I am sure that, just like me, you have all heard people talking about how fluent they are in this language or that one: some people even put a percentage on how much they know about a language, so it is no surprise that the CV’s we translate here at Terra Traducciones clearly state that so-and-so speaks and writes English or French at 80% fluency (whatever that means). However, how do we decide if we are fluent in a language or not? If you, like most of us, are unsure about your proficiency in a foreign language, never fear, we are here to help!

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, fluency is

The ability to speak or write a foreign language easily and accurately”; it can also mean “the ability to express oneself easily and articulately”, be that in our native language or in another.  So, what does this actually mean in real-world terms?

Fluency means that you are not only able to speak or write in a grammatically and syntactically accurate manner; it means that you are capable of responding quickly and effectively to a range of situations and predicaments in a different language.

Think about the following questions, and ask yourself if you would be capable of doing this in a foreign language:

If you answered “yes” to more than 3 of these questions, then you are probably well on your way to fluency. Congratulations!

I am originally from the United Kingdom and have been living here in Mexico for the past 15 years. It took me a long time to successfully move away from the Castilian Spanish I had learned at school and embrace the Mexican Spanish that I have grown to love.

So, next time someone asks you whether or not you are fluent in a language, try to remember that the answer may not be quite so simple as saying: “Yes! I am 80% fluent in English!”

Language acquisition is a gradual and on-going process that requires constant effort and dedication. I can tell you, from my own experience, that even after 15 years of living in Mexico, I learn something new every single day.

Why not follow us on Facebook (@TerraTraduccionesMx) for more tips and articles about how to improve your English and take the next step toward fluency.