Language skills can prove to be an important attribute in many professions. A career in foreign language has always been an attractive proposition, especially for those who have a flair for languages. The opportunities are starting from tour operators to interpretor and translators. While interpreters are concerned with interpreting the spoken statements from one language to another, translators have more to do with translating the written documents from one language to another.
With the globalisation of Indian economy, multinationals 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 helps in pursuing careers in the areas of tourism, entertainment, public relations and mass communication, international organisations, embassies, diplomatic service, publishing, interpretation and translation etc.
Nature of Work
Though the fact is that opportunities for regular employment are far and few and are mostly in metropolitan cities, but on attaining professional qualification in foreign languages, one can work in the following areas.
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. For newcomers, it is advisable to start with teaching. As a teacher, a person gets enough opportunities to enhance his skills. As far as teaching jobs are concerned, many institutions are offering courses in foreign languages and so jobs exists at all levels. Those reluctant to engage themselves in a full-time profession, can take private tuition as well.
Interpreters and Translators
Interpreters and translators both need to have a good command over two or more languages. Interpreters job relates to interpreting spoken words of one language into another, therefore needs to have not only good command over the language but having excellent verbal communication skills also becomes 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 type of interpretings are consecutive interpreting and liason 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. Liason interpreting is to facilitate conversation between to people knowing different languages.
Translation work can be related to a variety of fields like technical, scientific literary or business. Translators work on books, scripts, articles and translate them into specified languages. Apart from having linguistic skills, a translator must possess adequate knowledge in the area of the work so as to maintain the style and essence of the orignal text.
Often, after pursuing courses in foreign languages, people like to work as freelancers. These people get work in translation bureaus, research organisations, international organisations like UNO, FAO, foreign companies, Reserve Bank of India, publishing houses etc. Expertise in foreign language coupled with other additional qualifications in areas like management, tourism, hospitality industry, airlines can be even fruitful and better the chances for employment opportunities.
Linguistic ability is nurtured from an early stage and improves with its regular and correct usage, therefore important to practice it regularly. Learning languages can be exhaustive as at times it takes long before one gets acquainted with it. So it is important to be patient and deligent. For language specialists, it is imperative to have good verbal aptitude and interest in those areas where they get to work as a language specialist. Linguists work with a variety of people and under various settings hence need to have adaptability and a pleasant demeanour. They should also be able to handle work pressure and withstand strain as sometimes working hours may be prolonged.
Foreign language courses can be studied after 10+2 as a 3 years graduate course or even as 5 years integrated language course in the universities offering such courses. Some universities even offer diploma/certificate courses for graduates and post graduates. The other option is to pursue these courses at the institutes run by embassies and counsulates. These institutes offer both basic and advanced level courses, some of them extending upto 5-6 years.
International organisations and embassies employ language specialists for secretatial, executive and public relation assignments as well as for translations and interpretations jobs. Translators are also found to be employed with industries, publishing houses, government and research organisations. Other job opportunities for language specialist lie with the travel and tourism sector, hotel industry, exhibitions and fairs, airlines offices, export agencies, radio stations and trade organisations. Teaching can also be given a thought. For pursuing a career in teaching, a teacher should be a graduate in that foreign language and must have a teaching degree.
Emoluments vary with the kind and the place of work. For instance, a career in teaching can earn anything from Rs.10000/- p.m to Rs. 20000/- p.m. A Lecturer's pay scale is between Rs. 10000/- p.m. to Rs. 13000/- p.m. and professors can expect over Rs. 18000/- p.m. Those working as translators get paid between Rs. 50/- to Rs.100/- per page. 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. 10000/- p.m.