Are you intelligent enough to be a translator? A better question might be, how are you intelligent? If you subscribe to the current wisdom of the nine types of intelligence, you know that everyone is proficient in at least two types of intelligence. So how smart you are is less important that how you are intelligent.
What Are These Nine Intelligences?
These nine types of intelligence are musical intelligence, visual intelligence, logical intelligence, verbal intelligence, bodily and existential intelligence, social/ interpersonal intelligence, naturalistic intelligence, Intrapersonal introspection and critical reception.
The idea is relatively complex but if explained to persons in their mother tongue, it can be fairly easily understood, unless you are explaining this idea to Chinese people. Then it can easily become convoluted and unintelligible due to the language barrier.
Application of This Theory
A model school in Indianapolis, Indiana, aligns its teaching with this theory and has had unmatched success with it. The school tests all prospective students in all nine categories to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
If a student shows that he is strong in four of the intelligences but weak in the other five, the student is placed in a class which will challenge him to the nth degree in his four strong areas. With the remaining five, he is challenged only to the degree that moves him forward, albeit very slowly. As the semester progresses, the student is challenged at a progressively higher level in the weak areas.
In the four areas in which he already excels, his advancement may be 20 percent, but in the weak areas he usually shows advancement by as much as, 65-70 percent, an astounding improvement!
At first, progress is almost unnoticeable to the student. But soon, he begins meeting challenges at the same level as in his other studies. By the end of the course, he is able to meet challenges across the board, though on a different level from his classmates.
One area in the human brain is strictly dedicated to problem solving. When a person exercises that area by overcoming initial challenges, that part of the brain actually gets bigger and becomes more efficient.
To learn a new language, a degree of verbal intelligence is required. People with a high verbal-linguistic intelligence are good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words. Having this intelligence makes it easier for them to learn languages other than their own.
Interpreters and certified translators cannot manifest a facility with words which an average person usually cannot. For this reason, many bilinguals cannot become translators. A person with an average verbal intelligence can learn another language but cannot master it beyond a certain level. To translate a text in its true letter and spirit, a high level of verbal intelligence is required. For that skill a high verbal/linguistic intelligence is a prerequisite.
Identifying Potential Linguists
Language teachers should discern students with high verbal intelligence from students with low verbal intelligence in their classes so that they can devise strategies for their students according to each student’s needs. Weaker students need much reinforcement to learn language basics, whereas students with high linguistic intelligence can easily grasp elementary concepts with minimum intervention from the teacher. They will advance quickly to master one or several languages and should be encouraged to do so, as they may potentially become expert translators.