[Originally published on 12 December 2013]
It’s a very common belief that when learning a foreign language one is better served with a native speaker teacher. In translation it is a rule that a translator only should translate into his/her native language.
But… is it so?
In all fields, a good professional is a good professional. And the majority of the professionals are not that good. That’s why there are rules and this kind of beliefs. People think that these rules and beliefs will take them safely where they want to go. Well, guarantees are illusions. The only way to know if a professional is actually good is to take a risk.
A native speaker could be a lousy teacher/ translator while a person who learned that particularly foreign language can excel in translating/ teaching it. The same applies to bilinguals. Just because they are native speakers in two or more languages doesn’t mean they are good in teaching/ translating those languages.
The best language teachers/ translators are the ones who seem to be destined to be language teachers/ translators. Despite of all the rules and all the beliefs.
Check other articles related to translation and languages.