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Build your career with language

TILL recently, very few would have thought of making a career as a language expert. If they did, the traditional avenue of employment would have been teaching. This scenario is rapidly changing in the face of globalisation. From translation to online journalism, a variety of lucrative careers are now available to a student of Indian and foreign languages.

For a career in language, it's necessary to have a variety of skills ranging from accuracy to empathy. Proficiency in a foreign language has become an increasingly important asset in an interdependent world economy reigns and different cultures are intricately interconnected via technology. Students who have added a foreign language skill to their resumes have prepared themselves to participate in a world economy in which "the language of business is the customer's language". A lot of language experts now use their language skills in areas as diverse as international business, journalism or environmental studies.

There are two major areas for which the knowledge of a foreign language is important: the foreign language specialist, and other professions in which knowledge of foreign languages is a decided asset.

For the foreign language specialist, thorough training in a foreign language is indispensable. He or she translates, interprets, or teaches in one or more foreign languages. The specialist possesses and uses knowledge of literature, culture, and history of the country or minority community in which the language is used, so he or she is aware of aspects such as sociolinguistics and the effect of culture on language that go considerably beyond basic communication. Besides language teachers in educational institutions, language specialists are required in diplomatic and government service, the travel industry, and international business, to name a few sectors.

In many other professions, knowledge of one or more foreign languages greatly enhances job qualifications. Social services, health and medical services, business and trade, the travel industry, the legal profession and law enforcement are just a few examples of professions in which foreign language skills are actively sought by employers.

Let us take a look at major areas where the knowledge of a foreign language can help you.





General translation

Excellent writing skills and strong vocabulary in two languages are essential to be a translator. Translating can be a challenging task as many languages may not share the same syntactical patterns. General translation includes translation of books, novels, translating documents and so on. Translation of technical books is especially a fetching proposition.

Technical translation

Translation of contracts, reports and other business documents is becoming a necessity with the entry of multinational companies in India. Translators can expect to earn between Rs.150 and Rs.300 per page of translation for Indian languages and between Rs.300 and Rs.500 per page for common foreign languages such as French or German and up to Rs.750 per page for Japanese or Arabic.


Interpretation is done on the spot; therefore, proficiency in the languages concerned must be very high. The translator must be well informed on current affairs and be willing to acquaint himself with technical jargon.

Specialisation is imperative for interpreters at international seminars or meetings where a particular subject will be discussed in depth.


Transcription - legal and medical transcription are fast becoming a lucrative option. Medical transcription is the process of translating digitised audio medical records into text form. Medical professionals rely on skilled medical transcriptionists to transform the spoken word into accurate text records. Familiarity with medical jargon and adaptability to American accent are essential pre requisites. Salary at the entry level is around Rs 6000/-.


Language teachers can work with regular schools, colleges or specialised language schools. Preparation of teaching materials such as books and educational CDs is also an option for experienced teachers. Educational qualifications, individual skill and experience in the field determine the remuneration for language teachers. Freelancers can expect a minimum of Rs.60 per hour for teaching Indian languages and Rs 100 for foreign languages, including English.

Courses in foreign languages like French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Tibetan, Persian and English are commonly available in India. School of Languages, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi, Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL) Hyderabad, IGNOU, Delhi University etc.

Learning languages is no longer just a hobby, but a viable livelihood as well. So, if you have an ability to pick up languages, look for opportunities and use your talent to talk your way into a great career.


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