Most English to Chinese translators do not have many chances to speak English in daily life. They are good at reading English but not so much in spoken English. I would not say that spoken English is a must skill for translator but it would be a plus. Then how do we improve our spoken English?

I am a strong believer that we need to learn things step by step. For language learning, this means first input then output. I know most translators are quite good at reading as this is what they do every day at work, but do they understand every English movie or news? Not always. So the first thing to do is improve our listening. This means we need more practice and listen to English more.

The most easily accessible materials would be English movie or TV shows. They are more interesting and easier to learn, too. If you just watch TV, you would not get much improvement because you would tend to read the subtitle.

But if you watch English shows without subtitle, it would not work, either. Because if you do not understand a word or a phrase, you would not understand it no matter how hard you try without checking the subtitle.

Read Also: Some Notes for English Translation

So my suggestion is, convert the video into audio and listen to the audio when you are free such as on the way to work or when you are doing housework. When you come across a new word or idiom that you do not understand, check the subtitle next time you watch it.

After that, you still have to listen to the audio for several times so that you get familiar with all the expressions. After you do this for a while, you have already built up your way of communication in English; you need to practice your oral English with other people.

Language is a tool for communication. If you do not use it, what is the point of learning it? And I believe using a language to communicate with others is the best way to master it. In this internet world, there are a lot of ways to practice your oral English.

There are English QQ groups, various English websites and forums for you to practice your written English, and skype, YY English channels for you to practice your spoken English.

As translators have already known a lot about English, such as grammar and vocabulary, I think the very thing we need to do is more practice. Only by this way can we improve our spoken English.

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