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Linguistics or Translation?

 Language Learning Forum : Languages & Work Post Reply
14 messages over 2 pages: 1
Lizzern
Diglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 4101 days ago

791 posts - 1053 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English
Studies: Japanese

 
 Message 9 of 14
13 May 2014 at 12:43pm | IP Logged 
I don't know how you feel about moving but if you were to move to a country where they speak your target language, it might actually be better for you to get a degree in something like what you're currently doing, and just get a job in that field in the country. You might not be working with languages directly, but you would be using it at work every day. Kinda like what Khatzumoto (from AJATT) did. Overall it might open more doors for you and might still meet your language needs :-)

Liz
1 person has voted this message useful



Itadakimasu
Diglot
Newbie
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2381 days ago

31 posts - 82 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese

 
 Message 10 of 14
13 May 2014 at 8:00pm | IP Logged 
Lizzern wrote:
I don't know how you feel about moving but if you were to move to a country where they speak your target language, it might actually be better for you to get a degree in something like what you're currently doing, and just get a job in that field in the country. You might not be working with languages directly, but you would be using it at work every day. Kinda like what Khatzumoto (from AJATT) did. Overall it might open more doors for you and might still meet your language needs :-)

Liz



Khatz learned Japanese in America, and then moved to Japan. So he's kind of a bad example. Aside from that, this guy wants to learn multiple languages so him going to Japan would be pretty counterproductive. I've had this conundrum. In Japan, nobody speaks anything but Japanese(obviously), and therefore you could know 30 languages and you wouldn't be able to use a single one ever. Maybe aside from the occasional English, and the even farther and fewer between Mandarin and Korean. Aside from that it's pretty pointless to know anything else. If your going to study something, you may as well just keep studying Japanese since you can never know enough.



For the OP, I would recommend what everyone else has said. Forget trying to work with languages and just find out how you can get a job using them on the side to increase your employers revenue. Spanish and Mandarin are the easiest sells. Especially if you live in some international place like California, New York, Texas, Florida etc etc. Knowing those 2 will make you far more money than most translators make, and your employer only expects you to be at a B2 level because he/she didn't hire you to be a translator. If that makes sense. I've always heard my bosses say, "If I had a guy who could speak to these Chinese customers, I'd pay him __,_____,___!" I hear this all the time from different people who run businesses. You just have to look around for someone who needs it. Hell, you could end up working in some hole in the ground and making decent money, just because they need a person there to translate.





The biggest problem with this, in my opinion, is, is that all you want out of life? I love languages as much as anyone here, but I realized that what it would take for me to be truly happy(and able to make a living) just wasn't going to happen. I grew up I the country in the middle of nowhere my entire life, with nothing to do OTHER than learn languages, and have no desire to move back anytime soon just for a job. While living in the "big city" is where all the opportunities are, it costs a fortune to live there. Unless you were making one of those big time translator salaries you hear about but never see anybody with, then you wouldn't and COULDN'T make it there. This is just the truth. And if all you have is a degree related to translation/international whatever then you are SCREWED. I could be making all the money in the world, but if I had to be in the middle of nowhere again to do it, or be paying like 1000$ a month in rent to live in the city to do it, then it's not worth it. Stick to your big money Electrical Engineering degree, and just be a polyglot on the side and keep it in your back pocket. One day you'll make one of your Elec Engineering bosses VERY happy with some Chinese/Japanese customers walk through. :)
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Sterogyl
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 2559 days ago

152 posts - 263 votes 
Studies: German*, French, EnglishC2
Studies: Japanese, Norwegian

 
 Message 11 of 14
15 May 2014 at 5:47pm | IP Logged 
Many linguists don't bother learning a foreign language, even if they do research on that language. They then often only learn the necessary elements of the language in order to do their research (e.g. verbal prefixes). In these circles, doing research on very particular questions of a language is generally considered much more important and desirable than actual language acquisition.

Those who study a particular language as a major will likely be dissapointed, for they will discover that the actual language acquisition (e.g. the sorely needed autodidactic study techniques) is nothing that they will get much instruction on. They're usually given the advice to "go abroad" if they want to master the language.

1 person has voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4789 days ago

9753 posts - 15776 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 12 of 14
15 May 2014 at 8:38pm | IP Logged 
On the other hand, linguistics is a great choice for an aspiring polyglot, as unlike majoring in a specific language, you're not limited in what exactly you research. I've written papers using materials in Finnish, Portuguese and Polish, and two more about the language politics of Finland and Croatia.
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Lizzern
Diglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 4101 days ago

791 posts - 1053 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English
Studies: Japanese

 
 Message 13 of 14
16 May 2014 at 2:57pm | IP Logged 
Itadakimasu wrote:
Khatz learned Japanese in America, and then moved to Japan. So he's kind of a bad example. Aside from that, this guy wants to learn multiple languages so him going to Japan would be pretty counterproductive. I've had this conundrum. In Japan, nobody speaks anything but Japanese(obviously), and therefore you could know 30 languages and you wouldn't be able to use a single one ever. Maybe aside from the occasional English, and the even farther and fewer between Mandarin and Korean. Aside from that it's pretty pointless to know anything else. If your going to study something, you may as well just keep studying Japanese since you can never know enough.


I think you misunderstood what I was saying here. I was merely suggesting an alternative way of looking at it if someone wants to combine languages with their career. Where Khatz learned Japanese isn't the point - he uses Japanese for work now, even though he studied something else.
1 person has voted this message useful



camus
Newbie
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3426 days ago

10 posts - 12 votes
Speaks: Mandarin*
Studies: English, German

 
 Message 14 of 14
17 May 2014 at 4:27am | IP Logged 
I had just posted a similar topic beforing seeing your post. I would say for your situation it depends on what you really like or want to do. If you want to be a translator then forget (at least for now) about learning multiple languages at a time, because you need to spend a significant amount of time drilling on one language and make to native or near native level, especially for Asian languages which are notorious for complicated writing systems. If you want to be a linguist and then you will rather be flirting with most languages. You just need to know their patterns.


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