Kató Lomb (1909-2003) was a Hungarian translator and one of the first simultaneous interpreters in the world. She was able to fluently interpret in more than one language (10 to be exact) and could translate technical literature in 6 languages.
Altogether, she was able to work with 16 languages, most of them she learned herself without attending any language schools or courses.
Her approach to studying languages was based on complete immersion into language through reading literature in target language, trying to figure out idioms and phraseologisms and on efforts to make sense of idioms and set expressions, without translating every word with dictionary.
Kató Lomb has formulated 10 tips. For anyone who is learning a foreign language, these steps may be helpful for them.
Kató Lomb`s 10 Tips to learning a language
- Study languages every day. If you do not have sufficient time, try to find at least 10-15 minutes to study or revise words and phrases. The most productive time for studying languages is morning hours.
- Try to create your own approach to study if you get bored or if you feel your enthusiasm to study vanish. For example, listen to the radio, instead of reading; instead of learning words by heart, create a small essay which would contain these words. But remember never stop the learning process.
- Do not learn isolated units of speech but rather learn them in the context.
- Try to memorize “pattern phrases” and use them in your speech.
- Translate everything what surrounds you in your mind. E.g. advertisement hoardings, boards, heads of articles, titles of songs etc. It can be an effective warm up for your brain and useful method to train your memory.
- It is a good practice to memorise short phrases and dialog`s. Your teacher must proofread and correct phrases in order to prevent mistakes taking root in your brain.
- Always memorise idioms and set expressions in the first person singular. For example, “I am only pulling your leg”.
- Do not study language isolated. Try to utilise as many approaches as possible. Do this by reading newspapers, belles-lettres and scientific papers, listening to radio, watching movies in their original version, and communicating with native speakers.
- Do not let your fear of making a mistake keep you from speaking. During the conversation ask your interlocutor to correct mistakes, which might appear in the conversation.
- You can beat the language barrier, you just have to be convinced that you can do it. The barrier will break after a while if you keep learning.