Certified translators can tell you there are a lot more benefits to being multi-lingual than being able to score a job as a translator. Of course, you know the biggies like making travel easier, having more effective global business relationships and being able to show off to that good looking out of country-er you meet at the sidewalk cage. However, the benefits of being multi-lingual go much deeper than you think.
For starters, those lucky enough to learn more than one language at an early age enjoy more intellectual growth and it has been shown to enhance mental development. This means students develop more thinking flexibility, take advantage of higher language sensitivity and generally have a better listening ear than others. However, you don’t need to start as a toddler to get all the benefits.
Here’s why multi-lingual speakers might be leaving others in the dust:
1. You’re less likely to develop dementia
According to research conducted by Dr. Thomas Bak, should a person develop dementia, multi-lingual speakers delayed the onset by 4.5 years when compared to mono-lingual speakers. The reason? The demands of switching between languages is a form of natural brain training. Brain training is something anyone can indulge in, but it’s often put on the back burner—unless you’re multi-lingual.
2. You can multi-task better
Unrelated studies have recently shown only a smidge of people can actually multi-task—but they’re probably multi-lingual. According to researchers at the University of Granada, switching back and forth between tasks uses a very similar brain function as switching back and forth between languages.
3. You’re more sensitive and open-minded
The Financial Times reports that multi-lingual people are naturally more sensitive and open-minded than their mono-lingual peers. It’s the result of seeing from someone else’s point of view, and the innate knowledge that there are all kinds of perspectives.
4. You have better focus
Neurologist Judy Willis reports that multi-lingual people have better focus and don’t fall victim to distractions as easily as others. They’re also more responsive to feedback and make decisions faster than others.
5. You’ll do better on tests
There’s evidence that multi-lingual people perform better on tests (likely because of all the benefits listed above!). Their thinking skills are stronger, and when it comes to making quick decisions—like with timed tests—there’s no doubt that people who speak more than one language have an advantage.
The good news is that it’s never too late to learn a new language. Yes, it’s “easier” the younger you are but that’s no excuse. However, until then, rely on quality translation services instead of a quick and dirty “solution,” like Verbatim Solutions, for complex translations.