How Can Learning a Second Language Help Your Future Career?
As more and more companies go global, employees who can speak multiple languages are in-demand. Being able to speak more than one language has many benefits when it comes to applying for jobs. It will give you an edge over other applicants, and help you stand out.
There are lots of interesting careers where you can use your language skills. Translators can work in all sorts of areas from publishing to community settings. You can specialize in a specific area, such as translating novels, or legal or business documents. There are often opportunities for freelance work too, which is great if you like the idea of working for yourself.
You can also share your enthusiasm for languages through teaching. There are many different levels and types of learning. If you like kids, you might consider teaching in public schools. But that’s not the only option. Many adults also want to learn a language for business or travel, or just out of personal interest.
Tourism is another area where you can put your skills to good use. You can either work with visitors to help make their holiday go smoothly, or you could use your skills to travel and work in another country.
Even if you don’t opt for career where you use your second language directly, you will still find that your skills are an asset when applying for jobs. If you want to work with a big international company a basic knowledge of a second language is going to be a bonus. It will make you a valuable asset to the team in the long run.
Knowing a language also deepens your cultural awareness, and can help ensure that international business runs smoothly.
Of course, when you decide what language to learn you won’t know where you career might take you. But there is no need to worry about learning the wrong language. Research suggests that learning any new language makes it easier to pick up other languages. Your future employer will value that fact that you have an aptitude for languages
When choosing which language to study there are a few things to consider. The most obvious is how many people speak the language, but that is not always the best way to decide. For example, the third most widely spoken language is Hindustani (after English, which is second). However, although millions of people speak the language it is not particularly relevant as there aren’t many business links with India compared to other countries.
Mandarin Chinese is currently the most widely spoken language in the world and is relevant for business as China is an important trading partner. But it’s also worth remembering that English is taught to a high level in most Chinese schools, so it may not be as relevant as it seems at first. Having a different alphabet also makes it a very challenging language to learn.
Spanish is particularly relevant for business in the US because of the large Hispanic population, as well as its strong links with Latin and South America. Portuguese, although spoken by fewer people, is still very significant because of strong trading connections with Brazil. Its significance is likely to grow as Brazil has a large growing market and a young population.
Russia is also a growing market for the US, but unlike many other countries English is not taught so widely in schools there. Understanding Russian could be more important for business in Russia compared to other countries.
Benefits of Being Multi-Lingual
In addition to improving your career prospects there are many ways that learning a second language can be beneficial.
You will be able to travel with more confidence knowing that you can understand locals. Dealing with a medical emergency or just trying to find your way around an unfamiliar city also becomes much easier if you can communicate, even in just basic sentences. You will also find that in many holiday destinations the locals are friendlier when they realise that you have made an effort to learn their language.
Even without leaving home, knowing a second language can enhance your appreciation of different cultures. Being able to read a book in its original language is so much better than reading a translation. And you will be able to understand all the nuances of the dialogue in foreign films, which often get lost in translation.
So whatever language you decide to learn, and whatever your motivation for learning a second language, you will no doubt find it a challenging and worthwhile experience.