Linguistic careers

Learning a language can expand career opportunities by preparing you to work in a variety of environments. Language skills are becoming vital assets to a growing number of careers as the need for multilingual employees increases due to globalization

There are various courses available that you can take up to learn a new language. Also you can pursue graduation or post graduation from a university in a particular language.

Skills needed

“One must have an inclination and a natural flair for languages and the inner will to learn and master it well. Every word has a precise and exact meaning even in other languages,” says Sheila Chaman, who was Manager, Interpreter and Protocol Chief of India Forum at the World Book Fair at Frankfurt where India was the Guest of Honor Country in 2006.

Chaman knows nine languages. “First and foremost, know your language well – only then can you translate it properly. You must refer to a dictionary and get well acquainted with words, their meanings. Possessing the knowledge of a language gives you tremendous ‘power’ as you are then able to communicate and exchange ideas freely,” she points out.

Translators deal with the written language while interpreters depend on the spoken word. The ultimate goal is to facilitate communication within a multilanguage environment. Translators work with written texts, reports, manuals, websites, books and film scripts. Interpreters translate speech – at conferences, in business negotiations and political meets.


Dinesh Govindani, who has over 17 years of experience as an accredited Spanish language instructor, says, “Today’s world is increasingly interconnected. Companies doing business today, can no longer exist in isolation within their protected national markets. Present day marketplaces are global, with organisations exporting their products and importing materials from all over requiring them to interface with people from different countries, with different cultural backgrounds and speaking different languages.”

Areas of employment

The work ranges from the translation of legislation and reports of government commissions to instruction manuals, tourist brochures, company reports, patents, scientific papers, advertisements, educational texts and even literary works.

“As a translator and interpreter one has many interesting career options and work hours can be quite flexible,” says Govindani. You can work in various fields either as a freelancer or a paid employee; translators can work in IT, pharma, diamond industry and automobile industry that have foreign collaboration. You can be employed for movie titles animation, documentary and feature films, in call centres, and as interpreters. You can be a tourist guide or a freelance language expert for short-term projects. You can also do dubbing for corporate ad films.


According to Chaman, the remuneration varies a lot depending on the company you work for. “Per page written translations can get you anything from Rs 60-150 – And Rs 250 to Rs 500 per page for technical translations,” she says.

“Its good to know at least one of the five UN languages (English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Russian),” she adds. “You can explore more opportunities, travel and work for the UN. With so much e-growth and hi-tech application in every sphere a good translator can be an asset to any organisation.”

Business is enhanced, connections strengthened and new ties can be forged. Few realise the potential of speaking or writing in different languages till they actually step into this field which is challenging, rewarding and extremely satisfying.

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