How is your week going so far? Don’t worry, be Happy !
Well, I’ve been trying some new experiences to improve my languages, it’s been fun and very productive so I’ve decided to write a quick article about how to go “fishing for words, idioms, phrases…”.
First, what is fishing? According to google search, fishing is “the activity of catching fish, either for food or as a sport”, so I’ve decided to apply this method in my pursuit for more vocabulary.
Second, where to fish? Basically everywhere, at anytime: movies, shows, Tv shows, music lyrics, ads, series, magazines, newspapers… You need to be hungry for knowledge, be curious and give a chance to every topic whether it is interesting or not, you need to force yourself because as a future Translator or Interpreter, you will not be stuck in just one field of activity. I remember last summer during my training, I was working for a Conference named France Vet. I met this incredible man, an interpreter who had great experience in the field, he was very good. The Conference was about animals, veterinary medicine, not an easy one, but he was used to it as he told me, he had been the interpreter for the same conference for years. I got to be in the booth with and he had no computer, no vocabulary list, nothing, he just had a paper and a pencil to draw, his iPhone, and headphones on ready to start interpreting. I, on the other hand, was feeding my curiosity with new words and expressions from the Medical Glossary. My point is, that man wasn’t a veterinary medicine expert, he worked on several assignments around the globe and yet he was able to adapt to this rather complicated topic. So to me, the job starts now, and brings us to our last but not least point…
Third, how to fish? Grab a pen and a notebook, set up your fishing rod and be ready to catch a lot of colorful expressions and idioms that will make you sound like a native English speaker.
- Do not write down the entire script of the movie or show, the purpose here is to identify the words and expressions that you don’t understand. You can find some idioms or phrases that come from a popular belief, a famous book or some historical facts. For example, in the tvshow The Originals there was the saying “Uneasy is the head that wears the crown” which is a line from the play King Henry the Fourth, part Two, by William Shakespeare and refers to a person who has great responsibilities such as a king and is constantly worried, therefore doesn’t sleep soundly. In this episode, this saying was used by Marcel who was wary of his old friend and mentor Klaus Mickaelson, an original vampire willing to do anything to take back the town of New Orleans, to be the new King of the vampires. So Marcel was becoming paranoid and used this saying in a conversation to imply the obvious reason being that his Kingdom was in danger.
- Beware of the language being used in the audio or the video. Whether it’s formal or informal, in which part of the World it is spoken etc. This is crucial. You obviously know that several parts of the World were colonized. The Commonwealth is comprised of 53 states members, so the language is not the same in London or in Accra (Ghana, Africa). Be open-minded and watch movies and productions from these countries, try to dive into their culture. For example in Africa (or in the Caribbean, Solomon Islands and so on), several English speakers would mix the English with the local languages, it is called the Pijin language. It’s the same for the European Spanish and the Latin american Spanish; the thing here is that South American Spanish is the most spoken around the World but European Spanish is the official language in Translation/Interpretation, we have to refer to the RAE (Real Academia Española) and be sure that the words or expressions we use exist in this dictionary. There is all the more reason to learn more words and expressions from one continent to the other and know their proper meaning in European Spanish. The same rules apply to the German language which is spoken in Switzerland, Austria and Germany; and of course in the Chinese language.
- After collecting you little treasures, you can try to write an essay or an article and use what you’ve learned. Use synonyms, switch the form of the verbs, replace one word with another. Have fun and make mistakes, it’s the only way to learn ! By doing this, you’ll be memorizing these words in no time…