Riccardo Moratto


Language teaching: a bridge to a better world


As a child, I constantly felt the urge to learn new languages. Coming from a bilingual family environment, the importance of translation as a bridge between  different cultures has always been very clear to me. However, it was not until a few years ago that I realized that language teaching is a far more solid bridge; one that not only connects different cultures but also leads to greater understanding in a better world. This discovery, fueled by my enthusiasm for languages, was to be a major turning-point in the story of how my passion for language teaching came into being.


I was born in 1985 in Piombino, a beautiful town overlooking the Tuscan coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Since childhood, I have enjoyed the benefits of a bilingual environment. It’s of no coincidence that I myself am bilingual. My grandfather migrated fromLibya during the war and spoke mainly English. Also, I befriended an American during my childhood and teenage years and her family took me in as one of their own.


In 1991, my mother suddenly became blind. Consequently, our family was forced to relocate to Rome where my mother could attend a school for blind people, while I attended my first year of elementary school. After my mother had completed her program, during which she was taught how to organize her new life and how to cope with daily challenges, we moved back to Piombino, where I completed all five years of elementary school with the highest marks.


Over the next few years, while I attended junior high school, I began to show an ever-increasingly flair for language-learning and for communicating with people from different cultures.




For two years in a row, in 1997 and 1998, I won the first prize in an English-French-German regional-provincial competition organized by “Leon Battista Alberti” linguistic institute. During this time, I also deepened my passion for the arts. I studied piano in the conservatoire and took part in several concerts  in Tuscany and Rome as a singer. I also played the clarinet in concerts organized by the band “Galantara”, located in my hometown of Piombino.


In 1999, I started my first year at a trilingual high school (English, French and Italian). It was during these years that I had many meaningful and formative experiences from a linguistic point of view. I decided to go abroad and attend international schools in Oxford, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cork, Los Angeles, San Diego, Toronto, Chambery, Briançon and Innsbruck. At the same time, I also took part in internationally recognized language exams such as CAE and DALF. In the summer of 2004,I obtained my high school diploma by discussing a thesis on the concept of “Infinity” from the ancient Greeks to modern mathematical discoveries in Italian, English, French and German.


In the autumn of 2004 I moved back to Rome where I enrolled in the faculty of Languages and International Communication (Linguistics) and I had the opportunity to increase my knowledge of the Chinese language. In 2006, I moved to Bergen, Norway where I studied and cooperated with the sociolinguist Karol Janicki  of the Universitetet i Bergen. Perhaps strangely, it was in Norway that I ended up enhancing my knowledge of Chinese and my passion for language-teaching, thanks to the co-operation of the local Chinese-speaking community.


Back in Italy, I worked as an intern at the Public and Media Relations Office of the American Embassy to the Holy See in Rome. And in July 2007,  I obtained my BA degree with a thesis on generative grammar applied to the syntax of Chinese with an evaluation mark of 110 out of 110 cum Laude.  In 2007, I also passed the internationally recognized Chinese Language exam HSK.


In the fall of 2007, I decided to specialize in simultaneous conference interpreting at the University of Bologna. I obtained my MA degree in July 2009 after just twenty-one months, an unprecedented achievement. I discussed a thesis on “Teaching Chinese to Italian simultaneous interpreting: an introduction to challenges and approaches – number syntax conversion and成語 (chéngyŭ)” and I obtained an evaluation mark of 110/110 cum Laude. In the summer of 2008, I won a scholarship from the National Science Council in Taiwan via their representative office in Paris, France, for a three-month-long project in Taipei, where I moved to in the summer of 2008 to co-operate with two universities (Fujen Catholic University and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology) and local interpreters. Back in Italy, in the winter of 2009, I was appointed tutor for the internationalization and linguistic support of Asian students in my alma mater. In the spring of 2009 I won a yearly scholarship from the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs to go to Shanghai, China where I moved to in the autumn of 2009.


In 2010, I moved back to Taiwan where after several experiences in English, Italian and French language-teaching, I began to work as an official freelance interpreter for ICE (Italian National Institute for Foreign Trade), for which I provided simultaneous interpreting services for eminent figures like the vice-president of Taiwan and the Minister for Economic Affairs and as a freelance translator for some of the main translation companies. In April 2010, I became the director and supervisor of the new series "Languages of the World," edited by La Bancarella publishing house.


In September 2010, I began my academic career teaching at Fujen University  and carried out my research project at National Taiwan Normal University as a Ph.D researcher in the translation and conference interpretation department. I was the first foreign student to ever be admitted in the program.


In December 2012, I received my Ph.D. from National Taiwan Normal University in Taiwan. And in September, 2013, I started teaching at Shih Chien University and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.


I don't know what my future holds, but I definitely know that my passion for language-learning and language-teaching is as strong as ever. Language teachers have a very special mission – to lay the foundation for the construction of a very long and solid bridge to greater understanding in a better world and this is exactly what I have been working for in the last five years.


In the near future, I see myself pursuing an academic career and continuing my research in the field of linguistics, translation studies and language teaching. At the same time, I hope that my passion for international communication will encourage students to hone their language skills in order to better understand their neighbor and, indirectly, their own culture and language.


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