CAREER IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES
contest - I Winner Article)
A voiceless and speechless
World is like a lifeless, barren desert. But the God's most invaluable gift of
speech and language to the mankind has made this World beautiful like a
This gift not only helped
man in developing good relations but also in earning livelihood. There has
been a significant rise in the importance of languages with the transformation
of the career outlook of students. There has been a sudden thrust in the field
Language skills can prove
to be an essential attribute in many professions. A career in foreign language
has always been an attractive proposition, especially for those who are
determined, confident and most important have flair for languages.
The specialist language
occupations include working as a
translator, interpreter, language teacher
or linguist. But now with the globalization of Indian economy,
multi-nationals coming to
India and more
and more companies going for joint ventures abroad have opened up job scenario
for those proficient in foreign languages. Academic qualifications in foreign
languages help in
pursuing careers in the areas of tourism, entertainment, public relations and
mass communication, international organizations, embassies, diplomatic
service, publishing, etc.
translate written material
from one language to another. The kind of material involved may include
product manuals, business reports, business correspondence, legal documents,
websites and subtitles for films, song lyrics and literature.
To be translator you need
the ability to write and express yourself very well in the target language,
usually your native tongue and a good knowledge of the source languages,
usually foreign languages. Apart from having linguistic skills, a translator
must possess adequate knowledge in the area of work so as to maintain the
style and essence of the original text.
Many translators are
self-employed and find clients themselves or work for translation agencies,
which find clients and arrange payment. There are also positions for in-house
translators in some large organizations. Translators are usually paid per word
in the source language. A translator gets Rs. 400/- to Rs. 600/- for
translating a page from a foreign language to English and visa-versa.
Interpreter's job relates to interpreting spoken words of one language into another.
Therefore, an interpreter needs to have not only good command over the
language but having excellent verbal communication skills also become
The job of an interpreter
can be of different types. Sometimes they are engaged in
which is used for meetings, conferences, speeches, etc. Here the interpreters
sits in a sound proof room and listens to speeches and almost spontaneously
interprets it in the target language into a microphone.
The other types of
Consecutive Interpreting and Liaison Interpreting. Consecutive
Interpreting goes on during formal speeches where the speaker halts for a
while when the interpreter interprets the spoken statements to the audience.
Liaison Interpreting is to facilitate conversation between two people
knowing different languages.
An interpreter gets paid on
hourly basis and at present the rate varies from Rs. 300/- to Rs. 500/- per
hour. For those working with embassies can get paid between Rs. 8000/-p.m to
The most common of all the
available career options in foreign language is
teaching. Teaching of foreign language is just like teaching any
other language. Language teaching may involve teaching a foreign language to
students who share the same native language as you or teaching your own
language to speakers of other languages. Language teachers work in a variety
of educational establishments from elementary schools to colleges and
universities. Private tuitions also offer very good prospects.
Those teaching a foreign
language need near-native ability in that language while knowledge of other
languages can be useful when teaching your native language to foreign
students. A career in teaching can earn anything from Rs. 10,000/-p.m. to Rs.
20,000/-p.m. A lecturer's pay scale is between Rs. 10,000/-p.m to Rs. 13,000/-p.m
and professors can expect over Rs. 18,000/-p.m.
the scientific study of language. Linguists study the nature and
characteristics of human language. Linguists work for a range of organizations
including universities and colleges, high-tech companies, research
institutions, consulting firms, government and military.
As industries grow and
begin to internationalization or globalize their products, language skills
become highly necessary for corporate expansion. Specialized Language
Departments within the large corporations are handling the translation or
localization of their products or services.
There are seemingly endless
numbers of language companies all over the world. The majority of these
linguistically oriented companies offer many services available in multiple
languages. Other companies solicit language services from these companies on a
contract basis. Usually, career opportunities in these firms are presented in
the form of permanent or freelance positions.
Foreign language skills are
becoming vital tasks needed in all hospitals and clinics.
Translators and interpreters are commissioned on a full-time, part-time and
volunteer basis depending on need, funding available and education-level of
the professional. A strong medical terminology foundation is especially
important for those who intend to work in a health care environment.
is the perfect
career for those people who are completely fluent in a language other than
English and who desires a job in the judicial system. This profession is a
unique combination of skills, involving simultaneous and consecutive
interpreting as well as sight translation. Besides possessing knowledge of
legal terminology, a court interpreter needs a base of a variety of vocabulary
from many domains as well as the ability to interpret many dialects at varying
entertainment industry is learning to function globally, and in
order to do this, translators, interpreters, voice-overs, proofreaders and
editors are needed. Film industry is the most salient and broad as far
as opportunities are concerned. However, other areas of the media such as
television, magazine or newspapers could have similar translating, editing or
Many organizations offer
subtitling, script translation, voice-overs, dubbing, website localization,
transcription, interpreting, web publishing, editing, foreign language
artwork and copywriting services in films industry. Their language employees
are all native speakers and have varying areas of expertise.
Other areas of the media
have language needs also. Many magazines, newspapers or other publications are
translated into foreign languages and distributed in various locations
worldwide. Their employment needs involve translation, editing, proofreading
and terminology experts.
broadcasting companies are searching for professionals with a strong
linguistic background for their Radio/ T.V Marketing Departments
in the target countries.
There is a wide scope for
the students of languages in the travel and tourism industry
where proficiency in at least one language means surety of job. Even the
conference coordinators and the projection translators are much in demand
Many international organizations like WHO, UN, NATO, etc. also need
language experts to function effectively in various parts of the world.
WHO, there are professional positions offered on a permanent and
temporary basis throughout the world that use foreign language skills.
Red Cross provides medical help and disaster relief services
across the world and often foreign languages skills are necessity in this
endeavor. With a permanent staff as well as a very large number of volunteers,
translators and interpreter services are provided throughout communities and
The Human Rights organization fights for human rights worldwide.
Language experts are always needed in many forms, including translators and
interpreters for important documents or conferences.
World Bank provides a source of developmental assistance for the
economies of developing nations and in this process they need professional
staff members who have good understanding of policy and international work
experience. Foreign language skills are often a requirement for this type of
NATO the interpreters and translators are members of two
independent services, the Translation Service and the Interpretation Services
both forming part of Conference red Registry Services.
In the language
occupational group of UN employment, opportunities include translation,
interpretation, and terminology, verbatim reporting and proofreading. Language
services are needed at every UN meeting.
has a variety of professional
linguist positions. Interpreters as well as translators are employed on a
permanent or freelance basis with higher education and professional experience
taken into account. Minute writer is unique career opportunity with UNESCO and
these permanent employees summarize speeches made by delegates during meetings
UNICEF offers aid to children all over the world. Employment vacancies are
presented on rolling basis for permanent positions. A master's degree and
fluency in at least one UN language besides English is required.
Almost all of the
international organizations for human service are non-profit and therefore,
they rely substantially n volunteers to carry out their services. Language
skills are almost always useful or required. A certain amount of time in
service is usually specified.
According to Charles V,
more languages a man knew, he was so many more time a man."
Each new form of human
speech introduces one into a new world of thought and life. So in some degree,
learning is like traversing other continents and mingling with other races.
So for those who have been
longing for a career in languages, move ahead, just give up all misconceptions
and get into the fray.
- Shuchi , Freelance Reporter