Careers in Foreign Languages [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Blythe Camenson
eBook Category: Business
eBook Description: Both first-time job hunters and those looking to change careers will benefit from exploring the rewarding paths outlined in Careers in Foreign Languages. Detailed overviews of a range of professions and expert advice covering the entire job-search process show readers how to launch a successful career of their choice.
eBook Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies/McGraw-Hill, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2002
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FIELD
Let's assume you are bilingual or multilingual and have no problem picking up other languages. In fact, for you, learning another language is no more difficult than solving a giant jigsaw puzzle. All of the pieces are there, and you love the challenge of putting them together. Just as some people have perfect pitch, you have an ear for the sounds and patterns of another language. You can speak German, for example, or Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish -- maybe even Japanese -- and all without an accent. Native speakers would be surprised to learn that their language isn't your first language. You can also read and write another language fluently.
But let's not assume that English is your native language. Perhaps you were born in another country or your family is from another culture. You learned your own language and English almost simultaneously. You speak English flawlessly, even better than a native.
Your language skills are enviable, and highly marketable.
If you don't fit this profile, don't toss this book aside thinking that a career using a foreign language is outside your reach -- that your language ability is just not good enough. Let's look at another scenario: You aren't a natural. You've studied a language or two in college, and your reading and speaking are passable. Your writing maybe less so. But you love the idea of other languages, other countries and cultures. Maybe you've traveled a bit, spent time in Europe, Asia, or South America. Perhaps you've even studied abroad or participated in a total immersion program for a few weeks, living with a family overseas and speaking only their language. Would that be enough to land you a job using a foreign language? Yes, for some jobs, it would.
In this book, we will look at jobs that require a foreign language as the primary skill -- the reason the candidate would be hired. A translator, interpreter, or language teacher would fall into this category. These professionals must have top-notch language skills. We will also examine jobs for which foreign language fluency is a necessary but secondary skill. A sales representative for a pharmaceutical company and a software engineer for a computer company might appear to have nothing in common, but both, if bilingual, can work for enterprises with overseas interests. Their language skills will eventually come into play on business trips. Although the better their language skills, the more effective these employees will be, it's not expected that they be fully fluent. Unless, for instance, translation of important documents is required, an ability to communicate effectively and with sensitivity to the other culture will usually suffice. Their sales and design talents are valued above their language talents.
In a similar vein, those in the foreign service must pass a rigorous entrance exam that covers everything from pop culture to politics, economics to English. It does not cover a foreign language. Yet a foreign language is a real asset when working in the foreign service, and those who meet the other requirements have an edge if they have foreign language skills as well.
Another example would be the recent college graduate hired by a manufacturing firm with concerns in Asia. This student majored in languages of the Far East and is excitedly expecting a transfer to an overseas posting. Chances are, though, that transfer won't be forthcoming until the new hire learns the ropes of the company stateside and understands its foreign mission. The employer wants more from its workers than a good command of a foreign language.
So, if you are worried that your limited language ability will limit you, relax.
In addition to your language ability, you most likely have expertise in another area, such as computers, science, math, or writing. It's that expertise that will get you hired. Most jobs that ask for a foreign language view that language as a secondary requirement. In fact, most employers don't want to hire someone whose only skill is language. Your knowledge of another language is an added benefit; in most cases, it's not all that's going to land you the job.
Copyright © 2001 by The McGraw-Hill Companies