Jobs for bilinguals: what’s in store for language learners?
What if you could hop into a time machine to see what you might be doing in 20 years? We can’t deliver a time machine, well not yet anyway, but we can give you an idea of what kind of jobs will use your language skills.
As a general rule, knowing a foreign language is brilliant for your employability: it shows that you are tenacious, assiduous, and adaptable. However there are some jobs where knowing a foreign language is a huge advantage, and sometimes even essential.
We’re not sure about you, but we think the future’s looking bright for bilinguals!
Have you ever seen a TV programme with someone signing the dialogue in the corner? This person is an interpreter.
Interpreters convert spoken or signed language from one language to another in a variety of settings. They can find themselves working at conferences and exhibitions, community events, criminal justice proceedings, and event on the television or radio. In fact, as interpreters often work freelance, they can end up working in all of these settings! You can be sure that a career in interpreting will give you a huge variety of experiences: you’ll need a good memory, excellent communication skills, and a high level of your second language… Better get practising!!
Like an interpreter, a translator converts one language into another. However, a translator deals with written material, rather than spoken.
Translators can specialise in a huge range of sectors, including literature, scientific and technical documents, legal documents, and even films. That’s right – translators have even written the subtitles when you watch a foreign film!
Translation is a hugely competitive field, especially as translators are often freelance, working from anywhere that they want to in the world.
Many bilinguals go on to share their passion for languages by teaching others. Language graduates are highly sought-after for school teaching roles, however you can teach languages in other settings too. Many bilinguals work as private tutors, both online and in person, whilst may teach language evening classes or head abroad to teach English as a foreign language. Where ever you teach, you’re sure to meet a whole range of interesting people!
Travel writer or photographer
Although you may be telling stories through the lens of your camera or in your mother tongue, speaking the language of another culture will enrich these stories as it is a great way to encourage the locals to open up to you. Travel writing and photography is competitive, however you can start practising right away by writing about your language exchange abroad!
During a language exchange, your partner often acts as a guide, taking you on a tour of the region. In some ways, this is also the job of a tour guide.
Tour guides accompany visitors around towns and monuments to give them the inside story on the local area. These visitors often come from foreign countries, so speaking another language is a huge help!
Flight attendants make the jet-setting lifestyle their occupation, much of their role takes place up in the air en route to far-flung corners of the world!
Cabin crew often work unsociable hours (evening and weekends) however they enjoy many benefits when it comes to travel.
Speaking another language can be essential for flight attendants, putting bilinguals in a great position to take to the skies!
Speaking another language isn’t necessary for journalism, however it is hugely beneficial for finding stories and communicating with the locals, especially if you’re working abroad as a foreign correspondent!