What to read as an advanced language learner

For those who have not read my reading suggestions for the beginner and intermediate level, let me start by naming a few select arguments why reading is so very awesome (not only) for language enthusiasts:

  • It adds to your busy and unapproachable air if you do not want to interact with your surroundings
  • It is the ideal topic of conversation if you do wish to chat
  • Be it a book, a magazine, a blogpost or a news item – reading allows you to improve your language skills wherever you might be

The positive yet overwhelming aspect of being a language pro is that you may read pretty much everything:

  • Authentic, high-profile literature

Literary texts are an obvious choice. Reading the classics for your language of choice at some point might even be considered a must. However, everyone has their own preferences.

For me personally, there is little that draws me in as much as a twisted-minded female protagonist in a psychological thriller.

For you, it might be an intriguing historical setting or sharp-witted humor.

Find what you enjoy and you will never cease to stumble upon bewildering formulations and new aspects of the language you are acquiring.

  • Book reviews

Maybe you are already over reading literature or you are obsessed with your current read and wish to engage even more in this particular piece of writing. If this is the case, I recommend reading some skillfully written reviews, as those represent an intriguing blend of literary and journalistic/scientific language.

  • Scientific articles

Choosing to read scientific articles will benefit you in various ways. You familiarize yourself with scientific terminology and recurring formulations. On the other hand you learn or revise information about complex topics. I, for instance, enjoy reading up on various chapters of world history.

I strongly advise you to choose a topic you are actually interested in, though. Otherwise you will experience the phenomenon I call the “wandering eye”: reading and re-reading the words on a page without grasping the slightest bit of meaning behind them.

  • Political analysis

Again, this is an excellent way of acquiring specific vocabulary and collocations for your own written language production. Apart from that, political analysis provide you with cultural knowledge as they are probably country-specific.

You get bonus points if you read through articles online, because then you can browse through the comments‘ section afterwards not only to have a good laugh, but also to educate yourself on how native speakers of different social strata communicate in today’s wired world.

Congratulations on your advanced language skills! But remember to crack open a children’s book once in a while when you are visiting foreign book stores or to skip through banal blogposts – just because you can (and because it’s fun)!

Second semester wisdom

What has my second semester as an interpreting student taught me so far?

  • Never forget your earphones

Leave your glasses under the bed, run out the door with mismatched socks and leave your precooked lunch in the fridge to ist own destiny – but you cannot forget your earphones.

Be it a podcast, a youtube video, a political speech or a recording of your own voice: as long as you can plug them into your phone, a tablet or computer, earphones are an interpreting student’s best friends as they help you improve on the go and in every little break you might want to use effectively.

  • Acknowledge the essentiality of the notepad

While earphones help you practise and improve, a notepad facilitates you doing your job. More than once have I expected 90 minutes of chuchotage and did not take a notepad with me which turned out as a big mistake when chuchotage turned into classic consecutive. You will always want to note something down: feedback to your fellow students, numbers and figures while interpreting simultaneously, classical consecutive notes or little kitty faces to conquer your nervousness.

  • Ditch the library

Don’t get me wrong, the library is still a good guess if you are looking for me – but as an interpreting student, your voice becomes your most precious asset and it wants to be trained! There has never been an excuse as valid to leave university early … to practise at home, of course! 😉

  • Never stop over-analyzing

As tempting as it may be to interpret text after text after text – it may make more sense to focus on one particular speech, record your interpretation and analyze it. Write down all errors and odd expressions and correct them on paper, then try again and again until you are satisfied with your preformance.