Writing is both mask and unveiling.

E.B. White

Writing in English is an enormous challenge not only because it’s not my mother tongue there are some incompatibilities with my writing style…

Today, a colleague of mine told me that he likes the vocabulary I use even when the structure can be wrong. From my perspective, in a scientific area such as chemistry the language needs to be something practical rather than beautiful. Besides, for most native speakers writing becomes an automatic process which leads to direct and simplest sentences.

The use of certain words or structures which may be correctly applied does not necessarily indicate a good use of the language. This statement has been explained to me as a consequence of differences between the cultural background of non-native speakers. In other words, some expressions or words sound less natural than other depending on the context.

These premise does not necessarily mean you have to live a big part of your life in England or the States -for example- to achieve a natural proficiency in English. Even in some cases, the overall process to gain it might be too long and not even complete. It makes me think that probably the way English is structured -as I have described early in this entry- leads to a narrow use of the language.

What do you think?

Totally apart from the initial thought that has motivated this entry but not necessarily far from that. I have spent great time in Geneva visiting a friend that I’ve made in Bristol two years ago during the last two weekends. Clem is studying a Master degree in translation at Geneva University. When I asked her what is like becoming a translator her answer was completely different from what I’d have had expected. Learning foreigner languages is not the most important part of her degree. Indeed! The final goal is to achieve the highest necessary level in her mother tongue according with her particular area of study. As well, she needs to learn different techniques to translate into the different language she is interested in.