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German Translation Companies – Diary of a German Linguist
Have you ever played scrabble in a foreign language? This might sound weird, but when you are bilingual like me, then this might actually be fun. However, this might not always be the case, because as much is it is fun, it is also sometimes filling me with dread. Why is that, you wonder?
Being bilingual can, at times, be less helpful but quite confusing and not as much fun as people sometimes imagine. That is because your brain is wired slightly differently to normal people. Or let’s say it just works differently to other people. So when I play games like scrabble or do crosswords in the newspaper, then this can be quite difficult for me, if I am only playing it in one language only.
Let me explain this with an easy German game, called “Stadt Name Land” (Town, Name, Country). All participants grab a sheet of paper, make a table with several columns and write at the head of each column â€˜town’, â€˜name’, â€˜country’ and so on. Everyone has to have the same headings in the same order. A letter from the alphabet is randomly chosen and the race is on â€“ every player has to fill in all their columns with towns, names, countries etc beginning with that letter. One word for each column is enough. Whoever has written down a word beginning with that particular letter in each column wins that round. Now why would that be difficult at time for someone that is bilingual? It is because that towns, names and countries are often spelt slightly different between two languages and you will find that things come into your head that actually have the wrong letter to start with, because your brain may be looking up your mental dictionary in the wrong language. Does that make sense?
Maybe go back to that Scrabble game. If you are bilingual and you are looking at the row of seven letters that you have been given, wrecking your brain for words to make out of them or to join up to the already existing ones on the board, I can assure you that there will be words that are popping up in your brain that are in the wrong language. So you can’t use them to score. Your brain may altogether go blank trying to force it do just do one language. This can be seriously frustrating, because you are actually finding good words, but you simply can’t use them.
So it is best to play with players that might be bilingual as you, in the same languages as you. Then there won’t be any arguments over words. Well â€¦
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