Intelligence and Being a Translator

Qualified to translate documents

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.

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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.

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Verbal Intelligence

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.

European and Asian Languages Share a Common Ancestor

All Eurasian languages, from Portuguese to French, have formed a “super family” whose roots date back 15, 000 years. Scientists have discovered that billions of people are linguistic “descendants” of one language that was spoken in Southern Europe at the time of the last Ice Age.

Ancient Language Development in Europe

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It appears that English, Urdu and Japanese (among others) can be used to trace a language that was used in the region of North-Eastern Russia. The ancient language was the basis for at least seven languages that formed the old Eurasian linguistic “super family”. In the Eurasian region, everyone can trace their linguistic roots back to the group of people that inhabited southeastern Europe more than 15,000 years ago, when the glaciers began retracting.

Scientists have long maintained two opinions about the origin of the Eurasian super family of languages. The problem is that many words evolved so quickly that their exact origin cannot be determined. Most words stand 50% chance of being replaced by another term every two-three thousand years. On the other hand, there are words that weather time much better than others. Pronouns, numerals and adverbs have a proven record of surviving thousands of years.

Evolution of Word Usage

Language EvolutionThere was a study that used a computer model to register the rate of word changes. The idea was to identify words by the number of their recorded changes, thus leading to a unified “layer” of the original Eurasian language. Some of the words that have “survived” the numerous changes throughout centuries include: I, me, man and mother. However, there are also more obscure examples, such as sawdust and worm. Scientists claim that the survival of sawdust, for example, shouldn’t be considered strange at all. From prehistoric times onwards, people have used wood for different activities; sawdust, as a part of wood, was used for insulation, fire-making and the production of fibers. Therefore, the term survived millenniums.

Etymology is an interesting discipline that has allowed people to learn about language, cultural evolution and the ways in which words became extinct. In that respect, the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel can be understood and interpreted as a metaphor for the gradual diversification of languages.

Global Cultural Exchanges

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Have you ever heard a story, in most cases an urban legend, something like this, “If you sit with your foot on your knee in such-and-such country, the locals take it as an insult”? Most of us have heard similar stories by the score. How do such stories emerge and become legends? Are they just the workings of an over active imagination, or are they something else?

Sometimes they are based on truth, but more likely they are not. They are just misconceptions that have bred and fed on themselves to take a life of their own. Before you know it, these stories with little or nothing to support them become accepted as facts. Sensational reporting doesn’t help matters either. Because people don’t want boring stories, news sells only if it’s sensationalized. Through both social and print media, which may not be policed at all for truthfulness, the material we come across usually does not paint an accurate picture of a country and its culture.

Nothing Can Be Better than a First-Hand Experience

To understand a culture, first-hand experience is essential. For this purpose, countries like the USA initiate cultural exchange programs through which artists, filmmakers, musicians, poets, etc., from different countries meet one another. Cultural exchanges directly or indirectly address matters of global concern. These include tolerance, conflict resolution, awareness of human rights, importance of art and craft, freedom of creative expression, etc.

Cultural expos and other such cultural exchange programs supply a unique opportunity for nations to introduce their culture to the rest of the world.

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Reducing Misunderstandings

Of course, there are misconceptions on both sides of the global divide. But since we have no means to filter the authentic from the inauthentic, ill-conceived ideas about those who are strange multiply and persist. So what can be done about it? One solution is cultural exchange programs, such as cultural festivals and expos, etc., which could be organized to bridge gaps between countries.

As an example, DeMonfort University in Leicester, England, will hold its 13th Cultural Exchange Festival to exchange ideas and beliefs multilaterally. During one week each year, this event hosts more than 3,000 people, and the number is growing. Talks and discussions occur on formal and informal levels, as individuals from one country meet and speak with individuals from other countries.

Alliance, an American cultural exchange community, organizes cultural exchanges between residents of the US and other countries to promote and understand indigenous cultures from all over the world. Displays of art and culture in varied genres attract not only artists to such programs but also aficionados who simply appreciate art and want to add something positive to their own lives.

These are just two examples of many efforts being made multilaterally. The U.S Department of State also offers exchange programs involving students and faculty from various countries.

How Language Comes into Play

One of the biggest obstacles at such events is the language barrier. At the Leicester festival, booths of bi-lingual and multilingual volunteers help any two, three or more people converse by interpreting for them. As bi-bilingualism has become indispensable in today’s world, such events can be made more fruitful by engaging translators and interpreters for better communication between people from across the globe.

We can cast a casual glance around the world and easily see conflict everywhere we look. It is obvious that we’re in trouble globally and that we must do something about it. But stopping global and local problems must begin with ending misunderstandings and false conceptions of differences. Each of us needs to step up and put a stop to misconceptions abounding worldwide. If anything can reduce or eliminate misunderstandings, it has to take place on a grassroots level with the common people, each one committed to finding truth and accepting cultural differences. Learning other languages is a necessary step to achieving global understanding.

Want to Teach English Abroad? Your Journey Starts Here!

186007356Contrary to what many people think, finding a job as an English teacher abroad is not so complicated as you might think. However, you need to take care of some important details before embarking on this journey. Where does one begin?

To be considered for teaching abroad, you must meet some of the basic requirements for the position of a teacher. First of all, a Bachelor’s degree is usually a must, and you’ll probably need it if you want to get certified. Chinese teachers find that it can be helpful to have worked as a Chinese translator, but it isn’t required.  Most foreign English teachers who are hired to work in China only know English.  But can obtain a certification in your home country first or travel to the place where you want to teach and obtain it there.

Usually, the certification required is TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). You can gain certification in either of two ways: by participating in an in-class program or by taking an online course. However, sometimes it’s not easy to find a good certification program because many companies offer TESOL and TEFL training. If you don’t know how to select a good company, check to assure that the company is accredited.

Teaching English in China

Your choice of country may influence your success. Our advice is to seek employment in one of the countries of Southeast Asia, because you’re bound to get a good job placement there. Other markets, such as Western Europe and Latin America, can be much harder to enter due to heavy competition. Choice of location entails a difference in salary, as well. The ability to interpret and translate into the local language can command higher salaries.  Southeast Asia is a region where you can earn much more than in Latin America. The Middle East, on the other hand, is also very lucrative when it comes to job opportunities.

Be sure to consider the language(s) spoken in the country where you want to teach, the cost of living there, the cultural/political framework, etc. All of this could have a great effect on your stay and work. And don’t forget to ask yourself: “How long do I expect to stay?” You must not skip this step, since many schools want to sign a contract for at least a year, in addition to your verbal proof of assurance. We wish you the best of luck in finding a great job opportunity abroad!

Cut Translation Costs Without Jeopardizing Quality

452415807Finding a good, reliable, affordable translator is not an easy task. It can be quite costly, especially if you deal with sensitive subjects and have large files to translate. Machine translation, of course, is out of the question, so the primary concern is to find a perfect balance between your translation budget and your expectations. How do you manage that?

Create a Glossary

The first thing you need to do is create a translation glossary. A glossary can do wonders for the translator because it facilitates all aspects of the process and improves the quality of the end product. A glossary serves as a kind of translation memory, and it is an effective tool for going through high volumes of work.

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Cut the Fluff

Second, you should approach your content rationally. The amount of fluff content can increase the scope of translation, but it is an unnecessary expense. You have to clear your copy of the extra load and leave only the essential information and data. Also you should avoid duplicate content and find a balance between quantity and quality.

Edit Content

The third step involves making your copy shine. If the source language is not good enough, there is no way that translation will improve it. In the original to be translated, be careful about your style, tone of voice and the message you want to deliver. Remember: quality translation depends on a clear idea!

Polish and Refine

Finally, we come to the fourth step, polishing the final draft. Even if your content looks fine, you will definitely need to go through the whole draft carefully once more to make sure the final copy is exactly the way you want. Editing is everything—never forget this. Editing and proofreading are highly beneficial because this polishing stage will insure that your copy looks exactly as you want it to look.

In conclusion, consider translation as a long-term investment. If you want to be at the top of your game and have success in your business endeavors, you will have to pay for translating expertise. Sometimes the cost will be more than you expected, but don’t let this discourage you. There are times when it is better to pay more, because the end result can be extraordinary.

But remember that once you make sure your content is free of fluff and well written, you have created a sound base for your translation. Just be sure to edit all of it. You will be surprised how good preparation can help you find an affordable translation service provider who produces a quality product.