by Ulrike Anderson, Membership Coordinator
MAINTAINING YOUR SECOND LANGUAGE: practical and productive strategies for translators, teachers, interpreters and other language lovers.
This is Eve Lindemuth Bodeux’s new book. Eve has been active in the translation and localization industries for nearly two decades. She has wide-ranging experience covering all aspects of these industries as well as proven success in managing international projects for a variety of clients worldwide. She also happens to be a CTA member, former CTA vice president, and holder of a CTA Distinguished Service Award! What’s more, she’s agreed to a book signing at this year’s CTA Annual Conference!
We asked Eve for a brief interview about her exciting new book.
1. What inspired you to write this book? Why this specific topic?
For years, I had been working on a different book that was about raising children bilingually. This past year, I had a flash of insight and realized that some of the same approaches that are useful to bilingual families could also be applicable and adapted for use by translators, interpreters, teachers and others who need to keep their language skills sharp for professional reasons. In recent years, I have presented on this same topic (second language maintenance) for both the American Translators Association and La société française des traducteurs in France. Both of these presentations received enthusiastic feedback. When it finally hit me that I should write a book on this topic, I was very motivated and the idea took off. As I worked on the book, I realized that the ideas it contains are for all speakers of a second language who would like to maintain the progress they have made over the years. Speaking a language fluently really is a use-it-or-lose-it scenario and the purpose of the book is to offer lots of different strategies and methods so that all readers can find something that works for them in their quest to maintain their second (or third!) language.
2. What was the most surprising new thing you learned while working on your book?
During my research for the book, I discovered how many resources for practicing an acquired language are actually free. I mention many different kinds of resources in the book. Some cost money and some don’t. For the most part, I have used all the types of resources mentioned but had never done an analysis of which required, at least, some financial outlay and which were totally free. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that we are not necessarily required to spend large amounts of money to access high-quality resources for second language maintenance.
3. Of the four fluency categories—speaking, listening, writing, reading—which, in your experience, is the most neglected or difficult to maintain?
I would say that fluent speech is more difficult to maintain than high-level listening skills. The same is true for writing at a sophisticated level—this skill is more difficult to maintain than fluid reading. Of course, both listening comprehension and reading skills require effort as well, but they can be more solitary activities in that, if we have to, we can practice these skills on our own. For example, listening to audio we find on the Internet or listening to and watching a movie in our second language are both possible even if we don’t have real live native speakers available to interact with. And truthfully, we can somewhat passively read articles or books. Speaking, on the other hand, requires more effort and also requires some type of access to others who speak the same language. Writing skills are similar in that maintaining them properly requires active practice, whether you are sending emails to clients overseas or practicing various writing conventions on your own. I offer ideas on how to focus on all four of these areas and readers can focus on what their own weaknesses or strengths are.
4. If you had to choose only one, which strategy would you consider your favorite? (either because it is the most crucial or because it is the most fun…)
I personally adore the history and linguistic challenges that folk songs and nursery rhymes present, so if I had to “live on a desert island” and only pick one strategy, it would be to continue to learn new folks songs and nursery rhymes for my second language and to research the meanings of the interesting words and phrases they offer. In addition, I love looking into the historical background of what may today be considered a “children’s poem” but which may have started out as satire or political protest centuries ago. Traditional folk songs and nursery rhymes are really not just child’s play—they provide cultural, historical and linguistic insight into a language and the people who speak it.
5. The electronic version of your book is already available for purchase on Amazon. When can we expect the print version? Will you have copies available for purchase at the signing?
The print version will be ready within a week or two and will definitely be available for purchase at the CTA conference book signing. I am very excited to be able to release it at the CTA conference and share it with my long-time colleagues and friends!
You can buy it online now at http://bodeuxinternational.com/spectacle/, or at the CTA Conference book signing.
The book-signing event, exclusive for conference attendees, will take place at the CTA Conference closing reception, on Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 where Eve will be joined by other famous authors in our industry, Corinne McKay with her new 3rd edition of Thoughts on Translation, and Tess Whitty with her The Marketing Cookbook for Translators. Another great reason to join us at the CTA Conference!
To attend this book-signing you should register for the CTA Conference at www.cta-web.org.