do your job and grow within the company.

Demonstrate to the recruiter your willingness to learn, your perseverance, and your confidence. Despite the cultural and linguistic differences, they're still recruiters looking for somebody to hire. You just have to make sure that it's you!

Finally, stop worrying about how to prepare for an interview, sit down and do it. Make a job interview checklist and work your way through every task. Good luck!

Alice Berg is a career advisor who helps people find their own way in life and prepare for their future careers. She likes backpacking and spends her free time learning Slavic languages. You can find her on Twitter and Medium

Monday, January 14, 2019

Learning a Lingua Franca or a Niche Language by Sienna Walker

Which Should I Choose?

Learning a language is no small undertaking. Many people find that languages are one of the most difficult things to learn. The process requires a lot of discipline and retraining your brain. If you're going to learn a new language, you want to make sure that your hard work is going to pay off.

Most people who decide to learn a new language either want to learn a lingua franca (a common language that people speak to communicate with one another) or a niche language (a language native to very few countries and not often spoken outside of those countries). Learning either of them opens up new opportunities and deciding which route is the best for you largely depends on how you intend to apply this new language in your life.

Consider Your Passion

Some people learn a language simply because it's on their bucket list. If this sounds like you, it mightn't matter which type of language you choose. As long as you're motivated and have an interest in the language or choose a language that's commonly described as relatively easy to learn, you're setting yourself up for a smooth journey.

If you intend to use a new language to set up a new life in a new country or to properly appreciate the art and culture of a place, learning a niche language might be more helpful. Scholars of Japanese culture might as well master the Japanese language – especially if they intend to go to Japan for an extended period of time.

For a Career

Learning a new language to increase your career prospects is a fantastic idea. If you've ever had a look through online job boards, you've probably seen jobs asking for employees with language skills. When learning a new language for a career, both the lingua franca route and the niche language route are good ideas. It all depends on what you intend to do with your career.

International companies have a strong preference for people who are fluent in a lingua franca because these people can help bridge gaps and forge connections to strengthen relationships with overseas partnerships. People who speak a lingua franca can do more in more parts of the world.

On the other hand, people who speak a niche language are highly valuable when it comes to specific countries and are usually harder to find. If a company wants to open up a manufacturing plant in Hungary, they might need someone who is highly fluent in Hungarian, a language commonly considered to be “difficult”, to get the job done.

For Travelling

Travellers need to know how to communicate with natives in the country they're visiting. It's helpful when purchasing something in a store, ordering a meal at a restaurant, or securing accommodation for the night. It's necessary in case of an emergency. If you need to speak with local authorities or get help, you're going to have a difficult time if you can't find a common language to speak.

In most parts of the world, it's not hard to find someone who speaks English. After all, it's the most common lingua franca. Despite that, you don't want to take for granted that you'll be able to find someone who speaks English when you're in an urgent situation. It helps to keep a translator app on your phone for emergencies – or learn some useful phrases in that particular language.

Research the lingua franca languages used in areas of the world you intend to travel to. If there aren't a lot of English speakers, learn the lingua franca used in a given region. In areas like the middle east, Persian and Hindustani are widely spoken as second languages and native languages. Knowing these languages will make your life easier.

Why Not Learn Both? 

You don’t necessarily need to learn one or the other. There are instances in which knowing both a niche language and a lingua franca will help you cover all your bases. If you travel frequently or work overseas, it’s best to know as much as possible. There are numerous benefits to learning a second, third, or even fourth language. Communication is one of the most invaluable tools that human beings have. Anything you can do to maximize your ability to communicate is a worthwhile pursuit.

Sienna Walker is an experienced tutor, avid traveller, and a languages lover from Australia. She's passionate about self-improvement and is currently learning how to manage her travel finances through Brighter Finance. Whenever not working or planning another trip, Sienna is trying hard to pick up some new languages. She's currently focusing on Spanish and Norwegian. Feel free to reach out to her on Twitter.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Top 10 Ways to Improve your Spoken English at Home by Emma Simmonds

Knowing how to speak English correctly is really rewarding and usually, the learning process is also straightforward too. But then again, not everyone has the time and patience to sit in a language class or do an English course, even if they are driven to improve their English skills.

If you fall into this category, you should know that there are numerous ways you can learn English and improve your language skills from the comfort of your home. The best thing is that you can learn either with or without the help of a partner.

Below are ten great ways you can improve your spoken English at home.

1. Get a Partner

An easy way to learn and improve your spoken English at home is to start a conversation with someone who is fluent in the language. You could invite a friend or neighbour who speaks fluently over to your house. Of course, make sure that they understand your goals and have agreed to help. Otherwise, you are wasting time.

Can't find a partner to speak with you in person?

Not a big deal.

Programs and apps like Skype, Facetime, Facebook and even phone calls will make that possible. These technologies will allow you to speak with anyone from anywhere in the world.
Just make sure that you have a good internet connection so the voice would clearer.

2. Watch Television Shows

The more you listen to people speak a specific language, the better you'll get at it and the more your interest in the language will grow so if you want to develop your spoken English at home, start watching television shows recorded in the English language. You should start with cartoons as they're usually aimed at younger viewers and use simple grammar that's easy to grasp.

3. Find Friends with Similar Goals

Learning is simpler when you have a partner with the same interests. Both of you can motivate one another, swap lesson notes and set goals together. Also, during conversations, make sure that you speak only in the English language. You'll soon make a lot of progress.

4. Think and Speak in English

Whether you are at home, work, or a gettogether, always think about the new things you've learned and speak to yourself from time to time. In other words, think aloud in English.
Don't wait for someone to correct your mistakes. Just by practicing like this, you'll gain more confidence and be more comfortable speaking the English language.

5. Listen to Songs and Sing Along

Another effective way to improve your spoken English at home is through songs. You have to listen to them and sing along. While learning the lyrics may take some time, it'll worth the wait.
You can also learn with rap songs. Rappers use fast speed and stronger rhythm that will help you improve your fluency.

6. Write it Down

Take the time to write down the new words, sentences, and phrases you come across. This will help you improve faster. You can also try using them in sentences throughout the week. The idea is to continue using your new vocabulary until you get used to them.

7. Play Word Games

There are many word-related games you can play with other friends who want to learn English that are challenging and entertaining. Examples include games such as Boggle, Mad Grab and Scrabble. You will learn new words as you play and constantly be looking up new words in the dictionary.

8. Practice Tongue Twisters

Tongue twisters are words and phrases that even fluent English speakers sometimes find difficult to say quickly. An example is: "The sun shall soon shine." Try saying this quickly over and over.
Others could be longer though.

While you need to work on your grammar and fluency if you want to improve your spoken English, tongue twisters can improve your fluency and pronunciation. You can practice these regularly.

9. Don't Beat Yourself Up

Learning is a gradual process that also requires a lot of patience. It's good that you're eager to improve but you need also to take things slowly when you're a beginner.

Try not to get frustrated about your mistakes or how terrible you sound as you're still learning.
If you get confused at any point, try to relax and then think about how to make things clearer. You should also reduce your speed maybe that could help.

10. Read, Read, and Read Some More!

Read anything you come across that is written in the English language. Visit websites and read articles, journals, and books written in the English language. You should also consider reading aloud so that you can hear yourself.

It's not difficult to learn and improve one's spoken English. You only need to show commitment and be consistent in whatever learning process you are using to develop your skills. However, these ten different tips should help you improve your spoken English more quickly. You can use all of them simultaneously. Just don't forget to monitor your progress and focus on the one that is most effective.

Emma Simmonds is a passionate writer with an interest in custom writing. She loves to share tips and easy ways people can do things and achieve great results.