We all know it’s important to learn a second language, even more so if your life often takes you into foreign cultures. Interpreters and translators are no different. Every time there’s work, there’s a new chance for understanding language.
So, what about the monolingual population? More than ever, those who don’t know the language of a particular country they visit or film they watch turn to machine translation services online. Those who embark on such quests can end up losing the meaning of what was originally described.
Because there is so much freedom when it comes to online dictionaries or translators, some of the population may not think it’s important to learn a second or third language, even when considering the many opportunities to travel or involve one’s self that come with different languages and cultures.
You may have already experienced this problem, especially with big industries or companies that choose to “translate” their own information, ultimately losing the original intent of the material “translated”.
So, what can a person do? What can a translator or interpreter do?
In situations like this, the word must be get out. Rather than letting someone rely solely on a translator, try to get them involved with the language. The more that’s learned, the better the brain.
Not only can learning a language increase awareness of one’s own language, as well as the culture behind the language, but according to the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy, learning a second language could in fact increase the size of the learner’s brain.
The idea was discovered after scientists studied new recruits before and after learning a new language by measuring the size of their brains with MRI’s. Due to the intense nature of the three month study, it would be difficult to compare to a lifetime of being bilingual, but according to Johan Mårtensson, a researcher of psychology at Lund University in Sweden, the study does show that learning a language is a “good way to keep the brain in shape.”