Interpreting – what is it, and how does it work?

Interpreting – what is it, and how does it work?

Having a command of any foreign language is a huge asset when it comes to career prospects. Many of these career prospects involve some form of translation work and the type of job that can lead to a multitude of diverse opportunities and experiences. Interpreting is one type of translation work, with an increase in demand for interpreters owing to the progressively more dynamic world in which we live, where communication is more important than ever. So, just what is interpreting, and what does it entail? Hopefully, we can tell you.


What is interpreting?


In simple terms, interpreting is the oral version of translation (as opposed to the written form) that involves translating spoken word in real time from one language to the next. Just as with written translation, there are different forms of interpretation, with these different forms suitable for specific situations. Although there are some small variants of individual methods, there are four main ‘styles’ of interpreting.


Simultaneous interpreting


Simultaneous interpreting is when the interpreter must translate a sentence into the target language while listening to the speaker of the source language at the same time. This type of interpretation takes a great amount of skill and practice, as it involves not only memorising what the speaker has said within a few seconds ago, but also reformulating their words into another language as quickly and accurately as possible, while also listening out for the next sentence to translate. Simultaneous interpretation is often the go-to method for large-scale meetings and conferences, hence why it is often called ‘conference interpreting’. Government institutions – such as the European Commission and the UN – normally use simultaneous interpretation, with many people speaking many different languages back and forth. The interpreters themselves are often sat in booths listening to the speaker(s) through headphones and speaking into a microphone that is connected to the earpiece of whoever the translation is provided for. Because of the intense and high-pressure nature of the process, there is often more than one interpreter working at the same time in each booth, taking breaks every 20 minutes or so.


Consecutive interpreting (liaison)


Consecutive interpreting is when the two (or sometimes more) parties speak in turns. First, the speaker (in the source language) will speak for a specific length of time (usually a few minutes) whilst the interpreter takes notes. Once the speaker has finished, the interpreter will interpret what has been said to the audience or sole client. Often, consecutive interpreting is ‘bi-directional’ (or liaison) meaning that the interpreter has to interpret two ways – what the speaker is saying to the receiver and then what the receiver replies to the original speaker. Owing to the nature of this style of interpretation, it is often used in smaller-scale business meetings or in court cases. The main skill required for this method is undoubtedly note-taking and the ability to pinpoint the most relevant information to translate. Although slightly less intense than simultaneous interpretation, the consecutive method still requires a level of speed, as often proceedings will rely on the rapidity and the success of an interpretation, particularly where legal matters are concerned.


Chuchotage (whispered interpreting)

Sometimes more commonly known as whispered interpreting, Chuchotage is a form of interpreting which requires the interpreter to whisper a translated passage in the client’s target language back to them. Chuchotage is classified as a type of simultaneous interpreting due to the fact it takes place as the speaker is also talking. The actual interpreting process can take place in a few ways, one of which requires the Chucoter to be in very close proximity to their client to deliver a clear translation. Or on the other hand, it can take place via a headset. Typically, the process is best suited to smaller client bases, as it is considered such an intimate process. The most common places for Chuchotage to take place include small, guided tours or small meetings.


  •   Having the interpreter in the room present when the speaker is talking means that the client can see the interpreter talking and performing gestures- this offers a good opportunity for the listener to appreciate and take not of facial expressions and body language.
  •   The fact that Chuchotage is a form of simultaneous interpretation means it is efficient and smooth in its running- meaning it won’t hinder the client in many ways.
  •   Chuchotage is advantageous in many settings thanks to its low-key set up. It requires little to no equipment or materials, which adds to its efficiency.


  •   The process of delivering the interpreted speech can often be distracting to other people in the meeting.
  •   Due to the fact that the process is very intimate and requires a high level of presence from the professional, Chuchotage is often one of the most expensive linguistic services you can call upon.

Telephone interpreting

Telephone interpreting is pretty simple in the sense that it is exactly the same as face-to-face interpreting, but the sole difference is it does not require the client and interpreter to be in the same place at the same time. The idea is that the interpreter will relay information in a specific target language to clients over the phone- by doing so the client gains an understanding of what is happening in a certain setting. Some common places for this method to be used includes doctors’ appointments, police stations and sometimes legal settings (lawyer appointments). It can be carried out in two ways; a two way phone call or three or more way phone call.

Two-way phone call- Each individual client will get spoken to separately by the interpreter. This often requires all clients to be together in the same setting.

Three-way (or more) phone call- Every client involved will participate in the same call at the same time. The interpreter acts as a bridge between all parties present.


  •   Face to face interpreting requires the interpreter to travel which can add additional costs to the service, whereas telephone services can be offered remotely.
  •   It is particularly useful in the current climate with the pandemic- meaning minimal disruption to services.
  •   It is accessible to a wide range of clients.


  •   Technical errors can make the service inaccessible at certain times.
  •   The client is unable to see the interpreter meaning they do not get a grasp on body language or facial gestures.

How does one become an interpreter?

Being a language interpreter is a highly skilled occupation, with many rewarding aspects. A love for language is vital if your intention is a pursue a career in the field. Speaking more than one language natively or fluently is often a great place to start. Most of the time, a suitable degree in linguistics and communication is required to enter the field as a professional interpreter, however some speciality fields such as conference interpreting will almost always require a master’s degree.

Final thoughts

There is a vast array of interpretation methods available in the linguistic field. Each technique has its own set of pros and cons, meaning that one size does not fit all. It is a good idea to shop around for a service that best suits your needs. Consider your needs as a client and which method would be most effective based upon your requirements.

Should you be interested in an interpreting service from Crystal Clear Translation, visit our website for a quote.

Multilingual Manchester: What Are The Top Foreign Languages Spoken In The City?  

Multilingual Manchester: What Are The Top Foreign Languages Spoken In The City?  

When one thinks of language diversity and multilingualism in the UK, the first city that comes to mind for most people is probably London! However, it isn’t the most linguistically diverse city in the UK, let alone western Europe. In fact, that title belongs to the city of Manchester, which is home to at least 200 different languages. Although this number is less than the estimated 300 different languages spoken in London, compared to London’s population of 9 million people, Manchester has a much smaller population size of 576,500 people, making it more linguistically dense. In fact, according to research by the University of Manchester as part of a project called “Multilingual Manchester”, researchers found that around 40% of Manchester’s younger population and an estimated 50% of the city’s adult population are multilingual. In addition to this, 20% of Manchester’s adult population registered a

language other than English as their primary language in the 2011 Census. The most widely spoken of the approximately 200 different languages spoken in Manchester are Urdu, Arabic, Chinese, Bengali, Polish, and Panjabi..



Urdu is the most widely spoken foreign language in Manchester, being spoken by an estimated 13,095 people, according to the last available data. Urdu is a member of the Indo-Aryan language family and is spoken globally by 170 million speakers. The language is also the fourth most widely spoken foreign language in the UK, spoken by an estimated 269,000 people. After the partition of India in 1947, Urdu speakers migrated to the UK from India and Pakistan, settling in northern cities such as Manchester, Leeds, and Bradford, as well as in the West Midlands, Scotland, and London. There are several radio stations and TV stations in the UK which broadcast in Urdu, such as Asian Sound Radio, which is based in Manchester.



One of the Semitic languages, Arabic is spoken by 7,037 people in Manchester. According to the 2011 Census, there are 159,290 Arabic speakers in the UK, making Arabic the sixth mostly widely spoken language in the country. The Arabic language was first introduced to Manchester in the 1800s by Turkish cotton traders, followed by Moroccan cloth traders in the 1830s, and Syrian immigrants, who arrived in the city after the First World War. There are several different Arabic language radio and TV stations broadcasting in the UK, such as BBC Arabic.



In total, there are around 8,468 Chinese speakers in Manchester. However, the primary dialect of these Chinese speakers is not Mandarin, which is spoken by 851 people, but Cantonese, which is the most widely spoken Chinese dialect/language in Manchester with 1,739 speakers. The many languages that comprise the Chinese group of languages, such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Min, and Wu, are part of the Sino-Tibetan language family. It is estimated that, globally, there are 1.1 billion Mandarin speakers, making it the most widely spoken of the Chinese languages, followed by Wu and Min (75-80 million speakers), and Cantonese (spoken by 70 million people).



Bengali, also known as Bangla, is a member of the Indo-Aryan language family. The language, as well as the dialects of Sylheti and Chatgaya, are spoken by 3,114 people in Manchester. In addition to the Bengali speakers in Manchester, the Bengali language is spoken by 114,267 people in London and by 221,403 people in the UK. Two Bengali dialects, known as Sylheti and Chatgaya, are also spoken by people in Manchester. These two dialects, Sylheti and Chatgaya, are categorised as being distinct from the Bengali language, as both dialects use a writing system called the Bengal-Assamese script, whereas Bengali utilises the Bengali script. Whilst Sylheti is regarded as a mutually intelligible dialect of Bengali, Chatgaya is not considered to be mutually intelligible with Bengali.



Polish is a Slavic language that is part of the Indo-European language family and is spoken by an estimated total of 6,447 people in Manchester, making it the most widely spoken EU language in the city. There are also 147,816 speakers of the Polish language in London, and the language is also the second most widely spoken foreign language in the UK, spoken by a total of 546,000 people. Polish has become more widely spoken in Manchester, as well as the rest of the UK, when Poland became part of the EU in 2004, and more Polish people migrated to live and work in the country.



Punjabi, also known as Panjabi, is part of the Indo-Aryan language family, and is spoken by 4,719 people in Manchester. In the UK, there are 273,000 Punjabi speakers, who account for 0.5% of the total UK population. Punjabi is the second most widely spoken foreign language in the United Kingdom. A significant number of Punjabi speakers immigrated to the West Midlands, in the late 1940s and 1950s after the expansion of the UK citizenship laws in the Commonwealth. Many also came to the UK in the 1970s after the expulsion of all Asian people in Uganda by Idi Amin. There are seven newspapers published in the Punjabi language, such as Sikh Times, and numerous radio stations that broadcast in the language, such as Panjab Radio, Sunrise Radio (based in Manchester), and the BBC Asian Network.


Concluding Thoughts

Given the incredible number of languages spoken in Manchester, the city is a perfect example of linguistic diversity in the UK and the rest of Europe. The language diversity of Manchester might also be evidence of the multilingual future of languages, or it could be a rarity, especially as language learning in UK schools is in decline. If you should require translation or interpretation of any languages or dialect, you may be interested in the excellent services provided by Crystal Clear Translation. At CCT, we employ many efficient and reliable translators able to navigate the intricacies of many different languages and cultures. Click here for a quote if you should need interpretation or translation services in a multitude of different languages.

The Amazigh Languages

The Amazigh Languages

The Amazigh languages, also known as the Berber languages, consist of an estimated 40 different languages, which are all part of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It is estimated that the Amazigh languages are spoken by between 25 and 30 million people throughout Northern Africa. Some of the most widely spoken Amazigh languages are Tuareg, Kabyle, Central Atlas Tamazight, Shilha, and Tarifit Berber (Riffian). These languages are spoken most prevalently in North Africa, in countries such as Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mali and Niger.


The Tuareg languages


The Tuareg languages are a group of related dialects, namely Tamasheq, Tamahaq, Air Tamajaq, and Tawellemet. These languages are spoken primarily by the Tuareg people, a nomadic Berber ethnic group, who live mainly in Sub-Saharan and Northern Africa. One of the most spoken Tuareg dialects is Tamasheq, which is spoken most notably in Mali, by an estimated 378,000 people. Like the majority of the Tuareg languages, Tamasheq is written using both a Latin and Tifinagh script and makes use of Arabic loanwords. As Tamasheq uses the Tifinagh script, the original alphabet of the Tuareg people, it is written from left to right. In addition to this, written and spoken Tamasheq (as well as the other Tuareg languages) uses an abjad writing system (derives from the Arabic language), which places greater emphasis on consonants.




The Kabyle language, also known as Taqbaylit, is spoken by 5 million people in Algeria, and 5.59 million total speakers globally. Being an Amazigh language, Kablye is one of the official languages of Algeria alongside French and is used as a lingua franca in the country, especially in professional settings and the home. The language is written in both a Latin script and Tifinagh, although Tifinagh is used solely for logos and symbols rather than as a writing system. As well as being spoken in Algeria, Kabyle is also spoken in Morocco, Tunisia, and the Western Sahara.


Central Atlas Tamazight


Central Atlas Tamazight, also known as Tamaziɣt, is spoken in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia by a total of 4.7 million people. The vast majority of the language’s speakers reside in Morocco, where there are an estimated 4,590,000 speakers of Central Atlas Tamazight. Despite being classified as a threatened language, Tamazight is a major Berber language, and is one of the three Berber dialects spoken in Morocco by 40% of the population. It is used across different multimedia platforms, such as publishing, television, radio, and social media. Like Kabyle and the Tuareg languages, Tamazight is written using the Tifinagh script, although it is primarily written using a Latin script and the Naskh Arabic script. The language is also written using the SVO (subject-verb-object) word order.




The Tachelhit language, also known as Shilha and Soussiya, is another of the most widely spoken Amazigh languages. In Morocco, there are 7 million Tachelhit speakers, and the language is also spoken in Algeria and Tunisia. The language is used in the Moroccan education system, as it is taught in Moroccan primary schools. It is also used in television, radio, newspapers, and publishing. The language uses the Naskh variant of the Arabic script, a Latin script, and the Tifinagh script.




Tarifit, also known as Riffian, is an Amazigh language spoken in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. It is spoken by 4.2 million people in Morocco, and 4.3 million people in total across Northern Africa. It is part of the Zenati Berber language family (named after the Zenati Amazigh tribe), which is comprised of Berber languages that derived in Morocco and southwestern Algeria. The language features just four vowels (“e, i, a, u”) and 33 consonants. Tarifit uses three different writing systems: the Naskh Arabic script, Latin, and Tifinagh. Like the majority of the most widely spoken Amazigh languages, it is used across television, radio, and in publishing.


In Conclusion


The Amazigh (or Berber) languages spoken throughout Northern Africa and Sub-Sharan Africa are rich, fascinating languages, which are spoken daily by millions of people and will continue to be spoken by millions in the region in the future. These languages use as lingua franca, as well as in different media, are further proof of the culturally diverse language families that are spoken in many different countries in Africa.


If you should require translation of any of the Amazigh languages spoken in Northern Africa, such as Tuareg, Kabyle, Central Atlas Tamazight, Tachelhit, or Tarifit Berber, you would benefit from a translator cognisant of the colloquialisms and language influences of the unique Amazigh languages. At Crystal Clear Translation, you will find many efficient and reliable translators able to navigate the intricacies of many different languages – click here for a quote.






A guide to becoming a qualified translator: Is it the job for you?

A guide to becoming a qualified translator: Is it the job for you?

Working in the linguistics and translation field can be an extremely rewarding career. Your job role can vary day to day and offer an exciting and diverse work-life balance. Many people believe that translation is a simple role, however there is a lot more to it than the ability to speak a language well. With a vast array of career prospects available to prospective students, the job market is incredibly competitive. But what does it take to become a professional translator? What does one have to attain to succeed in the field?

What do translators do day-to-day?

It’s important to note that translators and interpreters are not the same, this is a common misconception- but in fact, the differences are quite straightforward. Translators work with a written text or document whereas an interpreter deals with spoken dialogue.

The typical aim of a translator is to translate documents and other material from one language into another, known as the target language. Usually, the translator will be fluent or native to the target language. This is something that all clients will look for when selecting the right professional for their case load or project.

There are many types of content in which a translator may be called upon for. This can include legal documents, marketing and advertising campaigns and even projects involving the media. If you have ever watched a film with subtitles, this is a prime example of a translator in action. Whatever the aim of the project, there is likely a professional that will suit your needs. It is important to ensure that the translator being used has proven experience in the specific area. Early on in your career, you will be able to select specific areas to specialise in- this can be an area of particular interest to you.

What specific skills are needed to be a translator?

A fully qualified translator will need to acquire a certain skill set in order to get the most out of their career. Some of these skills are listed below:

  •       A cemented knowledge of culture within the target language country- this is something that can be obtained by living and working in that location over a significant period. Whilst not absolutely essential, it is extremely advantageous.
  •       Complete fluency or native understanding of the language or languages chosen to specialise in.
  •       Exemplary reading and writing skills in ones native tongue.
  •       A keen eye for detail and the ability to edit and proofread meticulously
  •       It is ideal to have a degree in the source languages selected as an area of expertise.


What qualifications do you need to become a professional translator?

Although anyone with fluent knowledge of more than one language can translate, working as a paid, ‘official’ translator usually requires some level of qualification. If you wish to translate in areas involving law, medicine, and government/administration for example, specialist knowledge is often non-negotiable, so having a specific qualification under your belt is hugely advantageous career-wise. The main types of qualification are:

  • A postgraduate degree – many universities offer MAs in Translation or Translation Studies, which is particularly helpful if you hold an undergraduate degree that is not in a language-based subject. Translation MAs will usually cover the theory and practice of translation as well as offer instruction in how to translate for specific sectors. A list of postgraduate courses (for UK residents) can be found here
  • A language-based undergraduate degree – having a degree in a second (or even third) language (particularly with evidence of having focused on translation/translation modules) is very useful for anyone looking to go into translation as a career.
  • A Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) from the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) is one of the most respected translation qualifications available, providing high-level specialised training in many different areas of the discipline. A fee-paying course, the diploma is well worth the money as it is an internationally recognised qualification, meaning that you can – in theory – work anywhere in the world.
  • Relevant translation experience – in some cases, having proven translation experience can look just as good as any official qualification/diploma, particularly if said experience involves working for voluntary organisations like Translators without Borders and UN Volunteers.


What careers are there for translators?

Because practically every job in the world uses spoken and written language, opportunities involving translation are everywhere. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the areas and roles into which having translation qualifications or experience can lead you:

  • Literary translation– working as a literary translator involves translating literary text from one language into another. Because of the importance of capturing the original author’s language, style, and meaning, working as a literary translator is a good job for anyone interested in writing and the world of books and who has prior experience in translating literary material (such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, magazine articles etc.). Due to the level of skill required, the job of a literary translator is one of the higher-earning translation jobs.
  • Healthcare/medical translation – a highly in-demand and very rewarding job, working as a medical translator can often make a difference to the quality of care and treatment that a patient receives. Translating medical documents, brochures, and patient and pharmaceutical information is also a major part of being a medical translator and requires specific knowledge to undertake. Because clients’ wellbeing is often on the line, working as a medical translator can be fairly high pressure, but also well-paid.
  • Localisation – localizers are tasked with translating texts and graphics used in various forms of media, ranging from advertisement to video games. The localizer must make text seem as if it originated in the target country – for example, media translated for Latin American audiences will need to use expressions and vocabulary that are local to whatever area it will be displayed or sold in, rather than just using a generic ‘standard’ Spanish translation which can seem clunky or inauthentic. Working in localisation is one of the more ‘fun’ areas of translation, as often localisation jobs deal with a diverse range of topics that use casual, everyday language.
  • Business translation – most businesses are always looking to expand (especially on an international level) and as a result, translators with knowledge of business terminology and jargon are always in demand.
  • Government translation – although most translators work on a freelance basis, some government departments specifically recruit experienced translators to work with them, including MI5, MI6, the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters). There are also opportunities to work for international government organisations such as the United Nations. It is worth noting, however,  that official government organisations are more likely to take on translators who have a little more experience behind them, particularly when it comes to translating in matters of diplomacy or for humanitarian issues.


Concluding Thoughts

Although getting started requires some patience, becoming qualified to work as a translator will lead to a career that is nothing if not unique. Because so many sectors of employment require translators and prefer to use humans rather than machines to ensure accuracy and correct localisation, there is always work to be found for any proficient linguist. To find out more about the specific translation services that we offer at Crystal Clear Translation, you can visit us here.

Top Tips for Learning a Language and Improving Fluency

Top Tips for Learning a Language and Improving Fluency

When you ask most people what one thing they’d like to achieve before they die, learning a foreign language is a very common response, particularly for native English speakers. With the rise in language-learning methods, from night classes to online apps, more people than ever are making real efforts to achieve this goal. As such, it seems a good time to share some of the best ways to learn a language and improve fluency.


Language Classes


It goes without saying that one of the most obvious ways to learn another language is to receive professional instruction in it. Outside of an academic environment (schools or university), there are actually many language classes available for any potential linguist – it’s just a case of finding the right one. Things to take into account when finding a good class is your personal schedule, cost, travel, and your level in whatever language you’re learning (beginner, intermediate, etc.). Attending a class is a solid way to start if you’re a beginner, as you’ll be surrounded by other people in the same position and learning-level as yourself, with a teacher on hand to answer any queries, which will undoubtedly make the experience of learning a new language way less intimidating. Classes alone, however, are not enough when it comes to learning a language, as self-study and practice outside of the classroom are equally important for maintaining and improving fluency.




One of the easiest – and often cheapest – ways to learn and practice another language is via online apps. Everyone has heard of Duolingo and Babbel, but other programmes like Quizlet, Anki, and Memrise offer hundreds of ways to keep up with your language learning. Some apps will focus more on the ‘teaching’ aspect (Duolingo and Babbel) and others are a useful tool for compiling vocabulary and making flashcards to help with memorisation (Quizlet and Anki). Whatever your goals are, downloading an app to your phone is a quick and accessible way to keep on top of your language learning whilst managing your day-to-day responsibilities.



Language Exchange Groups


Although classes are a good way of meeting like-minded learners, they do not provide the opportunity to practice in a relaxed environment. Language-exchange groups – which involve meeting up in more relaxed venues (usually pubs or cafés) to speak in whatever common target language everyone has – are, however. Groups are usually made up of a mix of beginners and intermediate learners, with some higher-level speakers present. Although speaking is usually the aspect of mastering a foreign language that intimidates learners the most, it is also the aspect that improves the most with practice and becomes far easier as time goes on. Therefore, making friends with whom you can actually practice speaking makes the journey to fluency far easier and far less embarrassing. If you live in an area where there are no such groups, you should maybe set up your own, meeting up with others in your local pub, community centre, or even house, to simply sit and chat in the group’s shared target language(s).



Cultural Immersion


Arguably the most entertaining way to learn or improve fluency in another language is by immersing yourself in your target language’s culture. This can be by watching foreign films with subtitles in the language itself (or not, depending on your level), reading books, and listening to music. These are effective ways to improve both listening and reading comprehension in a manner that is fairly passive. Streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime have a plethora of foreign-language films and TV shows for you to enjoy, and Spotify and Apple Music have thousands of playlists catered to lovers of non-English language music. As well as being a good way of improving language proficiency, immersing yourself in the cultural output of a language means you are far less likely to become bored with it. Some good foreign language TV shows include:


Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (South Korean)

Money Heist (Spanish)

Call My Agent! (French)

Dark (German)

The Bridge (Swedish/Danish)

Alice in Borderland (Japanese)

The Platform (Arabic)

Immerse yourself into the culture

A language and its surrounding culture go hand in hand. When learning to speak a language it is essential to understand its relationship with culture. Without grasping the culture, the language simply becomes an assortment of words and sounds with little to no content whatsoever.

The simplest way to immerse yourself into a certain country’s culture is to travel there and spend some time living in the setting. By doing this, you are experiencing the culture first-hand, along with real life experience from the country’s citizens. Whether it be ordering in a restaurant or conversing with locals in the park- these authentic experiences will enable you to swiftly adapt to the cultural differences between your native and target languages.

Sometimes, it’s easier said than done to be able to travel to your desired destination. Perhaps you’re a student on a tight budget, or you simply cannot justify upping sticks and moving. It’s reassuring to know that there are other ways of experiencing culture immersion- some of which don’t even require leaving the house. For example, watching a foreign movie can aid your understanding more than you think. Whilst watching, you are absorbing the mannerisms and gestures of a language, experiencing the setting and what it looks like and simply taking in language whilst enjoying a good movie! The internet is littered with handy ways in which you can experience a different culture and get yourself geared up to mastering your chosen dialect.

Find a learning partner/study buddy

Studying alone can often seem overwhelming and stressful. Learning a new language should be a fun and rewarding experience; one that could be made better by sharing the journey with somebody else. When it comes to finding your ideal study buddy, the options can be endless. You could look closer to home, perhaps a family member or a close friend has the same intentions of language learning as you? Or if not, social networking platforms can offer prime opportunities to unite with like-minded individuals. If the social networking option is a route you decide to take, professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn can offer up tailored suggestions in regard to the type of person you are looking for.

Here are a few pointers to enable you and your language learning buddy to get the most out of your working relationship:

  •       Setting appropriate goals together- you both should decide what it is you are looking to achieve and in what time scale you wish to do it. For example, by this time next month we will both be able to confidentially recite the alphabet in our target language. By setting these small goals, you can keep track of your journey with ease.
  •       Arrange regular study times- When it comes to learning something, consistency is key. You should deliberate with your partner to decipher the times you will spend together learning and discussing progress. This could be one substantial session per week or a cluster of smaller ones. It may also be sensible to pre plan what you will do during this time- this will enable you to be as productive as possible during your learning sessions.
  •       Find somebody as committed as you are- Finding a fellow learner that is as passionate about the outcome as you are is vital. If you are both on the same page, your working relationship will run smoother. A huge dose of passion on both ends can pay dividends to the end result, with both parties motivating and supporting each other throughout.

Finding smart study techniques

It is no secret that everybody learns in different ways. No two learners are the same. So, it is important to devise a set of study techniques which aid your learning rather than hinder it. Below is a selection of techniques which may be of interest to a prospective language learner.

Flashcards and note making

This is not a technique that suits everyone, as words can often become congested and overwhelming, however if you are good with words this may be the option for you. You should go about making extensive notes whilst you are learning, which can then be turned into detailed flash cards. This technique comes into play when these cards are used and practiced regularly.

Keep a learning journal

By documenting your learning, you are keeping a great record of where you are at on your journey. Every time you study, you could make a note of what you have learnt today, what you found easy and what was difficult. This way, you can identify areas of weakness that may need more time spent on them. It also enables you to look back on the journey you have taken, with a firm record of everything you have learnt over time.

Smart use of pictures and colourful aids

A vast proportion of people are known as visual learners; therefore, the use of picture and colour can aid the learning greatly. Drawing pictures and symbols can help you to remember certain expressions and vocabularyFor example, you could create a series of picture cards with words on the back- these can be used for you to test yourself or for other people to test you. It is all about making learning fun, after all!

Read, read, and then read some more

Reading in any form can nourish the mind. Reading to learn is an incredibly rewarding activity. Sometimes, it can seem like a chore to read, but it doesn’t have to be this way when incorporating it into you learning plan. The days of reading long, repetitive texts are gone, as there are many other ways to read and learn. Although textbooks can be useful in learning a language, they aren’t always essential. Reading blogs written in your target language can be fun and useful. It will help you to see the language in context and may even aid your understanding of the culture too! Any passages, words or phrases that you don’t understand can then be taken away as an area of interest to you.

Final thoughts

Language learning is an extremely fun and fruitful practice! Whether you are learning for a job, for a new life abroad or just for fun, learning a foreign language is incredibly beneficial. It is reassuring to know that not one technique is the same, and there are many ways for one to achieve success.