What are there jobs for people good at languages?(18 Posts)
Wasn't sure where to put this, but would love to hear your views.
Dd1 needs to apply now for work experience placements for next year.
She has 'always wanted to be a vet' <rolls eyes> but tbh is only getting by in sciences, whereas it turns out she excels in languages (French and German). She is applying at our local animal pound, vet, and a nearby zoo. However I think she ought to apply for work experience somewhere relevant to her language skills as well. Any ideas of where or what? We live in Dublin..
She will need two placements, and I reckon will benefit from some variety (i.e. not both animal-related!). Here there is only one university that runs a course in veterinary science, and it's the one of hardest courses to get into. I don't want to be discouraging, but while my dd is bright I don't think she's going to get top marks in all her subjects, so think she should consider other degree courses/career choices too.
She is also apparently gifted at English writing and playing piano.
She's only 14 and 7 months but her school do place a lot of importance on work experience and it's a good opportunity to get a feel for potential careers.
Ugh, that title! Should say: what jobs are there for people who are good at languages?
The obvious ones are translation and interpreting, voice-over artist, subtitler or copywriter. However, it is a tough industry and at the pace Machine Translation is developing, it will be even tougher by the time your DD is a graduate. I have been on it for 20 years and it is quite clear. So, I think I would aim to learn the languages alongside another chosen career. For example, doing economics and German or Japanese, or IT with Chinese (just examples). So, where as languages are extremely important in my opinion, I think you will need another supporting skill in the future to obtain a nice job. Jobs that only need you to speak a language tend to be customer services based, and they are very badly paid. The competition is fierce because you only have to pop over to central Europe and most people speak 2 or 3 languages by default. It is not seen as something THAT special. Hence my comment that you need another skill to go alongside.
I know a lot of people who did languages at uni. Only one is in a job which is specifically 'for' people who did languages (a freelance translator). Oh and a couple of language teachers of course. However, several of the others have undoubtedly been supported in their careers by their language strengths. E.g. someone who went into sales (big business to business international company) and works across Europe, one works as a senior director in a travel company. In some international companies, graduate jobs place a very strong emphasis on having a second (or third) language and certainly my previous company wouldn't have required 'other' training (e.g. a business or finance degree). Language + economics might be good, providing you're sure she'd do well in both areas. A first in languages would be better than a 2:2 in a combined course.
I know someone who does subtitles for films but she does it as temporary work while she isn't acting. Another woman I know translates art exhibition catalogues and signs.
Exports - so sales, marketing, purchasing/procurement, etc. I know someone who sold rights for a publishing company with French and German. Media law might have similar routes. International companies, Euro civil service?
I used to work in dublin, using my german. I worked for prudential on adelaide road, where they had a back office for insurance products sold on the german market. They also had a french department and a spanish one, i think. It was an ifsc company (do they still exist?) so although the job could have been done in germany, by germans, the ifsc rules dictated that the back office had to be in ireland. But unlike places like UPS which had international call centres, our call centre was in germany then we did the admin that they generated.
My department was sold after i left (to a company in black rock - irish life possibly?), but i bet if you rang prudential's HR they could tell you where it went!
The only reason i stopped working there was that i wanted to move back to england, but the job was great, certainly much better than bog standard bi-lingual secretary roles (which i've also done, and i hated).
Maybe try Google.
From this job advert it looks like they're recruiting German speakers at the moment:-
So it might be worth contacting them to see if they will do a language focussed placement
If she's good at languages she'll have excellent problem solving and communication skills. She will be good at thinking around a problem and is probably resourceful. She most likely recognises the value of cumulative work over a long period to achieve something. She will also have a good understanding in how to choose an appropriate way to say something, ie use of different registers.
I think any employer would bite her hand off.
If she wants something where she will use her languages, then the examples by other posters are great. Make sure she recognises her transferable skills.
I did French and German a-levels and then a language degree. I don't directly use those languages, but I write (in English) for a living and my background in language study is invaluable.
Thanks for all these answers
I thought I wouldn't get any with that crap thread title. Lots of great ideas to go on here
I am thinking of steering her towards a language degree, even if she doesn't use it directly, because that seems to be where her passion lies. I don't actually have a degree, but lots of people I know who do don't work in jobs directly related to their degrees. For example, dh did archaeology and works in IT.
That's a great idea about Google, there are a few similar IT companies based here that look for staff with German language skills. I have a German friend who works for eBay.. Dh's company has an international department here too so that could be an option (I know it's a bit nepotic, but we've been told to use any contacts to get placements because we're relying on a lot of goodwill really).
She surprised me enormously yesterday by saying she'd like to try for a placement in a primary school, so it's great to see her opening up to other possibilities.
It turns out she in fact needs three placements, so I think if she can get one working with animals, one in a school, and one in a business (with German/French) that would be ideal.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I work in an agricultural business. We sell all over the world, and offer ongoing technical support for the product we sell. People with biological/agric/vet qualifications who are also good at languages are in hot demand and very rare. See if she can do an animal based degree and keep the languages going. Although Spanish or Mandarin would probably be more useful than French or German, from my experience!
Anything it was both nice and enlightening to hear your thoughts on her transferable skills. I hadn't thought of language skills in that way at all. Thanks, I will make sure she bears that in mind.
Painty thanks, yes I think that could be a good option. Possibly with French.
neversaydie hmm, that's food for thought. She hopes to do a module in Spanish next year too, so that may become another of her languages if it takes root.
Sorry, meant to add I'm not still not sure her science skills are up to it though
"She surprised me enormously yesterday by saying she'd like to try for a placement in a primary school, so it's great to see her opening up to other possibilities."
What about trying to combine the languages and primary school by getting a placement at the German school St. Kilians?
Ah that's a good idea Aphra, thanks. We live on a bus route that goes straight to St. Killians too.
Journalism might be a good bet for someone who excels at writing and has a couple of other languages - fluency in languages other than English is a real advantage.
I am a linguist, but age 40, I must say that although knowing languages has opened doors for me, other than teaching or translating there are not that many "languages jobs".
Better to do law, or business, or anything, with language added on
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