In the translation industry, it has never been enough to be a native speaker: you must also have an understanding of the structure of the language you learned in the cradle, you need to know its ups and downs and its various forms, and finally, to keep a firm eye on its further development.
At school I was “lucky” enough to have a better scholar for both French and German in my class: if I wanted to excel as a linguist, it would have to be in English. As a result I won the School Prize for English in my GCE “O”-level year, 1959.
Although I completed my law degree there, I never found out what the secret of “Oxford English” is: some say it’s just pronunciation, others the way you express yourself. One author actually went so far as to say that it is in truth just the trick of pausing for breath in the middle of the sentence, so that others cannot interrupt you (assuming they want to hear the rest of the sentence)!
My professional wanderings led me to Africa (Ghana) and Australia, among other places, and I also make a six-week trip through the USA and Canada. These journeys helped me to get to know a wide variety of forms of the English language and to appreciate them, since they have enabled English to do what Latin failed to do: stay alive.
Time has not stood still in financial terminology either. Many of the expressions which seemed so new to us bookkeeping apprentices in the 1960s are forgotten today, replaced by “IFRS speak”. In the world of international accounting, many British English expressions have been replaced by American English expressions. Here, too, I am at pains to keep up with developments.