As a translator, it’s really important to keep your language skills up to date. Naturally that involves reading, writing, speaking and listening to material in your working languages: German and English in my case.
It’s vital to retain fluency, accuracy and to keep abreast of changes in the languages you work with.
I also think it’s beneficial and refreshing to learn a new language once in a while, or to revisit one of your secondary languages. It gives the language-learning part of your brain a good old workout and encourages you to focus on language structure. It also encourages you to work creatively with words. To start with, your vocabulary will be pretty restricted, meaning you have to explore alternate ways of expressing what you want to say. Playing around with words and expressions like this is a vital skill in translation, too.
To learn a new language you need motivation. For me, this came in bucket loads after visiting Greenland this summer. I absolutely fell in love with the place: not surprising when you look at the picture above! It’s not just the landscape, though. I want to be able to speak to people about their lives and their culture. I want to share their jokes and join in their conversations and I want to say just how beautiful their country is.
I should point out that the first language of Greenland is Greenlandic, but that’s maybe a challenge too far at the moment. My friends at “Visit Greenland” did teach me that beautiful is “kusanaq”, though! In the meantime, I hope to share a second language with the Greenlanders, and to that end I’m busy learning about their country in Danish.