Other Tongue



By Prachi Rege

With the world going flat, learning a foreign language will give you an edge over others. Prachi Rege decodes the scope.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
—Nelson Mandela

These meaningful words of the legendary anti-apartheid South African revolutionary stand true today. Ask Abhishek Chaturvedi, who is heading to Lima, Peru, a Spanish speaking country, to work with Naine Minerals & Resources Pvt Ltd., a mine owning and minerals trading conglomerate.

Chaturvedi had learnt Spanish to help him shine in a pile of resumes.  “It was my Spanish skills that made it easy to get this job,” explains the young professional from Mumbai, who is as proficient in Spanish now as he is in his mother tongue.

A decade ago, learning a foreign language was a hobby.

Today it is all about acing over others in business or in the job market. With Indian companies like Bajaj, Mahindra and Mahindra, Larsen and Toubro, and Tata going global, the need for multilingual employees has increased.  Foreign languages like Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Mandarin are increasingly gaining popularity.

Keeping this in mind, most language institutes offer training to employees of various companies. Many also offer students placement opportunities. “We send resumes of our students to companies who might be interested in hiring employees with proficiency in Mandarin,” says Nazia Vasi, founder and CEO Inchin Closer, a Mandarin training institute.

Inchin Closer was launched in 2011 to create a cultural connect between India and China. In just two years, it has increased the number of Mandarin training sessions from two to five classes a week. “We have had a 500% rise in the number of students signing up for training,” points out Vasi.

Another reason for this is, China is the second largest market for diamonds in the world. Indian diamond industry professionals, who wish to enhance business potential in China, are rushing to study the language. Kashish Shah, a sales executive with a Mumbai-based diamond firm, and his three colleagues are learning Mandarin.

“Knowledge of the local language gives you security from being cheated in deals,” explains Shah, who practices his newly acquired Mandarin skills with his business associates in Hong Kong over phone.”When two Chinese business men are talking in Mandarin, the Indian at the table should not feel left out,” adds Vasi.

“If you want to sell your product worldwide then lack of language skills should not be a hurdle,” explains Dinesh Govindani, founder and trainer, Academia De Espanol, who trains employees of companies like Cipla, Wockhardt, Citibank and many more. Spanish is considered to be the second language of the world. Even in international curriculum, students learn it as their second language after English. 

Most European and American universities offer Spanish and Mandarin as a second language. An Indian student who has fluency in a foreign language stands a better chance of getting admission to foreign universities. “Foreign language skills give a student an edge over others,” says Vasi.

Learning Mandarin will also benefit those who want to continue working in India, she adds. With Chinese tourists comprising 2.57% of the 8% East Asian tourists visiting India every year, the tourism industry will need people who are proficient in the language. Also, as Hindi films find market in Spanish speaking countries, there is better scope for Spanish proficient people to get jobs in the subtitling and dubbing area.

Below is the link to the article on DNA’s website:

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