Career in Foreign Languages

Career in Foreign Languages

Shreeprakash Sharma

Knowledge of language is the doorway to wisdom.
– Roger Bacon
Language is said to be the soul of human being. It is the most natural means of communicating and expressing what we feel and think. There is no gainsaying the fact that with the changing global scenario, especially in the post-transitional period of liberalization, privatization and globalization, the importance of foreign languages has been more increasing. The fast increase in the advent of multinational companies and the rapid rate of the investment by the Indian companies abroad, the knowledge of foreign languages is reckoned as the passport of a host of career opportunities in the country and abroad as well.
Why learn a Foreign Language?
Learning foreign languages not only enriches our life style and enhances cultural ethos but also provides more career alternatives and better job experiences. We also succeed in having different perspectives and visions of life and the world around us. Our cognitive quality and life skills get very naturally improved. Getting a job at international level also helps us have a lucrative income, global perspective and international identity. We learn the art of cultural tolerance and religious adjustment with the people from different backgrounds. The horizon of our knowledge of art, literature, music, cinema, cult and cuisine gets broadened. There is no escape that learning of foreign languages in the open economy of today’s global used provides a good career.
As per an international survey report, there would be requirement of more than 1.5 million of foreign language experts in the coming two decades, especially when the multinational companies are fast mushrooming across the nations in the world. The foreign language professionals are expected to get recruited in various BPO, IT and KPO in India. These professionals may also be recruited in the companies outsourced to India from the European countries.
As per the latest trend of global job markets and corporate culture the demand for the professionals specialized in the following foreign languages may prove to be pretty bright and lucrative-French, Russian, German, Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish.
Necessary Eligibilities
For getting the degree in a foreign language the aspirants must have passed the plus 2 examination from a recognized board. The duration of the bachelor’s degree course usually is of three years. After the degree in foreign language the interested candidates can join the 2-year – Postgraduate course and thereafter Ph.D.
Package and Perks
Much like other jobs, foreign language too provides more of the compensation when a candidate is more experienced. However, in the beginning a candidate is offered not less than Rs. 30,000 to 40,000 per month of the salary. Employments in foreign embassies and business consulates could also fetch the same amount of pay package but in case of jobs of interpretation and translation the same professionals may get considerably very high pay package. A skilled interpreter is offered between Rs. 1000 per hour to Rs. 25,000 a day. Translators may charge anywhere between Re 1 per word to Rs.10 per word. All these remunerations depend upon the nature of language and economic background of the hirers and the organizations.
Jawaharlal Nehru University provides scholarship to the students of the economically weaker students which is also called as ‘Earn as you learn’ via a number of part-time jobs under the aegis of the University Grant Commission. It also offers scholarships. Embassies of various countries too offer scholarship.
Where to learn Foreign Languages
Many of the education institutes have the foreign language in their syllabi so the students there start learning it from very early and that too without any special effort and at extra charge. But majority of students are also there who take step to study foreign languages only after higher secondary to further go for the graduation and post graduation courses as well as Ph.D in them. However, the diploma and certificate courses are also offered by various institutes in less time period and at lesser costs.
Institutes of Foreign Languages Learning
1.Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Haryana
2.Guru Nanak Dev University, Deptt. of Foreign Languages, Amritsar, Punjab
3.Symbiosis Institute of Foreign and Indian Languages, Pune
4.Deptt. of Foreign Languages, University of Pune, Pune
5.Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai
6.St. Teresa’s College, Ernakulum, Kerala
7.Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL), Hyderabad
8.The School of Languages of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
9.Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
10.School of Foreign Languages, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
11.Directorate of Distance Education, Annamalai University.
12.Institute of Distance Education, University of Madras
13.School of Distance Education, Mahatma Gandhi Uni.
14.Directorate of Distance & Online Education,
15.Foreign Languages Training Institute, Bangalore
Job Prospects
The learning of a foreign language opens the doors of a host of job opportunities in the present globalized economies of the world. It is not only the matter of having an ace up your sleeve and pride for the learners to possess the knowledge of a foreign language but it also equips an aspirant to better face the market of today’s cut-throat-competition. Academic degrees and proficiency of a foreign language prove to be an entry ticket to the pools of jobs in the segments of tourism, education, diplomatic services, interpretation, translation, international trade and relation, entertainment, public relations, mass media and journalism, publishing, communication, embassies, consulates and various others which are likely to unfold their wings of opportunities in the years to come. Multinational companies having their well-planned network across the nations in the world also recruit the foreign language experts in the various positions. Moreover, the internet revolution has also considerably helped increase the demand of foreign language professionals in the positions of online content writer, technical translator and interpreter. The various international organizations, including the important agencies of the United Nations Organization (UNO), which require the foreign language experts in large number, are Food Agriculture Organization, Ministry of External Affairs, and Reserve Bank of India.
However, some of the specialized fields of jobs for the professionals of foreign languages are in the areas of -linguistics, interpretation, translation and teaching.
How much does one need to spend?
In so far as the fees for the courses in foreign languages are concerned they vary from university to university and from institute to institute. However, the course fees in JNU and Delhi University are reasonably lower than other universities and institutes. The difference in the fees structure for these courses depend on the language and the number of students opting a particular foreign language. However, foreign languages like Korean, Japanese and Chinese are reckoned as fairly tough and their institutes are also fewer, so they are available at comparatively higher cost whereas Arabic and Persian are commonly available at all universities in the country and so these courses are offered at relatively lower costs.
Scholarship and Financing
In the wake of the high course fees for the study of the foreign languages there are various provisions of scholarships and funding by the universities and the government. In this regard, Max Mueller Bhavan in India has a very attractive scheme which offers two scholarships to the two best students of advanced level learning of foreign languages. Similarly, Jawaharlal Nehru University has a very marvellous exchange programme under which students are offered options to study in foreign universities during their regular study at JNU and vice versa. Besides, University of Delhi too has provision of a merit scholarship. However, the foreign governments like those of Korea and Japan have their own programmes under which they provide scholarship to the students who opt for the study of their respective languages.
Foreign Languages – Career and Job opportunities
In the present scenario of market economy, learning a foreign language may be a passion for a linguist but it is not the full stop. The skills of foreign languages provide much-needed job opportunities in today’s fast-moving world. The increasing demand of the foreign language experts in the government, businesses and various entrepreneurial organizations has considerably attracted the youths of the 21st century generation-
The Foreign Services
In the present open, global and politically-sensitive scenario of the world economy all the countries have embassies, business consulates in the countries across the world. These political organizations take care of the interest of their parent countries and so get valuable help in managing and boosting international trade as well as relations. The governments of the countries require foreign language speakers who will require to live abroad for the following assignments –
*Listening to foreign citizens, government and various other dignitaries,
*Reading, studying, translating and replying of intelligence findings and investigative reports in foreign languages.
*Liaising with the various departments in various countries.
*Conducting research activities in various foreign languages.
*Performing sundry jobs at the passport and visa issuing offices.
*Frisking the passengers at the national and international airports, places of historical importance.
International Institutes and Organizations
Many of the UNO’s agencies like World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and other international organizations like the Red Cross Society, Amnesty International and various others require foreign language experts to perform various assignments which are sine qua non of the management and administration. Besides English, other languages which are in more demand in these international bodies are French, Spanish, German and Arabic.
Tourism and Hospitality Industries
In the present world scenario tourism has grown to be a very big business and nations with large inflow of tourists do always need foreign language experts who can cater to the lingual needs of the foreign guests. Besides, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, multiplex cinema halls and amusement parks do need the experts of various foreign languages to deal with the foreign visitors. The entrepreneurs establish companies abroad and for this purpose they recruit the foreign language experts to meet the needs of the local or host country. There is no denying the fact that the success of these international companies depends much upon the lingual skill of the people working at various outlets for providing quality customer services.
Translation and Interpretation
In the global scenario the modus operandi of communication and knowledge-gaining has undergone drastic changes. We need linguists to translate the magnum opus of the renowned writers in a host of languages both for the commerce and welfare purpose. The translated versions of books of the authors considerably help them increase the sales very surprisingly and thus the profit goes up. In context with the maintenance of foreign and diplomatic relationship the government officials and heads of the nations make visit to the various countries and for the better communication they require the interpreters in foreign languages. The profession of interpretation is not only lucrative but also of very high limelight. The interpreters visit with the celebrities and policy makers of the governments of the various nations. So, this segment has high employment potential.
For professionals specializing in the foreign languages are never short of an employment. Teaching is not only a decent job but also a platform to learn many more languages through consistent practice. Schools are appointing foreign language teachers for the purpose of providing foreign language education to the students. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan offers German education in its schools. Universities and colleges do recruit the experts of the various foreign languages as regular faculty members.
Unlike other segments of jobs the foreign language provides the following job options to an interested candidate –
*Foreign language trainer,
*Diplomatic Service Professionals,
*Research Associate
*Translator for various companies and government organizations
*Freelance writer
*Public Relation Officer
*Hotel attendants
*Air hostess and flight steward
(The author is a career counsellor. e-mail : [email protected])
Image: Courtesy Google

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