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Have you ever found yourself thinking "That's not what I am looking for" while attending a language course? Have you ever felt that people around you -in the same class- do not have shared goals with you?

What kind of course should an interpreter or a trainee choose when they want to refresh or to maintain one of the languages in their combination?

Please feel free to answer in ES, FR, IT or PT.

asked 10 Oct '12, 04:13

David's gravatar image


edited 10 Oct '12, 04:52

Delete's gravatar image

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I know exactly what you mean! The most frustrating experience for me was a Portuguese class where, upon arrival, we were told by the teacher: “hoje vamos escrever un poema de amor” and we did spend a full hour struggling with our own poetry – which was of absolutely no use to me. What I really needed was to learn about the history of the country, its literature, its political system, its idioms, so that I could understand both the context and the content of future speeches. I never went back.

Interpreters are sponges. They usually learn a language more quickly than other people and they are interested not only in words, but also in everything else related to the country or countries where the language is spoken. This is why, when you set up a refresher course, you have to spend some time on terminology, but much more on updating participants on other cultural and political aspects. This is what we tried to do when we organized a Spanish refresher course last July in Barcelona (tentative program can be seen at!/events/138572146273036/).

On the menu: Spanish literature (and the role of women in Spanish literature); history (the Republic and Franco regime); economics (workshops on the present situation in Spain); legal system (recent changes in labor law) etc…Participants told us this was really what they needed and we will certainly repeat the experience next July with new topics. So watch this space ;-)

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answered 10 Oct '12, 05:23

Danielle's gravatar image


Like many of us I have also experienced some frustration of this kind when teaching staff simply would not correct me because they had understood what I meant to say. Most of the time when I specifically asked whether a sentence was correct the way I had phrased it, I then finally was corrected. So I ended up not attending class sessions but paying for a teacher who would give me private lessons.

Since this can turn out to be quite expensive in the long run it is well worth looking for someone who needs to improve his/her language skills in your mother tongue. This way you can take it in turns and teach each other. More explanations on this kind of work may be found in my answer to this question:

Basically it is a good idea to attend training courses organised by other interpreters - and many AIIC regions offer courses and seminars on language and culture and there are also various refresher courses for accomplished interpreters.

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answered 12 Oct '12, 17:42

AlmuteL's gravatar image


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question asked: 10 Oct '12, 04:13

question was seen: 3,785 times

last updated: 12 Oct '12, 17:42

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