Translation musings: what language do you dream in?

Oct 4, 2013 | Language

Orange translate buttonI am very lucky to work in a multi-cultural office with my colleagues speaking, between them, French, German, Portuguese, Hungarian, Chinese, Spanish and Japanese (and more, I’m sure!). And one of the first questions I ask my bilingual friends is what language do you dream in?

I remember a long, long time ago, being told by my French O level teacher (yes, I am that old!) that you know you can speak a language well when you don’t have to translate it back to your first language. As a 13 year old, it took me a while to get that concept; that the second language would be so familiar to you that you wouldn’t need to always be thinking ‘now, what’s that in English..?’. But my colleagues all speak, think and, in some cases anyway, dream in their second language. (Although, I’ve noticed that they often count in their mother tongue!)

Isn’t that amazing? Respect to all the polylinguals out there!


Image credit: <a href=’’>tashatuvango / 123RF Stock Photo</a>