Getting Lost in Translation

Getting Lost in Translation post image

Hello everyone, I know it has been awhile since you have heard from me. I apologize for that. I am still dedicated to keeping the blog updated and going. So where have I been over the last couple of weeks?

Well I suddenly had a lot of requests for some very interesting translation projects that I could not refuse. It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to be working with such an amazing company, and I have been learning a lot. It’s great to be able to use the language that I have been studying so long.

But enough about me, what about you?

Are you ready for the Dec test?

We are only a month away from the big test day. The December test remains the time when the most people can take the test all over the world. If you are feeling a little nervous and unsure about what to do at this time, I wrote a whole blog post about some things you can do now to prepare and be ready for the big day.

The key thing to do now is to take a baseline test in order to refocus your efforts before the test. This baseline will expose your weaknesses that you will need to spend some extra time on in the next few weeks. I think you can get into a regular routine and feel like you are prepared, but might not realize that a few things are missing from your skill set. The baseline test will tell you what is missing.

Another thing that someone mentioned before is to get into a good sleeping schedule. If you have a fairly irregular sleep pattern. For example, if you have a bad habit of sleeping way in on weekends and staying up all night on weekends, now is the time to try to tame that a little so that you don’t crash on test day.

One proven technique that I have used several times is trying to take a mock test at the exact same time and conditions as you will on test day and see how you feel. Try to do everything you normally do. For instance, if you normally have a cup of coffee to start your day, have a cup. During this mock test, see how you feel. Are you tired? Need more sleep? Need less sleep? Now is a good time to fine tune those small things.

And this is a bit of no-brainer, but it is still worth mentioning. Take care of yourself. Seriously. Eat a little healthier and maintain something that resembles a regular sleeping schedule. It can take a few weeks to get a good pace and mood going.

Translating for Memrise

So, over the last two months I and my wife have been toiling away on the A1 English project for Japanese speakers. This is a massive 80 hour course that Memrise has designed that basically covers the first step of learning English, starting with things like ‘hello’ and ending with sentences like ‘I’m going to study France, because I like art.’

In case you were wondering, A1 is a reference level that is set forth in the CEFR, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This is a very common way of classifying language learning in Europe obviously but has recently become more popular in other countries and regions (like Japan).

For the course, we have been translating English to Japanese, which has been a very good learning experience for me, and can be quite tough, because some things can’t really be clearly translated. I’ve been learning a lot about different structures and how the match up.

Also, I’ve been learning a lot about how an online course needs to be structured. Classroom instruction can be a little more open because there is a teacher there to help clarify the differences. But, with a standalone course, you need a lot of one to one translations so that grammar points and vocabulary are a lot clearer. This can lead to a lot of discussion on what is the best standard.

All of which has taken a lot of time, but has also been very rewarding in terms of being exposed to new ways to see how language is formed.

One of our biggest headaches was trying to differentiate between “be going to” and “will” for talking about the future. Japanese, of course, has ‘no future tense’, which means “be going to” and “will” can sometimes have the same translation. Or the translation is a little ambiguous because it might mean something different depending on the situation.

If you are curious, we ended up translating “be going to” as つもりです, while for “will” we used でしょう. Of course, there are a lot of exceptions where these don’t play nicely, but they tend to be the most common way to talk about the future specifically.

That’s it for now. I will try to keep things more updated and be there for everybody in these next few weeks before the test.

How have you been?

How are your studies going? Let me know in the comments.

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