Translation & Interpretation

Learning a language–and mastering it!–allows for countless job opportunities and possibilities when entering the workforce. An obvious career is language teacher, but there is so much more available if teaching doesn’t suit or excite you. Translation and interpretation–[and translations gone wrong]–have always fascinated me, but they are oftentimes confused and very different careers: translation is written; interpretation is spoken.

In class, I like to give a demonstration with a regular classroom teacher of what interpretation looks like. We choose a mini lesson beforehand, and then s/he stops after each sentence or phrase so that I can repeat it in Spanish (not simultaneous). I remember one year being distracted when a student sneezed and I missed the sentence I was supposed to interpret (a math lesson on long division); so I stopped and pointed out how crucial 100% focus and concentration are for this profession and that I had #failed in that moment!

This simple exercise ignites a meaningful discussion among students–and there tend to be a lot of questions afterwards. The regular classroom teacher and I even memorized a page-long goat story to retell for second graders one year (video), which included small gestures, is a lesson on compromise, and was great fun! Students all wanted to learn it after we performed and interpreted it!

LANGUAGE GAMES: LingYourLanguage and Language Squad

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Accents & Gibberish

Amy Walker – American Accents


  1. Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World, Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche
  2. Polyglot: How I Learn Languages–book in PDF, by Kató Lomb
  3. Harmony of Babel: Profiles of Famous Polyglots of Europe, Kató Lomb
  4. LINGO: Around Europe in Sixty Languages, Gaston Dorren
  5. Babel No More, Michael Erard
  6. Dreaming in Chinese, Deborah Fallows
  7. Lost in Translation, Ella Frances Sanders
  8. The Illustrated Book of Sayings, Ella Frances Sanders