Foraying into the world of languages is not an easy task for many, in fact once you claim to be a language professional or being good at languages, it comes with added responsibility upon you to make sure that even the slightest mistake can hold you into bad light. That does not mean a human being who is excellent at communication and languages cannot make mistakes. There are times when it happens, but accepting it and not blaming in upon the fact of being a slip of the tongue will take any language professional a long way into the perfection and beauty of knowing any language. Knowing many languages is not an art, but being able to practice whatever you learn of the language holds immense importance.
With the advent of new technologies and globalisation, the world is definitely a smaller place. But learning any new language definitely cannot go waste in today’s global village. Imagine a situation where you are, to your utter surprise greeted with ‘Hola’ in Spanish, ‘Bonjour’ in French, ‘Hallo’ in German and ‘Namaste’ in Hindi, wouldn’t it be amazing if you are able to give back the same greeting, it would be so much more colourful and the pleasantries exchanged will have such a deep impact on the relationships you make with the other person.
Jobs are typically available in the following fields like communications, teaching and training, public relations and marketing on a broader perspective.
A degree in linguistics is useful for teaching abroad, publishing roles and roles in government administration.
Linguistics graduates also go into jobs where they can use their knowledge of linguistics directly, such as working for dictionary compilers or as proofreaders and editors.
Others train as speech and language therapists or as teachers, or find work teaching English as a foreign or second language. There are also opportunities in computer programming and information technology.
Typical employers include:
- media organisations
- publishing companies
- marketing and PR companies
- Civil Service, especially on the Fast Stream
- law and accountancy firms
- IT and telecommunications firms
- primary and secondary schools
- language schools all around the world with a recognised degree from a well known institute
Linguistics graduates are well equipped to undertake careers ranging from marketing and publishing to speech and language therapy. Some of the top jobs include:
Jobs directly related to the language you learn be it English, German, French, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish or Russian. These are not the only languages to be learnt but all over the world, few of them have high demand and pay scale.
- English as a foreign language teacher
- Proofreader/ Editor
- Speech and Language Therapist
- Teaching Assistants at Universities
Jobs that could make good and comprehensive use of your degree:
- Digital Copywriter
- Editorial Assistants
- Information Officers at Embassies
- Marketing Executives in base languages
- School Teachers
- Public Relations Officers
- Social Researchers
- Data Interpretation Specialists and Market Researchers
- Project Managers with Technical Base and Knowledge of Language Fields
- Language Specialists and Trainers for Conglomerates
The foremost effect it will have on your life is trouble free travelling and an enriching experience in the country where you plan to travel for any purpose be it business, fun, personal or culture. With so many MNCs setting foot in India it is definitely a win- win situation for both the sides. Personalized language training is one area that is gaining momentum at fast pace. With language institutes exhausting their supply thanks to the overshooting demand of learning languages, this area promises a good future.
The calibre of learning a language differs from individual to individual with the amount of time, interest and determination you put into the same as well as the purpose for which any individual would learn the language. The areas of competence that are included in the whole process should be equally defined and chartered out to give the learner a wholesome approach towards grasping and capturing the heart of the language. It sounds quite superficial in this paragraph when you explain the nuances of these things, but believe me once you get into learning one so dramatically and passionately, any other language you learn has to have the same intent and perfection with which you learnt your first language, be it foreign or regional.
Skills honed on a linguistics degree include transcribing and analysing language and understanding and critiquing theories and ideas. You learn how to present linguistic data in various formats.
Research skills are also developed, especially regarding the accurate collection of data, research methodology, analysis techniques and statistical analysis while using IT packages.
Students study the subject of communication and pick up excellent communication skills, in written form through writing up research, and oral communication by interacting with language subjects.
Generic, transferable skills include:
- team work
- problem solving
- using your own initiative
- time management and organisation skills.
Further study in the same field could include doing Masters, degrees in philosophy, creative writing, research based topics related to technical base like Computational Linguistics, Media and Communication Studies, Language Project Management trainings, learning IT tools like SAP, Citrus etc.in base languages, getting to know TRADOS tool, the famous tool used for translation etc.
University research, corporate training and academic teaching are common options after an ample amount of experience. Many postgraduate diplomas and certificate courses are available to enhance particular areas of languages like translation technical and medical, interpretation, conversation skills, commercial language etc. separately.
Although further study is not a requirement for careers in areas such as HR, journalism, IT and social research, further vocational study may enhance your chances of employment, particularly when combined with relevant work experience.
The seeds that you sow reap out the benefits after a stipulated period of time. Be it diplomatic relations, translation and interpretation industry, cross cultural trainings or working as expatriates, learning any popular language makes sure that your brain keeps ticking. Stereotypically it is also said people who are good at languages often are right brained individuals who have at some point of their life hated the fact that they had to do Math! :P. Though, there are many who manage both equally well, and in such a wonderful scenario, who can stop you from exploring futuristic avenues.
A famous saying goes this way “When in Rome do what the Romans do”. Flexibility, agility and adaptability are the qualities which may come naturally to you after the language learning frenzy strikes you hard. In many cases you are ready to undergo and face any situation that comes your way!
For any help on a specific language field you may contact the language experts individually for the progression.
Coming to English, Spanish, German and French here are the institutes that will offer best training :
English – British Council IELTS Certification Courses, Symbiosis Academy of Languages, TIME
German – Goethe Institut or Max Mueller Bhavan across India, JNU, University of Mumbai, University of Pune, Delhi University, Osmania University, Ranade Institute of Foreign Languages
French – Alliance Francaise branches all over India, University of Pune, JNU, Pondicherry University, University of Chennai, Anna University, many local institutes in Goa.
Spanish – Instituto Hispania (branches all over India) , Instituto Cervantes (branches all over India), Ranade Institute, Delhi University, JNU.
(this is from personal experience)
Coming to my experience I learnt German and English and presently pursuing BEd to get a chance in schools since I am planning a family, and being a woman I need to concentrate on both personal and professional life. I worked with Bosch for three years in the HR, Project Management and translation areas working on various German and Spanish projects that came my way. I did a C2 in German and know Elementary Spanish. English is a must in the corporate world. Before getting a corporate job I used to work as a trainer for German at a local institute teaching junior college students. During my graduation I pursued internships with Deutsche Bank and Sakal Media Group in the communication sector therefore I could get a wholesome view of what I was best at and wanted to do further. During my career at Bosch I enhanced my Business English, Business German and technical expertise in the languages in which I did my projects.
A language career has also helped me travel to 20+ countries not only because I knew the language but also because I made long lasting connections and learned a few other skills to enhance that expertise.
All the best on the road not taken if you are a confident and determined individual.
Exclusively compiled for Praneet Joshi by Rucha Sudhir Khot.
BA (Economics), MBA (HR), BEd (Pursuing)
Language Expert and Teacher