Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Why I am glad that I can read in more than one language

It is not only wonderful to be able to speak and communicate in another language, it is also great to be able to read in another one.

First of all, I enjoy to read books in the original language. It is so much better to be face to face (or face to book) with the author rather than having a third person (the interpreter) getting into the conversation.

Of course, I am not able to speak every single language, so I do have to read translations from time to time, especially if I want more direct knowledge about certain cultures and countries. Again, it is positive to know more than one language. First of all, I can choose the language that is closest to the original one, e.g. French for a Spanish book or German for a Scandinavian one. But there is another huge advantage if you can read more than just English. A lot of foreign books never get translated into English, or only decades after it has been available in many of the smaller languages. I have read many great books by non-English authors that I would not have been able to read if I had only spoken English.

I don't know why that is. I guess there are already enough English books around, so there is no need to translate more into English. But it's a pity because whoever reads English only, loses out.

That's why I am glad that I can read in more than one language.

Having said that, I am extremely grateful to have been given the chance to learn quite a few foreign languages.

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