I do choose audiobooks carefully, of course, because the narrator's skill level matters. And then, I dial down the pace just a couple of notches so that the narration is slower than the original. This allows me to catch the stresses and emphases, lilts and cadences, and rhythms and changes in tonality.
How does this help me as a translator? Well, listening is the first and most basic language skill we all learn well before speaking, reading, or writing. As the latter three communication skills evolve, though, listening tends to suffer. And, far from being a passive listening experience, I've always found listening to audiobooks a deeply interactive and interpretive process if approached correctly. Yes, we have to re-develop our listening stamina if our 24/7 online world has destroyed it. But consider how effective language learning, in terms of both comprehension and interpretation, is impossible without strong listening skills. Consider how the best communication strategies involve evaluative listening abilities.
Over to you. How do you feel about audiobooks? Do you have any particular strategies for improving your language learning and translating skills through listening (whether you do that with audiobooks or something else)? Please let me know via the social media links or in reply to this newsletter. I'll share it on.
Until next week.