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22 years old - too late to learn a new language?
מפרסם התגובה: vchampea

Phillippa May Bennett
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Go for it! Jul 14, 2010

I would agree it's definitely not too late for you to start! I started learning Portuguese when I was 18/19 and now it's the main language I work with. In my case I studied Portuguese at University, spent my year abroad in Brazil and then spent a further 4 years there improving my Portuguese. I think living abroad, using the language on a daily basis and immersing yourself in the culture of the country really is the way forward.
Good luck!...
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I would agree it's definitely not too late for you to start! I started learning Portuguese when I was 18/19 and now it's the main language I work with. In my case I studied Portuguese at University, spent my year abroad in Brazil and then spent a further 4 years there improving my Portuguese. I think living abroad, using the language on a daily basis and immersing yourself in the culture of the country really is the way forward.
Good luck!
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Xiaowen Lei  Identity Verified
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Not late Jul 14, 2010

It's not late. But be prepared for difficulties, obstacles...
Patience is one thing that is equally crucial to determination and good strategy.


 

Veronica Manole (X)
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Not at all Jul 14, 2010

I started learning Portuguese (european) at the University when I was 21. I lived one year in Portugal, when I was in the 4th year of my BA programme at it totally changed my life. I have been teaching Portuguese for the last 4 years and I will start a Phd in Portuguese linguistics. 9 years after my adventure I can say, it is possible! In my case it helped a lot being a Romanian native speaker. Portuguese take me for a native speaker who has lived some time abroad due to my imperfect accent... See more
I started learning Portuguese (european) at the University when I was 21. I lived one year in Portugal, when I was in the 4th year of my BA programme at it totally changed my life. I have been teaching Portuguese for the last 4 years and I will start a Phd in Portuguese linguistics. 9 years after my adventure I can say, it is possible! In my case it helped a lot being a Romanian native speaker. Portuguese take me for a native speaker who has lived some time abroad due to my imperfect accent
Have fun while doing it and don't forget to constantly improve your mother tongue!

[Edited at 2010-07-14 10:35 GMT]
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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
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keep on learning all your life Jul 14, 2010

I agree that for true bilingualism it is best to start very young, but as long as you can write really well in your target language, you can reach a very high level of proficiency in your source language at any age, if you have the will, the determination and the interest.

I hope never to give up learning new languages. I may not add the new ones I am constantly learning to the source languages I work from, but gaining new knowledge every day is part of the fun of being a translator
... See more
I agree that for true bilingualism it is best to start very young, but as long as you can write really well in your target language, you can reach a very high level of proficiency in your source language at any age, if you have the will, the determination and the interest.

I hope never to give up learning new languages. I may not add the new ones I am constantly learning to the source languages I work from, but gaining new knowledge every day is part of the fun of being a translator. If that is what interests you, go for it!
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Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
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Welcome aboard! Jul 14, 2010

If you feel you have discovered what you really like, this is a perfect time to begin. I totally agree with Jenny and Gilla in that mastering your mother-tongue and keeping on learning both languages all your life are absolutely essential for becoming a professional translator.

 

maryblack  Identity Verified
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Go for it! Jul 14, 2010

I started learning Spanish at 27 and Catalan at 30 and now earn a living translating from both of them. If you want to, and you've already learned other languages (meaning that those neural pathways and an understanding of language patterns are already there), there's no reason why you can't.

Best of luck!


 

Ronald van der Linden  Identity Verified
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:-) Jul 14, 2010

Well, at the age of 30 I traveled a bit, met a girl in Mexico, who happens to be a Spanish teacher, I stayed ever since, and learned Spanish. I am quite positive that when I'm 40 I'll probably live in another country and will have to learn another language.

 

Lyudmila Gorbunova (married Zanella)  Identity Verified
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I began to study Italian when I was 26 years old Jul 14, 2010

I began to study the Italian language because I wished to sing the Italian songs. And then I worked as interpreter with Italian technicians and the Italian became my basic working language. I know it better than French and English language which I studied at the university.

 

Dmitri Lyutenko  Identity Verified
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When I'm old and wise Jul 14, 2010


It depends on your willingness to learn and to develop yourself. I've started to learn German at 41. And I have in my future plans also to learn Chinese and Spanish. It's great!!!


 

Ulrike H
Local time: 21:02
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as most of the others said... Jul 14, 2010

... it is never too late. But of course if it is your first foreign language you should expect it not to be easy - when you already studied other languages then you have your strategies for studying them, but if it is the first one, you still have to find out what way you learn best...

Depending on your situation, it might not be that easy to fully immerse yourself in the language at the beginning (I have, for example, an Australian friend who lived in Romania, even stayed with a fa
... See more
... it is never too late. But of course if it is your first foreign language you should expect it not to be easy - when you already studied other languages then you have your strategies for studying them, but if it is the first one, you still have to find out what way you learn best...

Depending on your situation, it might not be that easy to fully immerse yourself in the language at the beginning (I have, for example, an Australian friend who lived in Romania, even stayed with a family there, but everyone spoke English to her, so she had a hard time learning Romanian at first, and I heard similar stories from people about other countries) - I guess it is a good idea to insist on speaking the language you are learning from the moment on that you can form simple sentences. And if you stay with too many other foreigners, try to join a sport's group, a choir, whatever, so you meet a lot of locals... (when I did my semester abroad I met so many other exchange students that would always just hang out in their own little group, of course they never got very fluent...)
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Michel34  Identity Verified
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REALLY immerse yourself Jul 14, 2010

I agree with what everyone here has said about not being too late to learn another language. HOWEVER ... I strongly believe that the ONLY way one can truly learn the ins and outs of a certain culture and its language is by being totally sourrounded by it and by paying attention to details of how things work in "real life" (as opposed to simply relying on what the books say).

Go for it! You seem very determined and willing to do the work. Try as much as you can to speak as littl
... See more
I agree with what everyone here has said about not being too late to learn another language. HOWEVER ... I strongly believe that the ONLY way one can truly learn the ins and outs of a certain culture and its language is by being totally sourrounded by it and by paying attention to details of how things work in "real life" (as opposed to simply relying on what the books say).

Go for it! You seem very determined and willing to do the work. Try as much as you can to speak as little English as possible and stick to Japanese. Listen and immitate, listen and immitate.

Continuity is key!

Best of luck!
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vchampea
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot! Jul 14, 2010

Wow! Thanks everybody for your comments. I'm inspired. The reason I'm asking is because I've been speaking to my friends and family about my interest in translation. Some of them have told me "You haven't studied any Japanese you're whole life, how are you going to be a translator?" I've been trying to keep a positive attitude by telling myself that I have my whole life ahead of me; I can do whatever I want.

nordiste wrote:

Do you mean that you never started to learn a foreign language at school, even at a very basic level ? If so, I am really curious to know why you think that a career in translation could be interesting...


I took Spanish for 4 years in high school, but I didn't have the motivation I needed to really learn the language. There will probably be very few or no similarities between Spanish and Japanese, but I think I know how to go about learning a new language from my Spanish classes in high school, which is important.

I'm interested in translation now because I've discovered my love for learning about new cultures. When I'm spending time with exchange students at my university or any other kinds of foreigners I feel I'm in the right place. I did an internship in Thailand last summer which really opened my eyes to the world beyond my limited perspective as a college student. I was only in Thailand for 3 months on behalf of my university as a Radio/TV/Film major, so I did not have the time or resources to start learning the language, but I realized many new things about myself.

I've been reading about careers in translation and it sounds like something I would really love to do. Working as a translator would allow me to satisfy my appetite for international experience.

Christine Andersen wrote:
I believe it is Andrew Dalby who has a theory that being in love helps!
(Somewhere in his book Languages in Danger ???)


When you say "being in love helps" do you mean having a wife/husband who is a native speaker of the language you want to learn? Or do you just mean loving the culture of the people? Both? Somebody told me that their English teacher advised getting a boyfriend/girlfriend who is a native speaker of the language you want to learn because it is the best way to learn a language. In that case I am very lucky. I have a Japanese girlfriend, hence my interest in Japan

Samuel Murray wrote:
Second, your study in Japan won't be immersive unless you're forced to speak Japanese. The fact that you'll be living in Japan will certain help a bit, but unless you specifically study Japanese very hard, you won't "just pick it up" unless you stop speaking English altogether. So while being in Japan will help, I think it needs be coupled with a strict regimen of language (and cultural) studies.


I understand this. I've observed exchange students at my university and I see that the ones who really try to immerse themselves by making friends with the local students instead of the other exchange students learn the most. I'll definitely be making rules for myself if I am going to graduate school in Japan. As soon as I learn the basics of Japanese, I will use it as often as I can and avoid using English. Thanks for reminding me of this anyway.

Thank you everybody for your comments and support. It's very inspiring to hear all of your experiences.


 

Ronald van der Linden  Identity Verified
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Motivation & necessity Jul 14, 2010

Sheila Wilson wrote:
Anil Gidwani wrote:
I think it's never too late to learn a new language.


I don't agree that it's never too late. Here in the south of France I'm surrounded by English, Dutch and Scandinavians who retired here and who have never got to grips with the language. I have also been in the unfortunate position of trying to teach French people in their 50s plus who really need to learn English but can't. There comes an age when it simply doesn't "take" - vocabulary and grammar learnt one day has to be relearnt the next.


Yeah, us Dutchies, we are known to the world as open-minded and liberal, but when it comes to adjusting our lives in foreign country, we get close to other Dutchies In Mexico there aren't many to find, and English is also not widely spoken... so I was forced to learn the language... Having a girlfriend as a Spanish teacher, and me being her promotion material, I was forced some more...

Would you say that these happily retired people you mention are language professionals or have any interest in become one, or would you describe them as being just plain happy with saying "Je vodras un vromge, silplait")

Depending on motivation, even 50+ will be able to learn a new language... not as fast as a 20 year old, but still. Without motivation even a 22 year old wouldn't be able to learn a new language.

In my (humble) experience, motivation and necessity are a perfect combination for any age group to learn a language.

Happy 14 julliet


 

Tai Fu  Identity Verified
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start now, don't wait. Jul 26, 2010

Environment is very important, when you go to Japan avoid expat areas except for limited contacts and perhaps buddies. Do not hide in expat areas because many foreigners in the US does that and because of that their English never get better than Engrish/Chinglish level. If you want to achieve near-native level for any language you must be in that environment in addition to language classes.

However before you go, use the time that you have now to learn as much basic Japanese as you
... See more
Environment is very important, when you go to Japan avoid expat areas except for limited contacts and perhaps buddies. Do not hide in expat areas because many foreigners in the US does that and because of that their English never get better than Engrish/Chinglish level. If you want to achieve near-native level for any language you must be in that environment in addition to language classes.

However before you go, use the time that you have now to learn as much basic Japanese as you can. Listen to Japanese podcast, find/attend online Japanese lesson, meet with any Japanese that you can find in the US to practice with, do language exchange (where you teach them English and they teach you Japanese or any other language) with any Japanese you can find. I made the mistake of being passive the first time I went to Germany and did not make any effort to learn German, because I assumed that most Germans speaks good English. I was dead wrong when I got there. While other European countries (like Netherlands) may be more "international" and therefore more English friendly, Germany isn't one of them. If they spoke any English, they wouldn't speak any or they simply said they only spoke "little english". I guess it's like France, they really love their country and expects you to learn their language.

Just beware that in Japan like many other Asian countries, there is a good chance that people will just try to speak English to you because knowing English is seen as having a higher social status. They do that in order to learn English from you, therefore it can be a real challenge to learn Japanese because you are generally not expected to learn them there. Try to speak Japanese to the locals as much as you can, but also you may end up doing a "language exchange" there as well.
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Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
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Go ahead! Jul 26, 2010

One of my favourte students was a French teacher. She attended my English classes at the age of 53 and successfully graduated among top-5! She teaches both Ftench and English at a country school now.

 
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