Travers’ big idea: learn a language, get clients

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  • Could it be worth doing Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Portuguese as well/instead?

    It's a big enough firm

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  • 2009. London lawyers discover there are other cultures beyond the M25!!!! They are different!!!! And if you want to sell something to them, you have an advantage if you speak their language!!! This is such apocalyptic news that Roland Emmerich will make a film about it.

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  • I love how the brits automatically assume that learning Arabic, Chinese or Russian is more worthwhile without even considering how HUGELY difficult they are, in particular as the vast majority of english solicitors stuggle with the basics of French, German, Italian and Spanish, why would it be a better idea to try and learn a language that shares no comment alphabet or ver structures?

    It's better to learn a European language at which you have a shot of actually learning to hold up a conversation in short space of time rather than wasting hours and hours on learning an exotic language that, with the same amount of effort, will have you able to use generic phrases instead of actually constucting dialogue.

    Good on ya Travers'! Bon courage und viel Glück!

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  • I agree with [9:13am]- you are hardly likely to impress a potential client in Vladivostock by simply learning to parrot well-worn tourist phrases in Russian such as 'Please tell me where to find the local uranium mine'

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  • Idiots.

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  • Bertie Berlitz made me spray coffee over my laptop with his post.
    Given that we are allied to Europe it's not entirely unreasonable that we at least try to show a little courtesy and respect for our neighbours by learning a few phrases before we invoice them.
    A bouteille over the head in a cafe seems far more civilised than a Newcie Brown across the back of the Judge Dredd.
    To try though and out Boris the Russians by trotting out a Berlitz language course is deeply insulting to a rich history and culture stretching back centuries - not least because of the assumption underpinning such courses that Russian is a common Dalek language spoken exactly the same in every region of what is a truly vast continent...
    Same with China...
    There is little excuse for not speaking a local -ish language like German and French and every excuse from not being able to tell your Hakka's from your Hong's...
    I still remember trying to learn Manadarin in Hong Kong from a course that had such rich phrases as: "Can you direct me to the Sun Yat Sen memorial?" and "Where can I buy fodder for my litter of pigs?"
    Over to you Links...

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  • Hey, I am already fluent in 4 languages and good in few others. What about giving me a training contract?? hehe

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  • Each post has its own valuable point.
    However, for still unknown to me reasons I failed to secure TC with international firms after making numerous applications and trying to sell my language skills. The firms didn’t even want to give me legal experience…
    Having obtained two law degrees from different countries and LPC in a foreign language (English) plus speaking fluently two other languages, I was left in a battle of oneself, because employers failed to see my personality through robotic applications, they failed to appreciate what it takes for a foreigner to achieve within a few years on arrival; they failed because I could have brought connections they were looking for, niche areas that I could have helped to develop and create unique international relations.
    People who say they can speak “difficult” languages and conduct business put a smile on my face (I’ve listened to too many criticisms from those on the other side), the majority cannot (I met only one in all those years!) and it takes years to learn and it is not just about talking in another language, it is also about understanding another culture. I was misunderstood and ignored like an ugly duckling, but never mind, I make money for those who saw my talents through the debris of modern bureaucracy.

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  • I was going to comment on how insular the Travers move seemed, but from the posts above it appears to me that there is enough ignorance out there to justify their "softly softly" approach. Krusty, I don't know about you, but my French and my German classes all included learning how to ask for directions to well-known locations. Is there some reason you feel asking about the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial is beneath you (notwithstanding the memorial in question, I believe, is in Taiwan). Is that more 'rich' than asking about the Louvre? And I don't think the phrase you are being taught, whether about pigs or otherwise, matters if you're learning to construct sentences. It sounds to me that you are all about learning phrases, when actual language learning, as I'm sure we all agree, is about more than that. Those who have a knack for it can learn any language. It's a skill, and less of a geographical issue (especially given most native English speakers only speak it instinctively, rather than with reference to grammar and syntax that one normally needs to use to learn a foreign language) than you appear to suppose. Certainly you display no obvious ability in any language (including English) in your post, but I will assume that's because you don't care to be precise or clear. In which case, I will also assume that your working universe is broadly local, and hence your attitude towards languages in places a bit too far away for you to have to deal with. I work in Asia, but I speak French, Mandarin, Cantonese and German on a fairly regular basis for work.
    I know someone who taught herself Russian in 1 year as an additional A-Level, with no school support, and who is now at "Oxbridge" continuing her education in that language. Can I persuade you that just because Russian is hard and you don't think you'll ever be fluent in it, doesn't mean you shouldn't start to learn something, even if only by way of Berlitz?

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  • Construction lawyers would do well to learn more than a smattering of Yawi (a Malay dialect written in Arabic script and spoken by the inhabitants of Southern Thailand) as the widespread destruction caused by internecine violence in the area has created a plethora of opportunities for the adventurous property developer.

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