3. Use technology intelligently.
Information technology has revolutionised the way we communicate and access information. Acquiring another language is no exception. Many online tools and apps can assist us with the process. Duolingo, Babbel or Memrise, to name a few, can get you started. However, whilst online translators can be useful if you want to access a text in a language you barely know, they have lots of limitations. The translations are usually approximative and a language learner lacks the proficiency to notice or correct dubious translations. That said, some online dictionaries can be very useful, especially if they provide some explanations and context sentences. Some recommended sites include Wordreference or Pons. Wordreference even has a forum where you can ask questions about specific word or phrase use. Linguee is also an excellent site as it provides an extensive list of context sentences in two languages for words that do not translate in a literal way. In these cases, translations are made under the supervision of a professional translator, not just by an algorithm! Oh, and I had to mention Le Bon Patron (a.k.a. SpellCheckPlus in its English version) that allows you to find, understand and correct your own grammar and spelling mistakes. The website points to the language issues but you still have to do the work to correct them. It’s not 100% accurate, but does help in many cases.
I hope this post has helped convince you that, in the 21st Century, learning an additional language is more relevant than ever, and offered you some guidance on how to tackle it. I will leave you with this Czech proverb: