Can you speak a language other than English?

An ability to communicate well in any European language can open up a variety of opportunities, whether you’re looking for permanent, temporary or part-time employment.  Your fluency can be the core component of the job, such as in translation, teaching or interpreting, or a skill which complements the main specialisation, as in the case of a bilingual trader, or research position with an economic or risk consulting firm where it will supplement your other key skills and specific industry knowledge.  For many customer service roles language ability will be a useful plus; there are interesting positions within international recruitment consultancies for people able to communicate fluently with clients and candidates of different nationalities; and opportunities with companies focusing on international trade.

Sometimes, of course, language ability can just be an additional skill that helps differentiate you from other candidates, so never underestimate the value of keeping your language skills current, whatever your nationality and eventual career aims.

Broadly speaking, you will often be able to find work using languages in the sectors listed below, and will sometimes find roles advertised on CareerHub:

  • business services including business research and business intelligence, sales and marketing
  • financial services, banking and multinationals
  • charity sector in organisations with international focus
  • media and journalism
  • heritage sector including temporary or volunteering opportunities in museums
  • tourism with opportunities ranging across sales, marketing, hospitality or tour guiding
  • teaching and tutoring services

It’s worth checking out whether the consulate or chamber of commerce of your particular home country offers a recruitment service to businesses as many of the jobs posted will of course include a requirement for specific language skills.  Check out for example the French Chamber of Great Britain and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in London.  You’ll also find relevant jobs listed on Indeed language jobs and Guardian jobs with languages.

Translation work

A quick search for interpreting, translation or ‘localisation’ work (the process of preparing products for different international markets) will reveal a number of specialised agencies in the sector.  Many people work on a freelance basis and you might be expected to have a formal qualification in translating or interpreting.  You will typically be requested to translate from source into your native language.  Large organisations selling products and services in different countries will frequently have in-house technical writing and translating teams, where you could be involved in translating website content as well as technical documentation and training material. Check out the following:

Teaching and tutoring

Teaching others to speak your native language, offering tutoring support to school children is something that you can turn to and a great way of earning some extra money as well of course as offering a more permanent job option.

Sources of information

For general information on opportunities using languages see Prospects and Jobs.ac.uk and Multilingual vacancies.com.

and finally…

Un homme qui parle trois langues est trilingue.
Un homme qui parle deux langues est bilingue.
Un homme qui ne parle qu’une langue est anglais.

Claude Gagnière

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