[These pages concern interesting correspondence between our translators and project managers at KENAX, mostly concerning the famous Jade Dynasty translation project.]

The best way to learn a new language

Learning to speak a new language is not easy, especially when you are not a child anymore. It takes a lot of time and practice, and by the time you learn to speak it at a conversational level, years can pass. However, there are some methods that can speed up that process, and as long as you are interested in mastering a language is the shortest amount of time possible, you should take a look at the tips below.

You may have to move

There are people out there whose job require them to learn a new language. For that to happen as fast and efficiently as possible, a trip to the country that speaks that language may be advised. The logic behind it is simple. No book and no app will be able to teach you how to speak a new tongue like the natives there. Plus, you will need to learn how to use it so that you can get around. A simple trip to a supermarket can teach you a lot more than you can learn on your own if you stay for 5 hours with a smartphone in your hands or a grammar book. It is one thing to follow the theory in a book or a dictionary, and it is an entirely different thing to catch on by having conversations with natives. You will be put in numerous social situations when you need to use what you learned.

Plus, as many people can attest, learning a new language in its country of origin lasts longer. You do not forget it as easily. It may seem a bit much to change your residence for about 6 months to a year just to learn a new language. You need some documentation. You need to find a new place to live, and so on. If you are lucky, all you need is a passport. And all countries provide homes for rent.

Read, read, and then read some more

I am not referring to grammar books or dictionaries. It is true that there are a lot of books out there that can help you out. However, the books you want to read are the ones that you have already read in your native language. Of course, you need to know some of the language at this point. Otherwise, you will not understand a word. Let’s take a book as an example. Say that you liked Harry Potter. You read it, probably more than once. Now, get a copy in the language you want to learn. It has been translated into numerous languages, so finding it should not be an issue. As long as you know some of the language you want to perfect, the brain will fill in the blanks and make all the right associations. You need a dictionary by your side at all times as well, but the more you read, the more you learn.

Apps can help

This is only to a point. Apps are excellent if you are just getting started. I tried to learn Swedish using Duolingo, but it only got me so far. The most significant benefit of speech apps is that you get to learn how to write and spell the words you want to learn. However, if you do not pair an app with reading and practicing, you will not get very far.

Make a new friend

If you have the chance, you should befriend a person who already speaks the language you want to learn. Practicing can be difficult with a stranger, mostly because of your inhibitions, but a friend can help you get over that. You have someone to practice with, and you do not have to get embarrassed when you make mistakes. And you will. A lot.

Just because a language is challenging to learn, it does not mean you have to give up. It may take some time, and you may get frustrated along the way, but once you succeed, you will be very proud of yourself. After all, not all people are open to making this kind of effort, and a new language is a valuable skill. Even if it is only for yourself.

kenax

CEO at KENAX
Almost all the "articles" I have submitted to this wordpress site have been email correspondence with our translators on larger projects, so that anyone interested in starting a career as a translator might get an idea what it would be like.

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