I'm about to start the Middle Eastern Studies program at the University of Chicago. For the past several months I figured I'd focus on Arabic for my two-year language requirement, since I have a bit of a head start and have been enjoying it. Eventually becoming a translator of Arabic is something I'd be very happy about.
However, the language has to relate to my thesis. I realized today that the general topics that interest me most, such as the Silk Road and culinary history, might be better served by my studying Persian instead of Arabic.
Here are my questions for you:
1. Do you find Arabic or Persian more enjoyable in a linguistic sense? Why?
2. In terms of eventual translation job prospects, would one be significantly more practical for me to study?
Thanks in advance.