In today's global economy, knowledge of another language is an invaluable asset as a primary or secondary skill in the pursuit of almost any career. People competent in languages are needed in fields such as business, education, government, journalism, law, medicine, the travel industry, education, international commerce, medicine, ministry, state and national government.
Language knowledge expands your horizons in Travel, Study Abroad, Discovering other Cultures, and increasing Employment Opportunities.
Careers Using Languages Other than English
Students who have strong college records, who have experience studying or working abroad, and who are willing to relocate after graduation are often highly attractive to potential employers. The following list is just a sample of the possibilities:
Agencies that market their clients’ products abroad need employees who speak several languages.
Most airlines need employees to answer phones for customers who speak languages other than English. Flight attendant positions usually require a foreign language for international routes.
Banking and Financial Personnel
As international business and industry expand, international banking and financial activity naturally follows. Today one fourth of all new direct investment goes abroad.
Bilingual aides in the elementary schools are always needed. Unfortunately, the pay is usually low, but the need is there to help non-English speaking children into the public school system in the U.S.
Clergymen in bilingual neighborhoods and missionaries need to speak the language(s) of their parish in order to minister to the needs of parishioners.
Community College Instructor or University Professor
Literature in specific time periods, culture, history, phonetics, current topics, art and music are just a few of the fields in college and university level language education.
Multi-national corporations need people who can negotiate and draw up contracts in other languages and deal with international clients here and abroad.
Correspondent and Journalist
Newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations need correspondents and journalists who can speak foreign languages and do interviews in those languages with important international figures.
The State Department needs people in the armed forces or other government jobs to serve overseas.
Drug Enforcement Assistant
The DEA needs people who speak one or more foreign languages in order to help the agency enforce the nation’s drug laws.
Film Making Assistant
The entertainment industry needs people with language skills to help market their products abroad and aid in the creation process with projects “on location” in other countries.
Financial Services Representative
Banks need people to deal with customers who speak foreign languages. People with good translation/ interpretation skills are placed in offices overseas to work for American banks and other companies.
The hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, resorts, etc.) needs multilingual people to cater to foreign clients and draw up and negotiate contracts, and do sales presentations in other languages.
In addition to intelligence-gathering abroad, agencies such as the FBI and the CIA pay people to read foreign newspapers to keep abreast of the image of the U.S. in other countries.
International Telephone Operator
Phone companies need multilingual operators for overseas and 911 emergency calls.
Tutors can offer private lessons to students enrolled in high school and college courses. Travelers and business people are always looking for help in developing language skills.
Lawyers and paralegals need to be able to speak the language of their clients in order to serve their needs more effectively.
Librarians with foreign language reading skills are invaluable for doing research, communicating with international libraries and evaluating books and journals for possible adoption.
Management and Sales Personnel
The types of companies needing people with language skills cover the whole spectrum of the business world. In their operations, they find that second language proficiency is an enormous advantage, both in the U.S. and in their overseas offices, and lack of it a real handicap.
Doctors, nurses, emergency room personnel, and ambulance drivers need to be able to speak the languages of their community.
Art and Natural History museums hire multilingual curators and assistants to work with ancient or foreign texts and negotiate with international museums for acquisitions.
Opera singers and conductors of choirs and orchestras must be able to read and speak several European languages in order to preserve the integrity of the text they will interpret.
Politicians (public servants such as mayors, senators, representatives) should be able to speak the language(s) of their constituents in order to serve them more effectively.
Many companies, government agencies, international organizations, and the court systems need people who can simultaneously interpret speeches or dialogue for clients or immigrants.
Many private companies and public services, as well as the national government, need people who can translate important documents (business contracts, legal documents, medical forms, computer manuals).
Book publishers need bilingual sales representatives to present their textbooks to clients at university and secondary levels. Editors, editorial assistants, and copywriter often need second language skills.
Professors in Art History, History, Music, Political Science, Sociology, and the Sciences should be literate in another language in order to read material for their courses and do research in other countries.
Secretarial and Clerical Positions
In the business world, the range of languages and fields is so vast that some employment agencies maintain permanent advertisements for bilingual secretaries and typists. Qualified personnel enjoy a salary premium.
In various parts of the U.S., state, county, and municipal social service agencies need social workers and staff who can speak a second language.
Software Documentation Translator
Computer companies need people to translate software and its documentation into the languages spoken by their international clients.
Districts often look for teachers with combination skills such as math or history and foreign language.
Technical and Engineering Positions
Companies with overseas plants, those that manufacture machinery and equipment used abroad, American subsidiaries of foreign-based companies, manufacturers using foreign-made components in their U.S. operations – all are likely to need technical and engineering personnel with language proficiency.
Agencies hire people who speak foreign languages to answer phones and deal with customers from other countries. The opportunities for travel abroad are outstanding.