As an interpreter with over fifteen years of international experience, I have worked with numerous organizations such as the United Nations, European Union, Prime Ministers of different countries and multinationals such as Philips, Hero, Bridgestone, Pringles and many more. Each interpreting assignment holds great value for me, whether it’s a massive international summit or a small company meeting. Key skill in every single conference, meeting, summit or press conference is having a world class vocabulary in the languages that I speak and translate in. Now let’s take a look at three simple, yet very effective techniques on how to take your vocabulary to the next level.
Take colorful post-it notes and write down fifteen of the most important words that you need for your upcoming exam, presentation or touristic trip. Now place these post-it notes on the most important spots in your house. Great examples are the mirror, doors, picture frames, dinner table and the refrigerator. Make sure that every time you walk around in the house, your eye catches the colorful post-it notes and you read the new words multiple times a day. You will be surprised on how repetition creates mastery. The more you read the new words that you are in the process of memorizing, the faster your mind will internalize them.
If you have busy days ahead where you are constantly on the move, you will need more than just colorful reminders in the house. Especially if you don’t plan to be home much. Take a page and colorful pens (colors work perfect to fragment the mind) and make a list of the fifteen most important words that you want to learn in the next two days. Fold this list in pocket size and carry it in your pocket, phone case or bag. Now, I know that we live in the age where technology has taken over and you are probably thinking, “let me just use my note pad on my phone”. You can but I recommend not to because knowledge written down by YOU in your own handwriting has proven to be three times more effective for memorizing than reading information on digital screens. Writing actively enhances the memorizing process. Information that is written down in your own handwriting will feel more familiar to you while at the same time, it will strengthen the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex of your brain. Whether you are in the line at the grocery store, you are waiting for your turn at the hairdresser or barber or you wait on an appointment, pull out your magic list and start the memorizing process. Your brain will thank you for it!
Now if you want to add some play to your vocabulary enhancing process, a word raffle is the best way to go. Cut out thirty small pieces of paper and write a new word and it’s translation on each tiny piece of paper. Again, you can use colors to sharpen your mind and help your mind compartmentalize all the new information. Now fold each piece of paper in a more tiny piece and put it in a small box or bag. Shake the box or bag and pull out a piece of paper and read it out loud. Repeat the new word three times in your mind and put it back in the box or bag. Do this multiple times a day and make sure you learn at least five to ten words every single day. You can also do this with a friend or your partner and make a little game out of it. A little competition or bet won’t hurt anybody, let’s see who learns more words in one day. Enjoy!