As a translator working with languages everyday this blog is an opportunity for me to discuss aspects of this job more informally and to look at languages in general, both modern and ancient. Drawing on my own experiences I will look at issues relating to living with languages as a translator, learner, teacher, traveller and resident.
I have always been interested in languages since my father first introduced me to German through his old school text book “Heute Abend”. Amazingly, some of these old books from the 1930s are still available. The arrival of an Italian boy at junior school sparked an interest in Italian but it was not until I went to the grammar school that I was at last able to learn a language properly. That language was French, followed a year later by Latin and then Greek. After O levels I had to give up Greek but I was able to take up Russian instead. Persuaded that a career in languages was only for the truly bilingual I did a Geography degree and regretted the loss of languages in my life for the next 20 or so years. I did however manage to keep up my French and a visit to Russia in the early 80s helped to keep that language going.
In the mid 90s a change of career took me to the airport environment where the need to speak to arriving passengers was just the incentive I needed to reacquaint myself with languages. So I worked the French and Russian up to the appropriate levels and took German and Spanish classes.
I became a translator in the year 2000, working mostly from French into English. Then I bought an old village house in Andalucia where no one spoke English so I could immerse myself in Spanish. Just over a year ago I began to revise my Latin and about nine months ago I started Greek again. In anticipation of a trip to China I started learning Mandarin last September.
The name Lakesidelinguist comes from the large laguna near my house in Spain.