Wish You Were Bilingual? Is it Too Late To Start Learning?
Certainly, the scientists who have decided these things for you are experts. At the same time, it is entirely possible to learn a second language as an adult, and it is entirely possible to perfect an accent in a foreign language as an adult. People do it every day. I’m not sure if it would have been easier for these people to have learned as children. Since they didn’t, we’ll never know. It’s a thought experiment. But they are learning. And if you need proof of our ability to learn different foreign accents as adults, watch a movie. You’ll often see actors whose native languages are different from the one they are speaking on the screen speaking perfectly fluently. They have to. It’s their job. So they defy the latest research and just simply hire pronunciation coaches. It’s doable.
Bilingual Education Resources
So if you’d like to try to learn a language, we’d love to pass along some great free-or-nearly-free resources to help you learn.
First, there is a great language learning resource called Innovative Language that offers a ton of different language learning websites called www.name-of-language-pod101.com. The basic version of any language is free, and yes, they tempt you with a paid version (which is actually very reasonably priced, and quite good) but you do not need to buy it. The lessons are based on trying to keep the learning fun. They use native speakers in addition to foreign language learners to help you both hear the perfect native sounding voice, but also encourage you as you listen to a non-native speaker speak fluently.
Try PortuguesePod101.com for a sample of what to expect.
If everything in your life needs to be gamified, Duolingo is the site for you for language learning. Seriously, according to Slate, it is addictive and fun. Perfect for modern learners. Part of the free-ness of Duolingo is that they ask you to translate a bit of text at the end of your lesson. In this way, they are crowd sourcing translation, which is, perhaps not the best way to get professional translation, but might work for some of the general translation work they are doing for sites like CNN and Buzzfeed. The translations may not be perfect, but they are workable.
Google Translate is a super easy-to-use, free application that, especially when combined with its voice ability, is surprisingly good for language learning. Sometimes just jumping in and learning a language is the best way to start, and simply trying out a few words or phrases in Google Translate can give you clues to how the language works. Add in a few variations, try a few different familiar phrases, and see how far this takes you. Though far from perfect, the spoken version will give you a pretty good idea of how the language should sound.
There are two ways to use You Tube for language learning. First, and the one which is linked above, is to use it to search for ways to learn languages. There is a ton of information available recently to help you put together an actionable plan.
Second, of course, is that there are foreign language videos on You Tube and it’s amazing how much watching video in another language can accelerate learning. Try it.
Language Lizard is a great resource for reasonably priced bilingual books. The company is also a huge bilingual education enthusiast, and that enthusiasm is a bit contagious. Simply reading about how important they feel bilingual education is, and how important it is to them to provide bilingual education resources to the public, is a little humbling. This is not a language learning site per se, more a resource for buying bilingual books.
Good Luck with Your Bilingual Education
Start today. Make reasonable goals for yourself, and learn a little bit each day. If nothing else, you will stretch your brain a bit and stave off old age a bit which you learn and challenge yourself. Best case scenario is that you eventually become fluent in a second language. And maybe one day, you get hired by us to do translation. You never know. Good luck!
In the meantime, to feed your interest in language learning, translation and all things multilingual, why not keep in touch with us via Google+ Facebook and Twitter? We’re active in all these places, sharing fun and useful things to inspire and inform you.