In today’s ever-moving society, many people learn a second language directly from a parent outside of the country where that language is spoken. Those of us in the translation industry have a term for these unique people; they’re known as heritage language learners.
A heritage language learner is someone learning a second language that’s considered a minority language in their country of residence. For example, a person may grow up in Spain speaking Spanish but learns English from their two British parents. Often you’ll find that as a result of learning English in a country that is Spanish-dominant, the speaker will feel more confident communicating in Spanish than English. This could be due to the fact that they have only had English linguistic input from a couple of people.
Within the UK we have a long history of welcoming immigrants from other countries so there are many who don’t use English as their first language. Did you know there are approximately 950,000 speakers of Polish as a first language living here in the UK? There are also many speakers of languages from the Indian subcontinent. Prominent examples of this include Punjabi and Gujarati being among the most widely spoken.
So if you identify as a heritage language learner, fear not! Within a translation context, if you don’t feel comfortable enough translating or proofreading your own documents, reach out. We’d be happy to help.