(LangJobs 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 heaven.

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 of linguistics.

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.

Translators 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 important.

The job of an interpreter can be of different types. Sometimes they are engaged in Simultaneous Interpretation, 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 interpreting are 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 Rs. 10,000/-p.m.

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.

Linguistics is 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.

Court Interpreting 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 speeds.

The 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 lexicographic needs.

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.

Many international 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 these days.

Many international organizations like WHO, UN, NATO, etc. also need language experts to function effectively in various parts of the world.

Within the WHO, there are professional positions offered on a permanent and temporary basis throughout the world that use foreign language skills.

The 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 overseas.

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.

The 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 employment.

In 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.

UNESCO 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 and conferences.

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, "The 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
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