Language Training and Workforce Development

In today’s increasingly complex global marketplace there is little to no room for miscommunication among coworkers and colleagues, and the management team and investors. Corporations with the goal of global expansion need to be plan ahead if they want to successfully partner with international firms, open offices abroad and meet the demands of a diverse customer base. Small and large businesses alike are now embracing language training and cross-culture training as a key component to a strong human resource strategy – especially when talent management is considering what employees to send on important assignments abroad.  [Read more...]

The Business of Foreign Language in South Carolina

Spanish is one of the most valuable skills to have in America today. Whether you are a student or a professional you will benefit from understanding the language and culture of Spanish speakers. The Spanish speaking minority group in America is steadily growing and their influence in all realms of culture and business is becoming more obvious. The need for diversity, culture training, and professional work force development is the reason Spanish has found its way into the corporate psyche. The benefits of knowing how to speak Spanish are worth the effort because efficient communication is so critical to overall business success. The most popular foreign language classes for businesses in South Carolina are in fact Spanish and German classes. South Carolina has such a strong international presence because of the number of large international business that call the Palmetto State home. German classes are so popular because the large number of German businesses in the state. [Read more...]

How long does it take to learn a language?

One of the most frequent questions we get at our language center is “How long will it take me to be able to speak fluently?”

This is not an easy question to answer. Firstly, it depends on each individual’s level of fluency when they start off each class. Secondly, it depends on the time they are willing to spend practicing and honing their skills outside of the classroom. The more time you focus on your grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and of course, your conversational skills, the better results you will have.

This, however, does not come in two weeks or even two months. There is no such a thing as learning a language quickly, and this can lead to what we like to call: The Frustruation/Progress Arch. It looks something like this:

As you can see, the name pretty much speaks for itself. It’s a phenomenon that anyone who has attempted to learn a second language can identify with: When they start out, they have difficulty understanding basic vocabulary, pronounciation and grammar. This leads to frustration that tends to grow as time goes on and as they take in more material in the classroom. Then they feel overwhelmed, and many give up in the height of their frustration. Big mistake! Turns out that in this period of everygrowing frustration, you are simultaneously embarking on evergrowing progress and growth, even though you may not be feeling it. It’s incredibly important to stick out this period of frustration and exasperation, and remind yourself DAILY that you ARE making progress. It takes time and effort. Eventually, everything will start clicking and making more and more sense: It will take you less time to memorize a set of words, or to understand a particular sentence. You will find yourself helping other students understand some parts of the curriculum, and guess what? You are going to ENJOY the process even more.

In order to succesfully move past the Frustration/Progress Arch, we like to show our students a great selection of in-depth reccomendations when committing to the wonders of a foreign language. Forbes writer Laura Keen consulted second-language acquisition experts, linguists and polyglots to uncover the keys to bilingual success, and the best ways to maintain fluency once it’s been achieved:

1) Don’t waste your money on get-fluent-fast programs.
“There is no method that can do that,” says Robert DeKeyser, a professor of second language acquisition at the University of Maryland. “The only way to learn a language is to make quite a bit of effort on a daily basis.”

2) Don’t try to learn like a child.
“The most counterproductive idea has been the idea that adults should try to learn like children,” says DeKeyser. “The fact that they are adults means that they can no longer learn that way.”

3) Find what works for you and stick with it.
“The main thing is to do a bit every day and to not get discouraged if you miss a day,” says polyglot Richard Simcott. “If audio works for you, do audio. If it’s classes, do classes. But find whatever it is and be consistent.”

4) Interact with native speakers.
Our experts claim this will help immensely with learning slang, common phrases and everyday colloquialisms even when you’re still in your own country.

5) Learn from multiple people.
“When you are exposed to a lot of people you get a much better sense of what the sound of a word is supposed to be,” says Davidson. “You avoid exposing yourself to what could be idiosyncrasies in one individual’s speech patterns.”

6) Learn as much vocabulary as you can.
“Learning loads of vocabulary is really much more useful than learning grammar,” says Simcott. “Learning grammar is good too, but with a lot of vocabulary you can successfully describe anything you need to.”

7) Do a little bit everyday to maintain fluency.
“It takes so much time to learn languages completely even for the best learners,” says DeKeyser. “To maintain it you must do daily practice. It’s quantity and quality that matter.”

8) Challenge yourself beyond what you’re comfortable saying.
“Sign up for political science or philosophy classes where you will be tested beyond asking things like ‘how much is the bread?’” says Simcott. “This will help you understand the culture and the people infinitely better as well.”

One important key that this list leaves out is to take what you’ve learned and travel to the country in question! Nothing beats immersion. These are all important aspects to learning a second language that we maintain in our classroom, and we hope that The Charleston Language Center students keep up with them after they complete their courses with us.

The Details – No Lie.

I purchased a product online the other day with the guarantee that if I spent over $40.00, I would receive free shipping on the product.  So knowing that, I made a purchase and was excited that I would also get my free shipping!

I was excited, until I read the fine print in my confirmation e-mail:

“Shipping: The actual cost of shipping via UPS (based on weight and distance), excluding items on which we offer free shipping, will be included in the amount charged to your credit card. AND… NO CHARGES OR CANCELLATIONS CAN BE MADE TO ORDERS ONCE SUBMITTED”

Its really not the fact that maybe shipping might be included on my credit card now.  I mean, sure, I did all the research to find the product, which after shipping and the cost of the product would be the cheapest overall.  I’m upset that I was lied to… or at least I am left to the mercy of this company, until I see what the final bill is.

The amazing thing is that this type of billing is not unusual.  I can list several businesses in the language service industry that do this very type of cost addition to their customers’ invoice.  Why do consumers put up with this?

The great thing is that no one has to deal with this… And that’s where CORE Languages comes in.  Each month, the billing is straight forward.  We discuss costs upfront and we work with our clients to build the most cost effective plan that is appropriate to them.  The costs stay the same and no one is left wondering what happened when the invoice arrives. We provide our services to meet your goals within your budget and at your convenience.

5 Essential Qualities of a CORE Language Teacher

At CORE Languages, we select our instructors with extreme care. A good teacher is key to the process of growth and learning. Your personal, professional, and academic development is serious business, and we don’t dare take it lightly. You can rest easy knowing that your CORE teacher has carefully and diligently prepared for their lessons. Read on to see what we value in a CORE Language teacher.

A CORE teacher is observant

An essential, non-negotiable trait of any CORE Language teacher is the ability to thoughtfully observe a student. Our instructors have extensive experience with students ranging from children to adults, beginners to advanced students. We select instructors with the ability to make judgement calls based on student progress. You can be sure that your language teacher will constantly adapt to your needs.

A CORE teacher is knowledgeable

Of course this goes without saying, but a good teacher is knowledgeable of his or her subject. At CORE Languages, our teachers are no different. The teachers you will be learning with have spent years developing their skills. They are fully aware that, at times, a teacher must be knowledgeable and comfortable enough to veer from the lesson plan they have prepared. As a student, you have questions, and we are prepared to find the answers you need, wherever it may lead.

A CORE teacher is flexible

Schedules change. Life bounces us around from here to there. Some days are less predictable than others. We get that. Our CORE teachers understand that you may, from time to time, need to reschedule your class. We understand that sometimes circumstances are beyond your control and, within reason, cancellations occur.

A CORE teacher is patient

The popular notions of patience are wrong. A patient man is commonly regarded as passive, quiet, and resigned. But at CORE Languages, we view patience altogether differently. Patience is extremely active, and a good teacher understands that. A good teacher prepares his or herself daily for students who test them. A good teacher does not take for granted that reserves of patience will come running when she or he needs them most. A good teacher is strong and active and ready to fight the battle of restraining impatience at any given moment. A good teacher is alert, scanning his/her classroom for opportunities requiring a strong, patient hand. This is the kind of patience we value at CORE Languages.

A CORE teacher is tireless

In the teaching world, the days are long. They’re exhausting. It seems that there is often no end in sight. Weekends. Free periods. Break time. It’s not long enough. And a CORE teacher understands that it never will be. As my Grandmother so lovingly says, “Welcome to the real world (darlin’).” Our CORE Language instructors are tireless. How many hours does a CORE teacher work each week? As many as it takes.

At CORE Languages and The Charleston Language Center, we only assign top quality teachers to our students. You deserve the best. Call us today or visit our website to see how we can serve you.

Language Classes at the CORE Language Center in Charleston, SC

As noted in our blog updates, CORE Languages is happy to introduce The Charleston Language Center in Mt. Pleasant, SC. We have finally established a classroom setting that further enhances our ability to meet your language needs. From children to adults, students to professionals, tutoring to translation, we’re open for business and ready to serve you. Below is a look at what we’re offering…

At CORE Languages, we understand that language and communication is not restricted to any particular age group or profession. Our programs are designed to serve children preparing for the future, university students who need extra tutoring, business professionals working with international clients, or adults wanting to travel or just learn something new. Our programs are tailored to meet your specific needs and our instructors are sensitive to their student’s goals. What is it you’re looking for?

TOEFL prep

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standard exam for students from abroad preparing to enter American universities. At our CORE Language Center in Charleston, SC we offer TOEFL test preparation classes which are taught by qualified teachers with years of experience. In addition to students hoping to enter English-speaking universities, TOEFL preparation is also very useful for working professionals from abroad as they enter the business world in the US.

Medical Spanish for Healthcare Professionals

I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again: the world is shrinking. Cultures are mixing at an unbelievably fast pace. What that means for Americans is that we are interacting more and more with Spanish speakers who are immigrating here daily. At our new CORE Language Center, conveniently located in the same town as the Medical University of South Carolina, we are offering courses in Medical Spanish. As a medical professional, you don’t need us to tell you how critical clear and accurate communication is when it comes to one’s health and well-being. Let us help you clear up the confusion.

ESL for adults

As mentioned above, our population is growing more diverse each day. To combat this potential gap in communication in the workplace, CORE Languages is offering ESL training specifically for working adults. Our teachers are trained, qualified, and sensitive to the fact that though many adults do not speak adequate English, they aren’t children. At our new CORE Language Center, we provide English instruction that is relevant to the adult world.

Language classes for youth and children

We appreciate the fact that parents want to prepare their children for the future. Children need every advantage possible for when they enter the working world. Preparing them to communicate across cultures is essential to a productive professional adult life. CORE Languages offers beginner courses tailored to younger learners.

Tutoring services for languages

CORE Languages specializes in just that: languages. Many of our classes are focused on English, but that’s not all we do. What language do you or your company need to communicate with? German? French? Spanish? Mandarin Chinese? Whatever your needs, we are prepared to help.

Give us a call today. At our new CORE Language Center in Charleston, SC, we’re prepared to break down the communication barrier and serve you better.

6 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

It’s no secret that the world is shrinking. No, we’re not talking about global warming and sea levels encroaching on shorelines. The world is much smaller because technology is allowing us to interact with people from all around the world. Look around you and you’ll see numerous nations represented in our communities, businesses, and churches. Below are just a small handful of the benefits to learning a foreign language.

1. Better overall communication skills – Language isn’t about learning new words, sentence structures, and local slang. Language is about communicating. People that learn new languages also learn effective communication. They learn to perceive when they are being understood, and how to adapt their message if it isn’t being received. This is a valuable skill among managers with teams to motivate.

2. Better chances of employment – As noted above, the nations are coming to us. Our cities are flooded with immigrants contributing to our society and economy. The ability to communicate with a growing workforce and consumer population that doesn’t speak your native language greatly increases the chances that an employer will want to hire you. Take for example the medical field. Medical Spanish is an ever-increasing skill that is highly desirable among job candidates.

3. Travel – According to St. Augustine, “the world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page.” Learning a foreign language opens many doors. The opportunity to travel and understand your surroundings is one of them. Travel is an education in itself, and learning the local language is a tool to a better understanding of the world around us.

4. Respect – It’s a sad fact, but many who have the opportunity to travel and see the world are western people who expect English to be spoken at every turn. But the reality is that foreign countries are just that: foreign. Especially in the professional world, it is a sign of respect to at least be familiar with the language of those with whom you are doing business. This respect goes a long way in closing many deals and negotiations. In addition, relationships are formed that contribute to growth and profitability.

5. Business opportunities abroad – There’s a countless number of large international corporations searching for qualified job candidates who have the ability to move from country to country. Bosch and BMW are German, Michelin is French, and the suppliers to these companies are endless. These are just a small handful of the foreign companies who value multilingual employees. Companies such as these are foreign, and they operate all over the world, but they also have a huge presence in the US. South Carolina alone is home to thousands of opportunities for people with the ability to communicate in different languages.

6. Better overall development for our children – According to studies conducted by the Duke University Talent Identification Program, children who begin learning a foreign language in their early years generally outperform students who have not had such training. The benefits can be seen in standardized testing, creative and problem solving skills, and overall cognitive development.

Lost in Translation (…or is it Interpretation?)


In the world of communication, two words are often used interchangeably: interpretation and translation. Granted, both words are extremely similar to one another. Yes, they are both found almost 100% of the time in the same context. Yes, they both involve the transfer of information from one person to another.

But, interpretation and translation are not the same thing. In fact, these two words are much more different than you may realize. By definition, to translate is to change a word or set of words from one language to another; to change the form, condition, or nature of; to explain in terms that can be more easily understood. On the other hand, to interpret is to give or provide the meaning of; to explain; to construe or understand in a particular way to bring out the meaning of (a dramatic work, music, etc.) by performance or execution; to perform or render (a song, role in a play, etc.) according to one’s own understanding or sensitivity.

Perhaps a few examples (mistakes) will make this a bit clearer. First, let’s look at translation

Pee Cola – A very popular carbonated beverage bottled in Ghana, Pee Cola translated from the local language means “very good cola”. However, when seen for the first time by English speakers, the brand name has a much different, less appetizing meaning.

Lumia by Nokia – Nokia’s smartphone translates in Spanish slang to prostitute, which is unfortunate, but at least the cell phone giant is in good company. The name of international car manufacturer Peugeot translates in southern China to Biao zhi, which means the same thing.

Barf detergent – In Iran, where this detergent is manufactured, the word barf means “snow.” Outside of Iran, where this detergent is sold, it brings to mind something a tad less white.

Errors in translation can bring about serious consequences. If particular words are not properly translated from one language to the other, an entire message can fall apart. On the other hand, when it comes to interpretation, if errors occur, the results can be just as negative, but slightly different. For example, body language can often be misunderstood and misinterpreted. When two people are talking, if one or both speakers are crossing their arms, it is often interpreted as anger or defensiveness. Likewise, a simple smile can often convey more meaning and affection than one intends. The idea is that to interpret is to assume a deeper, more emotional meaning.

What type of transfer of information is your company looking for? Do you simply need words traded for words, or are you looking for a deeper, more emotionally sensitive transfer? At CORE Languages, we are ready and waiting to assist you in any and every language and communication need you may have.

Live Interpretation vs. Remote Interpretation

Take a moment and see if you can wrap your brain around this… According to, the word run has over 150 different meanings. Let me say that again…not 5Not 50Not even 100Run can be used and defined in more than 150 different ways. Verbs with objects. Verbs without objects. Verb phrases. Nouns. Adjectives. Idioms.

  • to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground.
  • to move with haste; act quickly: Run upstairs and get the iodine.
  • to depart quickly; take to flight; flee or escape: to run from danger.
  • an act or instance, or a period of running: a five-minute run before breakfast.
  • on the run, moving quickly; hurrying about: He's so busy, he's always on the run.
  • while running or in a hurry: I usually eat breakfast on the run.
  • escaping or hiding from the police: He was on the run for two years.


And that’s just a few examples. Needless to say, run is a very versatile word. Every meaning and usage is very similar, yet slightly different. Now imagine the rest of the thousands of words available in the English language. It’s a headache waiting to happen.

The good news? You’ve got options. The bad news? You’ve got a lot of options. So when it comes to your international clients and your business, the question is not “do I need an interpretation service?” but rather “what kind of interpretation service is best for me?”

Not to further complicate matters, but allow me to introduce two more options: live interpretation and remote interpretation. To interpret, to explain, to make clear and meaningful, to bridge the gap of understanding between two persons; this is essential and non-negotiable if you wish to conduct good business and serve your clients well. But how you go about it is up to you.

At CORE Languages, we provide two options. Live interpretation involves placing an interpreter right in the middle of the action. A live interpreter is able to communicate much more than spoken words. He or she can also read body language and emotions. Tone of voice is also much easier to communicate if the interpreter is there in person and on site. A live interpreter can react much quicker to any changes in the message being delivered. However, one significant drawback is that Live Interpretation costs more.

On the other hand, we also provide Remote Interpretation services. This form of interpretation is much more convenient and cost effective. With this option an interpreter is able to work via phone, Skype, conference call, etc. Travel is cut out, which means more speakers of various languages are available. There is virtually no limit to the languages that can be bridged with Remote Interpretation.

The choice now is yours. What are your needs? Which languages are you needing to connect? Are your clients local or overseas? Whatever your communication needs are, at CORE Languages we have solutions that fit directly to your situation. Give us a call so that we can make your day easier by bridging those language gaps.

Medical Interpretation


According to …“The number of people 5 and older who spoke a language other than English at home has more than doubled in the last three decades and at a pace four times greater than the nation’s population growth, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report analyzing data from the 2007 American Community Survey and over a time period from 1980 – 2007. In that time frame, the percentage of speakers of non-English languages grew by 140 percent while the nation’s overall population grew by 34 percent.”

There’s no use in denying it. This world we live in, it’s getting smaller. The people that inhabit our planet are converging upon one another. The Brazilians. The Japanese. German, Colombian, Thai. We’re all rubbing elbows like never before. And just as people are not confined to their geographical place of origin, neither are languages.

…and that’s a good thing.

It can also be confusing, frustrating, and difficult. Basic human nature tells us to shut down and turn away when we don’t understand something. That’s the easy thing to do. But what if you’re in the medical profession? What if life, healing, and personal well-being are your responsibility? What if people are trusting you with their health? By law, medical facilities are required to provide on-site or remote translation in any language. Below are a few examples of translation and interpretation that you will encounter…

Medical Forms

This is the first thing anyone does upon entering a doctor’s office, hospital, or medical facility. Basic information about a person is absolutely vital to providing proper care and attention. Are your forms available in multiple languages? Is anyone ready and waiting to ensure that all of patient’s information is correct, and that he or she can be contacted?

Verbal Communication

After the paper work is done, patients are then led this way or that by a nurse. At this point everything is verbal. A patient must describe what their particular ailment is. A doctor must have the ability to ask questions and fully understand the patient’s responses. Verbal communication is extremely vital when a patient is in pain. A doctor must think and act quickly. It’s his duty, his responsibility, and his oath. Is your medical office prepared to give the best care possible to all people?

Cultural Nuances

Along with a different language comes a different culture. Some cultures are similar to our own, and some are not. To deliver the best medical care possible, it is paramount that medical staff be aware of how patients expect to be treated. Is the man expected to do all of the communication for his wife? Does the patient expect to be examined by a doctor of the same gender as him/her? Are there certain places on the body that even a doctor is not allowed to view or touch? Some cultural norms for patients seem extreme and unnecessary to us, but they are very valid to patients. Is your medical staff prepared to take care of their patients with complete empathy and understanding?

At CORE Languages, our purpose is to ensure that nothing is lost in translation, and that all parties involved receive every piece of vital information. Is your office in need of an interpreter? Does your staff need language training? What about a course in medical Spanish?

In the world of health care, proper, accurate, and understandable communication is (literally) a matter of life and death. How can we help you?