Language Learning Tips that DO NOT Work

There are a lot of blogs out there instructing you on how to best learn, speak and understand a language. I’m here to tell you that a lot of these blogs are wrong!

Below are a few language learning myths that are floating around out there. For each one, I explain why these tips or simply myths that are not conducive to language fluency.

“Focus on literal translation.”

We often think that in order to learn something completely, we have to focus on 100% accuracy. This makes sense in subjects like math where one number off can mean the difference between right and wrong. This isn’t true in language.

Literal translations are often jagged and don’t translate well. Fluency is about understanding what the context of the words mean, not their literal translation.

“Go at your own pace.”

It’s often said that learning is something we shouldn’t force on ourselves — that we should go at our own pace for our own benefit. Again, this doesn’t apply to learning languages.

When you go at your own pace, you run the risk of losing the language and eventually forgetting it entirely. You HAVE to be able to commit to daily learning time and immersive language methods.

“Language technicality is the most important part.”

In line with literal translations, language technicality isn’t nearly as important as language fluency. While it’s good to know the technical aspects of a language, they don’t mean much if you can’t converse fluidly. Many language students can rattle off what Spanish words mean and great French phrases, but this is about rote memorization — not actual conversational understanding.

“Stick to long-term goals.”

I often hear people say “I plan to learn Russian by the end of the year!” or some other variant with a different language. This isn’t how learning a language works. It’s important that you try your best, but it’s not conducive to education to stick to rigid goals.

Work every day and check where your fluency is at in regular intervals. Sometimes it takes longer than a year. And even if you FEEL fluent at the end of a year, that doesn’t mean you need to stop learning. Languages can be lost if you don’t use them: “Use it or lose it!”

“Focus on your weak spots.”

This tip may be great in other areas of learning, but it does not make sense in the context of linguistics. If you want to REALLY learn a language, you can’t treat it like you’re trying to get a good grade on an exam. If you focus too heavily on your weaker areas, you run the risk of ignoring other areas, leading to a collapse in fluency.

“You have to live and breathe the language!”

Is immersion good for learning languages? Of course. Do you have to become obsessed and run yourself ragged in order to become fluent? No.

Just like any other hobby, going overboard means you’re more likely to give up. You have to find the right balance between committing to daily memorization and exercises while also not pushing so yourself to the limit. Learning a language fast also usually means you have a good ability for memorization, NOT for actual fluency.

These are only a few of the tips I’ve found that I don’t agree with. Are there any language learning tips that you’ve found which are totally bogus?

5 Tips to Promote your Multilingual Website in Social Media

Social media has really shrunk the world. What’s more, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are available in multiple languages, further connecting our global community. This also means that it’s worth it to promote your translation company website in social media.

Global businesses haven’t truly given in to globalization if they don’t have content available on their website in multiple languages. This is where a translation company comes in: they can take a business with global dreams and make them a reality. Other clients are on social media with more specific translation needs, like translating a brochure into multiple languages for non-English speaking clients.

These clients are waiting for translation companies on social media — all it takes to reach them is a little promotion.


The Most Famous Multilingual People in History

History is full of figures who knew more than one language. Let’s take a look at some famous historical polyglots.

The Most Famous Multilingual People in HistoryElizabeth I (September 7, 1533 – March 24, 1603)

Being royalty or a politician means getting a lot of benefit from knowing multiple languages. Someone in a position of power needs to be able to communicate fluently with many different officials and citizens. Now people in power have translation tools that can allow them to get by, but in the olden days? You had to fully rely on language proficiency to communicate. Maybe that’s why Elizabeth I (pictured above) knew seven different languages, English, Flemish, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Greek and French.


Acronyms and Common Translation Industry Terms That May Puzzle You

translation-acronymsYou might think that an industry focused on translation to ensure effective communication would avoid using puzzling acronyms, abbreviations, terms and jargon. Nevertheless, the fact is that when you discuss translation industry terms, you’ll encounter all of these — and it can be difficult to figure out what the latest bit of alphabet soup and word salad refers to. This guide for those of you who are not familiar with the jargon used in the translation industry should help you understand them a little better.


Global B2B Marketing: Top 3 Reasons Why Translation is Essential

As companies continually strive to expand into international markets, B2B marketing strategies also need to catch up and adapt. To achieve global success, organizations need to apply an approach that takes into account how different cultures will receive the marketing messages, and translation becomes a critical tool in its implementation.

Here are the top 3 reasons why translation is essential in any global B2B marketing campaign.


7 Questions to Ask Before Your Next B2B Translation

If your goal is to expand your company beyond domestic or even international markets that predominantly speak English, you will realize how important it is for you communicate your message to your global market as accurately and as efficiently as you have been doing with your English-speaking customers.

You have probably recognized that B2B translation is now more of a necessity than a luxury if you want your future B2B marketing campaigns to be successful. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right translation service for your business.

1. Who is your audience?

The tone of the message conveyed will depend on the readership.

2. Is there a need for your product in that market?

When you’ve identified who your audience is, you can put your focus on the language that requires translation.

3. Would your product benefit more from a translator who also speaks the language of your industry?

Considering that B2B covers all industries, translation often needs to go beyond just basic language in many cases. For example, if you are looking to expand your services to a software company in Germany, it would be beneficial for you to have an English to German translator who is also familiar with tech jargon.

Translation services have been keen on finding translators who are not only native speakers, who can communicate accurately and on a cultural level, but who also specialize in specific fields such as information technology, healthcare, finance or insurance.

4. Which languages do you need to translate into?

Will you need French as used in France or, if your customers are in Belgium, would you prefer to use the services of a Belgian translator? This may seem like a detail when considering translating, but it can imply significant differences based on your industry.

5. Will you need to localize parts of your message?

Once you’ve established what your target market is and the language that you need to translate into, you need to recognize if there are parts of your message that ought to be localized to serve a specific region.

Localization is the second phase, going beyond basic translation to adapt the cultural background of your message and giving you a stronger connection to your audience.

6. Have you considered translating your company’s website?

If you hope to have a strong presence in the country of your target market, it would be advisable to translate your website into the language used where your products will be sold.

When you make an effort to communicate, your audience will respond positively and appreciate it. The last thing you want to do is use an automated translation option for your website, because these can’t identify context, and you may end up “saying” something regrettable and embarrassing. Not everything has a direct translation.

7. Will the country require you to comply with local regulations?

You may encounter a country or a region that will require to you translate information found on your product packaging, such as disclaimers or instructions.

Again, it is absolutely critical to have an excellent and, more importantly, accurate translation for this information, as it could lead to a lawsuit or injury if the message is not delivered correctly.

The essence of language is communication. If you have found success in communicating your products, company mission and goals in English, you should be aiming to deliver the same clear message to your international market in the language they understand and present it in a way that makes sense. Feel free to contact BeTranslated for your translation needs.