Sunday, February 19, 2012

Parallel Translations: Powerful Ammo for the Would-Be Language Learner

Are you studying several foreign languages at the same time?

One powerful technique in building reading comprehension is to peruse parallel translations of the same book passage in all your target languages.

With most books, compiling all your languages on one sheet using translation sites and cut-and-paste commands would be time-consuming. But with sacred texts, such as The Bible, the work has already been done for you – in the form of parallel translation Web sites.

Biola University, for example, has a site called The Unbound Bible -- – which offers the user a large collection of searchable online Bibles in dozens of languages, both ancient and modern. Their wide range of choices includes Manx Gaelic, Tagalog and Swahili.

The site visitor can display on the computer screen a searched Bible passage in up to nine parallel languages. For fun, I choose Modern Greek, Norwegian, Esperanto, Italian, Icelandic, Romanian, Portuguese, Russian and Czech.

Being able to instantly see parallels in related languages, such as Dutch and German in the Germanic family, or Spanish and Portuguese in the Romance family, speeds learning.

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