What is Being Fluent in a Language?

fluent in language

What is Being Fluent in a Language?

(Last Updated On: August 7, 2020)

A lot of times we jump into things without learning all about them. It causes problems for us but we never learn. Humans love to wing it and come up with plans on the go. However, this behavior is a dangerous one to follow when you enter professional life. If you don’t know all about handling a machine, you can’t try to push all of its buttons to see which ones will work. You will end up breaking the machine and losing the job too. In fact, you won’t even get the job without the necessary qualification and prior experience. But there are things that don’t come up in the interview and people get away with hiding a few facts about them. However, when they end up working in an office, that’s when the problems start showing their face.


If a pilot didn’t learn about all the controls on an airplane’s panel, not only will they fail to fly the plane in a proper way but also put the lives of hundreds of people at risk. The same applies to a doctor performing surgery. They can’t expect to learn about different veins and arteries after cutting open a patient. These are the things that companies don’t explain because they expect all their potential employees to already know everything about the field. But some people ignore the unspoken rules and apply for positions without knowing all about their field.

In the world of languages and the translation industry, there are plenty of different terms that people don’t know the meaning of. These terms have become so common that everyone has a basic idea of what they mean but no one knows the limits attached to the terms. For instance, people tick off the boxes of various languages when asked about the ones they are fluent in without realizing what being fluent means. Learning new languages is not an easy task, no matter how many apps have started offering interesting lessons and quizzes to teach them. Developing a basic understanding of a foreign tongue to the point where you can get your point across may not require a lot of time. But being able to understand songs and tv shows in that language is another point entirely.

fluent in language

Terms in Translation and their Meanings:


Whether you are a translator or someone who frequently requires translations, it is important to know the meaning of common terms so you don’t have to face any problems when dealing with those terms. Even those interested in languages should know these terms and have a basic knowledge of translation related things so if they are ever in need of an interpretation, they can make their demands confidently.

What is Being Fluent in a Language?

You may have heard the word fluent many times. There are job advertisements that mention the requirement of the applicant being fluent in a language. But what exactly being fluent means? It is just being able to talk in a language? Or is it a better level of command on that vernacular? Different linguists define fluency in their own way. In Europe, there are six different proficiency levels of language. But many agree that to be fluent, you have to be able to read and speak a language with ease. Some say that to be able to read a newspaper in a tongue means you are fluent. Which means you have a good enough vocabulary of that language to be considered fluent in that.


If you can speak a few words of a vernacular to carry out a basic conversation with someone, don’t consider yourself fluent and do not mention that tongue on your resume.

What is a Native Language?

fluent in language

Everyone has heard the word native and they all have an idea about its meaning. But what does it mean when someone says native language? Also, native translators is another term that is common in the translation industry. Does it have to do anything with native language?


Most of the linguists agree that a native language is the one the child is exposed to in their childhood. It could be the language spoken in the region they live in and the one spoken in home. However, if the two are different, the native language will still be the one spoken in the region where you are born and spent your childhood in. The vernacular spoken at home will be called your mother tongue. Native translators are the people who translate their native language. Having a deep understanding of their native tongue make them better at their job then non-native translators.

When are you Bilingual?


Learning a second or third vernacular is not an easy task and those who do so possess a higher intelligence than those who can’t. But who exactly is a bilingual? Certainly not someone who can speak one tongue and know a few words in another. Here again the term has different meanings depending on who you are asking. But most people think that being able to think in both languages make you a bilingual. Another way to be sure is when you can talk in both tongues with the same fluency or don’t have to think before speaking your second language. When you stop translating the second language in your head that means you have gotten enough knowledge of it to become a bilingual.


Now that you know the meanings of the common linguistic terms, you can start your career as a translator or begin learning new vernaculars to expand your linguistic abilities.

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