Learning new languages is a hobby for some, and for some, it may be a passion. But for most people I know, learning new languages is a pursuit towards better job opportunities and satisfying career.
But what exactly are these job opportunities and career options that make it worth spending so much time in learning a foreign language? This might be the question which brought you here to this post. So without wasting any time, I’ll get started right away.
Foreign language Translator
Becoming a foreign language translator is one of the easiest options to choose from once you’ve attained a certain amount of expertise in a foreign language. You could either apply to work for a private business, an embassy, or choose the Freelance route.
A foreign language translator converts texts from a certain language into other languages. This conversion is mainly in the written form and hence requires superior writing and comprehension skills.
Depending on the language, it may either be really easy or really hard to find full-time jobs as a translator. For example, there are many companies hiring translators for Mandarin, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and German languages. But that is not the case with other languages such as Portuguese and the Korean language. So you really need to know the best foreign languages to learn before making a choice.
If you choose to become a freelancer instead, there are plenty of advantages that will come with it. Firstly, you get to work as per your own choice and at your own desired pace and location. Secondly, there are just about as many job opportunities for a freelance translator as there are for an in-office job as a translator.
However, there are some minor disadvantages too while working as a freelance translator. Firstly, companies are willing to pay way more to those working an in-office job as compared to freelancers. Secondly, you’d have to know how to market yourself and construct a business mind in order to really squeeze out the benefits that come with freelancing.
If working as a freelance translator is on your mind, then you can make an account on sites such as Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer to gain more exposure and attract business opportunities with your skills in a foreign language.
Foreign language Interpreter
Most people confuse jobs of an interpreter and a translator to be one and the same thing. Let me make this absolutely clear- they’re NOT the same. A translator converts a specific text into a language of their knowledge in the written form, whereas an interpreter’s job is to help two people speaking different languages communicate with each other.
Say, if you don’t know English and only understand Arabic, then I’d need an interpreter to hear my English and speak out the same to you in Arabic. I hope this helps understand the difference between the two.
Now coming to the job and career opportunities as a translator, you’d be happy to know that there are plenty of them. This once again depends on the language you’re learning. All foreign languages do not have an equal scope for jobs and career opportunities as a translator/interpreter.
The best thing about being a foreign language interpreter is that you’re not limited to a specific field. Almost all industries you know have the requirement of an interpreter in some way or another.
Tourists need interpreters to help them navigate through places where nobody speaks their language. People coming to foreign countries for health treatments require interpreters for getting through the activities involved at the foreign hospital. Multinational companies require interpreters to hold meetings with executives who may not speak the same primary language. There are myriad other jobs, business, and career opportunities as an interpreter I could think of at the top of my head right now. But you got the point.
Working for Government agencies
Finding a job in an embassy or working in the customs department is one of the main reasons why most learners pursue mastery in a foreign language. I’ve known a lot of friends who made the choice for this sole reason.
Embassies generally have open vacancies for jobs of translators/interpreters and perhaps it’s one of the best jobs that make full use of one’s expertise in a foreign language.
If your obsession with a language is linked to the hope of working in an embassy, then congratulations- you’re right where you should be. Now, to get further ahead on the pursuit, its advisable to attain recognized certification from the official institutes according to the respective language, and gain further experience working for private businesses before applying for a job at an embassy.
Working for an Intelligence agency/Military as a Linguist
The oscar-nominated movie “Arrival” that came in 2016 was one of the best movies which highlighted the beauty, greatness, and significance of knowing multiple languages. Though I’d say that Amy Adams’ role in the movie as a linguist was a bit over the top. But it really got a lot of people interested in learning multiple languages. That means a lot!
So if you’ve seen the movie, I’m once again happy to share that a role as a foreign language expert in the military/intelligence agency comes with a similar thrill. You won’t get to talk to aliens like what happens in the movie, but at least you will get to have conversations with some of the toughest, strangest, powerful and fiercest people you’d never meet otherwise.
Working as a foreign language expert in the military or an intelligence agency is not for those who consider languages as a passion, for there are little to no learning opportunities here. However, what you do get is a great paycheque and some serious, thrilling work to do, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Which job/career opportunity would you choose?
There are a lot of job and career opportunities after learning a foreign language other than what I’ve mentioned here. But the above-mentioned options are the best in terms of scope, earnings, and significance. I’ll go through more career options in my future content, so you could subscribe if you found this interesting and want to stay tuned for more!