Category - Career Guide|Posted by : Language Services Bureau

Advantages of Learning A Foreign Language

Knowledge of multiple languages is an asset, whichever domain one is working in. Thanks to globalization, increase in international trade, the internet and its all pervading reach, knowing a foreign language promises to be an edge during recruitment.

By default, Indians are multilingual - they normally know their mother tongue (Regional language), Hindi (considered as national language, though all Indian languages enjoy equal status according to our constitution) and English (which is taught in school). Most schools introduce foreign languages like French, German, Spanish, and now even Mandarin, around the age of 13-14 years. Therefore, for an Indian, learning a new language is not as difficult as for a monolingual person!

Learning languages opens up new horizons, and a wide range of Careers in Languages, most of which are listed below in brief:

Major domains in which knowledge of languages is essential:

Translation - is communication of the meaning from one language into another.

A. Technical translation - Translation of technical documents like:

  • 1. manuals
  • 2. specifications
  • 3. guides
  • 4. standards
  • 5. drawings
  • 6. tender documents
  • 7. patents, etc.

B. Commercial translation - while dealing with foreign companies, commercial translation is required for:

  • 1. Contracts
  • 2. Affidavits
  • 3. Police reports, FIR
  • 4. Lawsuit documents
  • 5. Land deals
  • 6. Official documents like:
    • 1. Birth Certificate
    • 2. Marriage Certificate
    • 3. School/College Leaving Certificate
    • 4. Death Certificate
    • 5. Registration Certificate
    • 6. Ration card
    • 7. Degree and Diploma Certificates

D. Scientific translation - to maximize the reach of new inventions, research papers and patents, they need to be translated from their source language, into the major world languages.

E. Website translation- for businesses to grow in new markets, website localization is the first step. It is a proven fact that customers prefer their own language to any foreign/regional language while transacting online.

Interpretation- can be simply explained as spoken language translation. These services are required for:

  • 1. Conferences
  • 2. Seminars
  • 3. Meetings for negotiations
  • 4. Corporate visits
  • 5. Technical visits
  • 6. Tourists
  • 7. Market research meetings
  • 8. Audit meetings.

There are 2 major types of interpretation:

A. Consecutive interpretation- the interpreter waits for the end of the original sentence or statement to deliver the interpretation.

B. Simultaneous interpretation - interpreting the speech or message from the source language to target language simultaneously while the speech is going on. It is used for large gatherings (i.e. the speaker and the interpreter speak at the same time - the interpreter hears the speech through earphones and speaks through microphones, and the interpretation is heard on ear phones by the listeners).

Language Training -(individual/corporate)- Schools, colleges, universities, management and international trade institutes, multi-national companies, etc. require experienced and knowledgeable trainers for various languages, and this requirement is ever-increasing.

Content writing - (for advertising material, websites, etc.) is typically creating content in a given language for the web, for ads, etc., such that the product/website/event etc. sells - the language is impressive and the reader is impressed on reading it, and unknowingly develops a preference to it.

Localization and internationalization - (of products, websites, games, audio-visuals, etc.) Localisation, more than just translating the content, involves transforming a product, product information, commercial e-literature, etc. to suit a particular culture. This connects an organisation with the local end user. Eg. usage of some symbols or colors is considered a taboo in some markets. Similarly, Internationalizing products, services, websites and other text, that is, offering it in multilingual form widens its reach onto the international market.

Technical writing - Technical writing is writing or drafting technical communication used in a variety of technical and occupational fields, such as computer hardware and software, engineering, chemistry, aeronautics, robotics, finance, medical, consumer electronics, and biotechnology. Along with the command on language, in-depth knowledge or at least study in the field is crucial for technical writing.

Blog writing - Blogging in the simplest terms is expressing yourself online and spreading the word in any prospect you want to. Most business owners don't have the time to write blogs, and hence outsource the job of writing. Blogs are written in various fields like culinary blogs, travel blogs, technical blogs about products like bikes, mobiles, etc. This helps companies in their SEO activities, in developing communities and reaching new prospects.

Multi-media (Dubbing, Sub-titling and Voice over) - Multimedia content is increasing leaps and bounds due to advances in technology. It is a much more popular medium than text and need for its localization is growing:

  • 1. Film dubbing
  • 2. Film scripts
  • 3. Recorded speeches from conferences
  • 4. Narration work for films
  • 5. Video tapes, slides, audio tapes in different foreign languages
  • 6. Company profile presentations
  • 7. Voice-over

Transcription - is the technique of listening to an audio or video and recording it in a text format.

We will continue this topic next month, by covering other professions where knowledge of a language is required or considered as an added advantage.

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