Twenty candles this year! Since 2001 on 26th September the European Day of Languages has been celebrated.
On earth, there are 208 states, in which 6900 languages have spread. However, every year 25 languages disappear and UNESCO has raised a serious alarm stating that 2,500 languages are at risk of extinction.
We can classify them by affirming that the most widely spoken in the world are Mandarin Chinese, which occupies the first place; Spanish which gets the silver medal; and English with the bronze medal, even though it remains the most important language in the world.
Research carried out by the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy confirms that a new language enhances different areas of the brain, because it favours the creation of neuronal connections. Therefore, learning and studying a language mean not only knowing how to speak, read, write and listen but also memorize words and learn grammar with courage as well as the ability to get involved.
Furthermore, foreign languages are suitable for socialization and leave the door open for knowledge, so that to talk in a global world and to learn new cultures. In addition to broaden our horizons, we could get the job opportunity as interpreters and translators.
Well, consider these two categories. If we pronounce the term polyglot, we refer to a person who is able to speak several languages. While if a person knows from six languages onwards, we enter the realm of hyper-polyglots. Translators are experts in foreign languages. They generally deal with the written translation of texts, songs or the genre of literature. Translations can be literary, legal, editorial, technical and scientific. While interpreters are experts with degrees in languages and communication. They listen, understand and orally translate the dialogues during conferences, television events and shows broadcast internationally. Besides, there are three types of interpreting: simultaneous, consecutive and liaison. The simultaneous interpreter works in the booth and translates through headphones with a wide audience. The consecutive interpreter always works on the stage next to the speaker. Finally, the liaison interpreter works in smaller contexts, for example business meetings, a visit to museums or a company facility, technical courses.
A reference model is worth mentioning because he could tempt us to study more and more languages. His name is Ioannis Ikonomou. He is a true linguist who works for the European Commission as a translator. Foreign languages are his passion and he is fluent in 32 different languages including Greek, English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Finnish, Danish, Russian, Swahili, Hebrew, Arabic and Mandarin.