Student and Graduate Publishing

Languages and Employability

Monday, 24 July 2017 10:34

The world is your oyster when you have the capability to say ‘I can speak a second language.’ Whether you decide to learn a foreign language for your own personal development or with a particular career in mind, the ability will open up endless opportunities. Whether you choose to seek out a job after graduation or take a gap year to go travelling, this skill will surely prove to be handy. Speaking another language is not necessarily a requirement for employers, however it does set you apart from other candidates. 

Translation and Interpretation are obvious options when thinking about languages as a line of business. This can be a really exciting and satisfying career choice for graduates that are particularly interested with communication and it also gives the opportunity to learn and engage with other cultures. Both translation and interpretation require excellent knowledge of both languages, however, translation focuses on converting written literature whereas interpretation deals with oral communication. 

Most employers in this line of work usually ask for post-graduate study, usually a MA or MSc in translation. However, a diploma with the Chartered Institute of Linguists is also a widely accepted qualification. Alternatively, if you already speak two EU official languages and possess a degree, there is the option to apply for a paid traineeship with European Commission.

Not only does speaking another language enhance your communication skills, but it also gives you the option to work and live abroad. Journalism is another career choice which can rapidly progress due to linguistic skill. The ability to speak with people in their native tongue is a huge advantage and does not require any additional qualifications. Although it may seem daunting to take up another language, it has been argued that fluency is not always necessary and that the ability to simply hold a conversation is just as valuable. 

Regardless of whether you go down a path where languages are essential or not, most employers will rate the skill. A lot of companies, particularly the larger ones, will have a presence internationally, giving you the opportunity to travel within your job role. Whatever your reason to take up a language, it will surely prove to be handy in all walks of life. Not only does it give you something extra to talk about in any interviews, it will also enhance your experience whilst travelling. 

- By Shreena Bagga