Bilingualism – Part II

Today we continue with Part II of this fascinating journey through bilingualism. In this issue, our guest author, Eta Trabing, provides some tips to put that second language to good use, whether it is polishing your skills to be more effective in your job, or becoming a translator or interpreter.

By M. Eta Trabing, Berkana Language LLC –

Are you a Bilingual Specialist?flat-27394_1280

Do you already have a career, but also know another language? Maybe you didn’t know that a second language might be a great asset to you at work. Maybe you spoke it as a child but never kept it up into adulthood.

With some extra study, you could do your job or career or profession in both your languages equally well – which would give you a tremendous advantage over monolinguals in your same job or career or profession, and open many new doors! Not to mention a higher salary commensurate with your additional knowledge. And additional profit for your employer!

You could update your second language and learn the terminology of the job, career or profession you already have so as to make yourself twice as good and twice as needed!

To be a bilingual specialist, you will need:

  • To have a job, career or profession that you like and wish to continue in. You will be good at whatever you like to do.
  • To speak, read and write English and one other language at a working adult level.
  •  To dedicate some time and effort to studying your job, career or profession in your second language. You can study on your own, or take classes – how you get your knowledge is immaterial, just get it!
  • To keep your two languages as separate as possible, so you don’t fall into a two-language mixture, understandable only to you and a few others. Dialects work only in specific places, where, if you use it, you will fit in better; but it won’t help you at all if foreigners come from totally different countries that speak the same/similar language. Try to get a feel for the demographics of your region and adapt to them in your work.
  • To make an effort to learn your second language properly, if you’re not quite where you need to be. Again, community or junior colleges are great places to take continuing education courses in speaking, reading and writing a foreign language.
  • To be able to talk about and do your job, career or profession in both languages equally well. Whatever work you do can be learned in both languages. It’s a question of learning new terminology – the job you already know.
  • To be prepared to travel, if necessary. This is a huge perk, and loads of fun. You get to do what you do best, explaining it to others in two languages, and your travel is paid for.

A Few More Things…

Now that you know the basics of what to expect from each bilingual opportunity, think of which one you would be most comfortable with, which one you might enjoy the most, which one your temperament and personality are best suited for.

  • Are you a perfectionist? Like to work alone? Translating is good.
  • Do you prefer to be with people? Or be where the action is? Interpreting is good.
  • You should enjoy what you do, every day!
  • Decide what you like and what you do best and make that into a marketable skill in two languages. Now that you know how to go about it – have fun doing it!
  • Learn the geography and history of your area. So many foreigners mispronounce names in a language new to them. And you will need to understand where they live or want to get to; i.e., Brownsville, a major point of entry between Mexico and the U.S., is actually referred to as “Bronbil” by Spanish speakers.
  • What regionalisms or unique words are used in your area? Why? Find out and learn. All local versions of two-language combinations, have a fascinating history.
  • What other peculiarities are there in your region or in your second language? Ask people from other countries that speak your language. Start your own glossaries of things you didn’t know, but now do.
  • Get to know this country. It’s quite amazing and fascinating! That way you can tell foreigners and tourists where to go and what to see in your geographic area! Foreigners want to know about us, too! And they will want to learn our customs and cultures if they intent to live here.
  •  Do not fall into the use of false cognates.

What was your journey, Dear Reader? Did you stumble into the T&I profession? Or are you looking at switching careers? We would love to hear your story!


Check out Part I and Part III of this series.

One thought on “Bilingualism – Part II

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