I’ve got a question at the end here but some background info is needed (so please be patient!).
First second language:
I spent some years studying Korean and this included finishing a program similar to the one they have at Shir Da. My job now entails much Korean to English translation of technical documents. About 70% of Korean words have Chinese character roots, but, unlike Japanese, Chinese characters are seldom used in Korean. Think of it as using bo po mo fo in all written Chinese with no tone markings, then throw in a nice mix of words (also written using Ju In Fu How) from the language of a native Taiwanese group (interesting thought, huh?).
I studied Chinese for one year. However, my wife is Taiwanese and we speak almost completely in Mandarin. I feel fairly comfortable in Mandarin but I get hung up on vocabulary words because I spent so little time learning the language formally. When speaking with overseas Chinese, this poses no problem because I can just say the difficult words in English.
I’ll be moving to Taiwan soon. I’ll be doing the same kind of work minus the translation duties. If I want to get to where I can translate documents that are very technical in nature (of course into English from Chinese), how should I go about it? It was my original intention to work only with these technical documents, maybe start a language exchange with a coworker(s). But I’m also starting to think now that getting back to a little bit of the basics would be a good investment in time. What do any of you linguists think?