Are monolingual English speakers just lazy when it comes to languages?
People from the UK often get a lot of flak for only speaking one language. This could be attributed to the simple fact we have the luck of speaking what is widely considered to be a universal language. English is usually spoken wherever we go, by so many different nationalities, that we have a good reason to not have the same drive to become bilingual as speakers of other languages. Without that pressing need to motivate us, many people never learn a second language. Hence monolingual English speakers are often labelled ‘lazy’.
Learning languages at school
Most British kids are taught a second language at secondary school, although learning French at school wasn’t very successful for me. Although childhood is considered the best time to learn a language, without an outlet for direct use it’s no wonder it’s difficult to retain. School French classes didn’t get me very far on my many business trips to Paris later in life. Did I wish I’d paid more attention in school? Absolutely! Was I motivated to learn as an adult? Maybe…
Learning a second language later in life
Although those business meetings showed me the value of learning a second language, it wasn’t necessarily a priority. As previously mentioned, finding an English speaker in most situations isn’t too difficult and I’m ashamed to say that language learning was pushed to the bottom of my list of work and personal goals.
For those who are more disciplined than me, however, there are many modern methods to assist language acquisition. From language apps to private teachers, the facilities are there for the taking. And if your linguistic skills aren’t up to snuff? That’s where the professionals come in.
What are monolingual English speakers to do?
Thank goodness for professional translation companies. When it comes to the important things such as translating your business contracts, press releases, or digital content, using Google Translate or cashing in favours with bilingual buddies just won’t cut it.
Due to globalisation, there is an ever-increasing demand for overseas communication on a B2B level, and for businesses to communicate professionally when dealing directly with foreign clients. With this type of interaction becoming commonplace, the requirement for translation has increased rapidly. In lieu of their own language skills, monolingual English speakers can hire experts.
Using a professional translation service
Luckily for the monolingual entrepreneurs and business owners of today, there are well qualified and professional translation agencies available that specialise in a wide range of different fields.
Contracting these services can prevent the loss of independent clients by something as simple as having a website available in multiple languages. They can also translate business documents and contracts for foreign clients, providing new opportunities and opening up business avenues that otherwise would not exist. Put simply, hiring skilled translators requires zero linguistic knowledge from you and can lead to big profits.
Don’t dismiss the idea of learning another language
Knowing that our fellow Europeans are likely to speak English, in the business world or otherwise, should not excuse us from trying to learn other languages. As much as a translation agency can help, there’s nothing quite like being able to connect with another person directly, be it in a business or social setting. So whatever your age, it’s never too late to start learning another language!
In the meantime, BeTranslated’s experienced native translators are here to give you support in your translation needs. For more information or a free, no-obligation quote, get in touch today.
Just like literature, cinema is a great way to set off on a journey of discovery into other cultures, languages and ways of life. This interest in capturing other perspectives through the camera lens has produced many classic and modern films dealing with the subject of translation, either as a subject matter in itself or as a backdrop for some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Check out our top ten!
1. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
An outstanding work of science fiction by the director of Blade Runner 2049 Denis Villeneuve, starring the hugely talented Amy Adams as a translator given the task of communicating with some rather chatty aliens. The film delves into the process of translating an unfamiliar language and the potential effects of language barriers. Can she save the world with her translations?
2. Charade (Stanley Donen, 1963)
In what will always be one of Stanley Donen’s best films, Audrey Hepburn plays the role of a conference interpreter who sets off on a riveting adventure alongside Cary Grant, in arguably one the sexiest couples of the last 100 years (we are, of course, open to differences in opinion)! We wonder how many interpreting and translation careers were launched by this film?
3. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2005)
Of course, we can’t talk about translation in film without mentioning this cult classic. Directed by the fantastic Sofia Coppola, the film takes place in Japan, where two Americans on holiday – Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson – discover the delights of cultural misunderstandings and the difficulties of finding yourself far away from home, even when just for a few days. We particularly enjoy the scene with a Japanese translator and a very confused Bill Murray!
4. The Terminal (Steven Spielberg, 2004)
What’s the first thing you might need when detained in an airport? A good translator, of course (just ask Tom Hanks)! This film by Steven Spielberg tells the true story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian political refugee who had to live in an airport from 1988 to 2006.
5. The Interpreter (Sydney Pollack, 2005)
In this political thriller, Nicole Kidman plays the role of a conference interpreter who accidentally overhears a conversation between two politicians which could put her life in danger. This film is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat with its action-filled plot, and hearing the incredible Nicole Kidman speaking French at the start of the film is a charming moment. This film is guaranteed to please all Kidman and translation fans!
6. Spanglish (James Brooks, 2005)
This down to earth comedy is a real must-see. The title says it all: the film deals with the meeting of two cultures – American and Spanish – and all the cultural and linguistic misunderstandings that come with it. Everything would have been much simpler with a professional Spanish translator! Claro, hombre.
7. Okja (Bong Joon-ho, 2017)
Not necessarily a film about translation, but a very interesting exploration of friendship and modern industry by Netflix. In this case it is the translation of the film itself which is interesting. As we saw with the recent film, Roma, the film’s subtitles were the subject of much debate. Dealing with the linguistic differences between English and Korean is no mean feat, and at times things can get lost in translation in the subtitles. For example, in an attempt to translate a Korean joke about language learning, a character simply says their name and the subtitles say “Try learning English. It opens new doors!”
8. An Impossible Love (Catherine Corsini, 2018)
Once described by a member of BeTranslated who will remain anonymous as “to be avoided like the plague” we’ve included this film to hear your reviews! This romance by Catherine Corsini, based on the novel by Christine Angot, tells the emotional tale of the wonderful Virgine Efira and an abusive and sadistic translator played by Niels Schneider. Don’t worry, our language professionals are nothing like this unsavoury character and will respond to your demands in a much more civilised manner.
9. Welcome to the Sticks (Bienvenue chez les ch’tis, Danny Boon, 2008)
Perhaps not the subtlest film of all time, but certainly one with a lot of character. This hit French comedy includes some hilarious scenes of cultural and regional differences and lots of slapstick humour. Not to mention the admirable subtitling effort into English!
10. Chuck Norris vs Communism (Ilinca Călugăreanu, 2015)
This comedy documentary is a fascinating insight into the world of audiovisual translation and looks at just what happens when issues of censorship and politics come into play. The film tells the story of the illegal importation and dubbing of American action and religious films to Romania in the 1970s and 1980s, and the political consequences of this cultural exchange.
What do you think? Is there one we missed out? We would love to hear about your favourite translation and interpreting films! Or, alternatively, if you’re looking for the Nicole Kidmans and Amy Adams of translation services, contact us for a free quote or to find out more about our services!
Thinking of studying translation in the United Kingdom or Ireland? Looking at potential translation degrees to study abroad in an English-speaking country? With beautiful campuses, vibrant student life and a reputation for academic excellence, studying your degree in the UK, Northern Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland is always a good choice!
If you are looking to work in the field of translation or interpreting, it is crucial to lay down a solid foundation before trying to find work. Many universities in the UK and Ireland specialise in language courses as well as offering translation and interpreting degrees.
Consider the types of translation degrees available
There are many different options available to you. Some choose to study an undergraduate degree in one or two foreign languages (some universities even allow you to choose three) and then follow up their undergraduate three or four-year Bachelor or four-year MA Hons with a Masters in translation or interpretation. Some, however, prefer to stick to a specialised undergraduate degree in the field of their choice. The latter may only be possible for those who can prove their language proficiency before embarking on the course.
We have put together a definitive list of the English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and Northern Irish universities that offer translation degrees and training courses. Keep in mind that we have only included degrees focusing uniquely on translation – all these institutions and many more also offer BSc or MA Hons language degrees.
Undergraduate translation degrees
Unfortunately, we didn’t find any undergraduate translation degrees in Northern Ireland. Still determined to study in this beautiful part of the world? Why not start your academic career with an undergraduate language degree? Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University in Coleraine both offer great course programs for prospective language students.
Republic of Ireland
Postgraduate translation degrees
Republic of Ireland
As you can see, there’s no shortage of options for future students looking to further their studies in translation and interpreting. Languages are becoming an increasingly popular career choice in the UK and Ireland, with students not only going into translation and interpreting but also language teaching, international journalism, media, and academia. Still not convinced? Many of our professional translators here at BeTranslated studied at one of these institutions and are now providing quality translation services under our name.
What do you make of our list? Have we missed any important universities? We want to hear from you! If you’re thinking of studying in another country, check out our full list of university translation courses worldwide.
Idioms are expressions or phrases with figurative, non-literal meanings, that can easily confuse language learners. They are often unique to a country or region and, as such, offer a glimpse into local cultures and ways of thinking. Learning English idioms can be great fun and very useful.
Familiarising yourself with idioms truly deepens your knowledge of colloquial, everyday language, which will give you a great advantage if you are thinking about travelling, working, or settling in that country. If you’re heading to the UK and want to impress the locals with your English abilities, brush up on your idioms sharpish!
Turn yourself into an advanced level English speaker
If you’ve been learning English for a while and have reached a level where you can hold your own in everyday situations, it’s time to take it to the next level. Having knowledge of some of the most common idioms will help you communicate better, and give you a deeper understanding of songs, TV shows, and books in English. Not to mention using them will impress any native you meet and chat with!
As idioms are often regional, native English speakers who are not from Britain could also do with studying British idioms if they plan to visit the UK. Knowing these phrases demonstrates deeper cultural awareness and will aid in social integration, earning respect for your language skills from the Brits in no time.
A good place to start
We’ve come up with a list of 11 frequently used British idioms for you to peruse and add to your vocabulary. Once you’ve learned the real meaning of these idioms and how to use them correctly, you’ll sound like you’ve lived in the UK for years.
- You don’t know your arse from your elbow – we are not referring to someone who has a poor understanding of biology, but instead someone who has made a mistake or keeps getting things wrong. Be careful with this one, it’s best used in very informal settings!
- Working your socks off – this has nothing to do with removing anyone’s socks and actually refers to a person who is working extra hard.
- It’s a piece of cake – if the English were actually referring to cake with this one, we’d need more bakers! When used, this means that something is really easy.
- I’m over the moon – an unlikely place to be, unless we are referring to being really happy, a much more frequent occurrence.
- The ball’s in your court – not only used when playing sport as you may have guessed, it actually means that the decision or power lies with you. It’s your choice.
- You’re barking up the wrong tree – no dogs involved when using this term, or trees for that matter! It simply means that the person in question has misunderstood, or got the wrong idea.
- Biting off more than you can chew – this phrase is not about some hungry person stuffing their face with food. Instead, it refers to someone who has taken on more than they can manage.
- It costs an arm and a leg – don’t worry, no limbs have been used as a form of payment! This is a way to express that something was very expensive.
- At the drop of a hat – no reference to headgear here; this just means that something is done instantly.
- You’ve missed the boat – this doesn’t mean you’re late for your travel plans or missed your holiday, it’s an expression of being too late to make the most of something or having missed an opportunity.
- Don’t count your chickens before they hatch – you don’t have to be a farmer to use this one! This expresses the need to wait for an outcome before assuming a result.
The importance of learning English idioms for language professionals
If you’re a language teacher, interpreter, translator, or content writer working in a foreign language or between a foreign language and your own, knowledge of idiomatic terms is crucial. Idioms and proverbs are an ideal way to directly connect with a native speaker, crossing linguistic and cultural barriers and demonstrating mastery of their language.
This is why at BeTranslated we ensure that all our professional translators are certified native speakers, guaranteeing cultural sensitivity in our translations, both in understanding the source text and writing the final translation.
Now you’re well on your way to communicating like a true English speaker!
Now that you’ve started learning some British idioms, you’ve taken a huge step towards sounding like a true native. Remember there are hundreds of more idioms out there! Why not challenge yourself to learn one a day for the next two weeks?
Are you working on your English in order to improve relations with British clients? Are you in need of a reliable translation service to work on your business documents, marketing material, or web content in a professional and authentic way? Contact BeTranslated today for more information or a free, no-obligation quote.
Have you been thinking about raising bilingual children? Extensive research has proven that the benefits of bilingualism are numerous and that equipping your child with the ability to speak more than one language will serve them well in life.
It’s worth noting that the younger the child is the better, not only for the ease and speed of picking up the language but also because it allows them to truly master the accent. However, it is never too late to start.
How does being bilingual benefit the brain?
The ways in which being able to speak more than one language can benefit a person range from social advantages to cognitive improvements. If your native language is a widely spoken and influential language like English, you may think that learning a second language isn’t important for your children but the cognitive benefits alone make the effort involved more than worth it. Let’s take a look at some of the ways bilingualism helps our brains:
- It improves memory
- It increases our ability to problem solve and deal with ambiguities
- It helps us to develop skills related to conflict resolution
- It promotes better decision-making skills
- It leads to longer attention spans and better focus
- It develops multitasking skills
- It helps with maths and puzzle-solving
The professional and social advantages
In addition to the cognitive benefits listed above, raising your children to be bilingual gives them skills that will help them in many areas of their future lives. From encouraging them to be more open-minded individuals to making them more employable, there really is no end to the advantages speaking multiple languages can bring. Here are just a few examples of what bilingualism offers:
- A wider variety of job prospects, with a significant increase in earning power
- An increased sense of self-worth
- The ability to live in other countries with ease
- An open-minded nature that is accepting and understanding of different cultures
- The ability to learn other languages later on in life with less effort
- The chance to experience art and literature in the original language
Tips for bringing up bilingual children
As more people become knowledgeable about the perks of being bilingual, more resources are made available. From books to blogs, there is no shortage of information out there. We’ve compiled a brief list of some ideas that will help you in your journey to raising bilingual children:
- You and your partner may have the same native language but you can still teach your children your second language, even if you don’t speak it perfectly.
- Provide your children with multiple ways to access the second language, whether it’s TV shows, picture books, videogames, or audiobooks. Every little helps.
- Try not to compare your child’s verbal skills with monolingual children; all children develop at different rates but it is quite common for bilingual kids to start talking slightly later than their monolingual peers.
- Research different methods for bringing up multilingual children, such as One Person One Language, Mixed Language Policy, or Minority Language at Home, and be realistic about what will work for your family.
- Find out if there are any local facilities in your area such as playgroups, storytime events, or social clubs that focus on the relevant languages.
- If it’s a financial possibility for your family, inspire your kids with trips abroad where they can try out their linguistic skills ‘in the real world’.
It’s never too late to start
Although easier as a child, it’s never too late to learn a new language, and the motivation you feel as an adult will aid you in picking up a new language. From the traditional classroom and online classes to language acquisition apps and opportunities to work abroad, there are so many ways for you to embrace a new language and culture. It’s not just for kids.
One of the many job opportunities for multilingual speakers is, of course, translation, and our talented native translators are all experts in their additional languages and highly qualified in the field of translation. If you are looking for a reliable translation service provider, look no further than BeTranslated. Contact us today for more information or a free, no-obligation quote.
What training courses are there in Belgium for future translators? As you can imagine, this is not a profession that can be blagged – it requires solid foundations. In Belgium, translation schools are flourishing all over the country, training hundreds of professional translators every year.
In recent years, translation training in Belgium has become an academic subject taught in universities over five years (a bachelor’s degree in three years and a master’s in two). This is due to the Marcourt decree, which stipulates that all master’s courses in translation and interpreting should be university degrees. We have drawn up a list of the main Belgian universities teaching translation.
Translation schools in Brussels
The Institut Libre Marie Haps trains its future translators and interpreters in the heart of the European quarter. This institution’s reputation for excellence makes it a great choice for students wanting to enter the profession. The bachelor’s degree in translation and interpreting has recently been taken over by the Université Saint-Louis, though teaching still takes place at the Marie Haps building. The master’s, meanwhile, is offered at the Louvain-la-Neuve site at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL).
ISTI, part of the ULB (Université libre de Bruxelles) since 2015, offers a complete translation and interpreting curriculum in no fewer than 19 languages. As well as European languages, students can choose more exotic tongues such as Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian.
Vertaalkunde – Erasmushogeschool Brussel (EhB)
This Flemish university, affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), also offers a course for Dutch-speaking students wanting to specialise in translation.
Translation schools in Flanders
Students can also opt for this prestigious university. The reputation of the University of Ghent is well-established, and it is considered the best university in Belgium by the Shanghai Ranking.
The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven is another pillar of the Belgian university system. This Dutch-speaking Belgian university is one of the biggest in the country.
Translation schools in Wallonia
The Université de Liège offers a course awarded jointly with the Haute École de Liège. During the bachelor’s course in the first three years, students take classes at both institutions (ULg and HEL), before focusing on either translation or interpreting during their master’s at ULg in the Place du XX Août.
The Mons EII enjoys an excellent reputation in the worlds of translation and interpreting. Students graduating from this school have a solid qualification with which to launch into their working lives. An unusual feature of this university is that students are offered an introduction to a third foreign language, including Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hungarian, Swedish, or Norwegian.
The Université catholique de Louvain should not be confused with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. The two institutions are entirely separate. Unlike KUL (listed above), UCL is in Wallonia and offers teaching in French. UCL has organised two new master’s courses in translation and interpreting since 2015. The bachelor’s takes place in Brussels at the Marie Haps building (ULB). Starting with the 2017-2018 course, the master’s will also cover Belgian French sign language.
As you can see, would-be translators and interpreters have no shortage of choice. Belgium has evolved in parallel with the translation market, encouraging more and more young language enthusiasts to pursue this career. Every year, many professional translators graduate from these universities and set off in conquest of the translation market in Belgium and abroad.
What do you think of these universities? Do you know of any others that should be added to our list? We are interested in your opinion! You can also take a look at our full list of university translation courses worldwide.
If you’re looking for talented translators such as those who have attended these institutions, look no further than BeTranslated, an experienced translation agency with reliable linguists. Get in touch today for more information or a free, no-obligation quote.