How do you know when you have mastered a language? 

For professional linguists, such as translators and interpreters, there are, of course, certification tests that verify, especially in the medical and legal fields, that a translator and/or interpreter is proficient not only in the source and target languages.

by Nisar Nikzad Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Today, there are thousands of programs and methods available for people to learn more than one language. These methods can be found in schools and universities, computer software programs and study abroad programs along with thousands of other resources available. Learning a new language can be a challenging and rewarding experience, but it is extremely difficult to measure one’s fluency in another language.

For professional linguists, such as translators and interpreters, there are, of course, certification tests that verify, especially in the medical and legal fields, that a translator and/or interpreter is proficient not only in the source and target languages, but also in the technical terminology that often comes up in those fields. For people who are not involved in the language service industry and simply want to learn a new language, it is often difficult to gage one’s level of fluency if the learner is not able to go to a new country to learn the language.

Studies show that some of the best ways to learn a new language are through immersion and even if the learner is not able to go to another country to learn a language, there are a variety of resources, other than classes and software programs, to facilitate the learning process at a minimal cost.

One of these resources available to a language learner is music in that language. Often, music captures the grammatical and colloquial aspects of a language, and there are many different topics that songs in any culture can touch upon. Being able to identify the subject of a song and the words used to describe the situation is often a sign that a person is becoming more familiar with the culture and language they wish to learn.

Another resource that can be done at almost no cost at all to the learner is meeting a native speaker of that language simply to practice conversing on a regular basis. When someone can find the words to describe their week and what is going on in their lives is often a sign that they are becoming more fluent in that language.

A final, informal test of fluency is to understand and share a sense of humor with someone from his or her non-native language. Generally, jokes and a sense of humor encompass not only language, but also cultural aspects of a group of people and to be able to make jokes and understand jokes of others can be the defining moment for when someone has truly mastered a language and culture.

To know more about Nisar Nikzad visit his website: http://translationexcellence.com

0    submitted by Nisar Nikzad
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