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Careers for linguists

(22 Posts)
TriggersBroom Mon 31-Mar-14 14:58:51

What careers can people suggest for able linguists? I have a Yr10 DD who is doing French, Italian and Mandarin at GCSE and I think she will continue to do mainly languages at sixth form.

I did a language degree myself but ended up going into a business role and ultimately haven't particularly used the languages I spent time studying.

Of course, there's teaching, but I'm not sure that's her bag. What other careers are there?

slev Mon 31-Mar-14 15:11:22

Hmm, think I went more down your route I'm afraid. When I graduated I went to work for a French company so used my French a fair bit, since then I've moved around in my field and ultimately left the languages far behind (other than reading foreign language novels periodically so as not to lose them altogether).

I suppose what I would say is that just because you enjoy languages doesn't necessarily mean you have to make a career out of them. I studied languages at uni because it was what I enjoyed, with no real thought as to what it would mean from a career-perspective - I'd assumed it was basically teaching or translating. Being able to use my French in my first job was a bonus and I suspect there are a number of companies where it would be seen as an asset, even if your actual role is in marketing, finance, logistics etc.

That doesn't really answer the questions, does it? blush grin

magimedi Mon 31-Mar-14 15:14:23

DS did French & Italian at university & has ended up living in France and is manager of an English ski company over there. Having French certainly helped him to get the job. Not mega bucks but he has wonderful life & is very happy.

TriggersBroom Mon 31-Mar-14 15:15:53

Yes, the general view seems to be that you do languages with something else.

SoldeInvierno Wed 02-Apr-14 09:38:50

After a languages degree, I went into the translation industry. I also did a management post grad and a project management qualification. and ended up in a variety of roles: project manager, people's manager, procurement...You definitely need something else as well as the languages

bottersnike Thu 03-Apr-14 10:49:01

Agree, languages are a fantastic skill but you generally need something else that you can apply with them, e.g. business, tourism qualification etc.
I did a languages degree and then worked in finance for 12 years before becoming a translator.
Jobs like customer service or admin with a language tend not to be very well paid so it is well worth looking into an additional qualification along with language A levels or a mixed degree course.
Hope we've helped! smile

AnnaBegins Wed 09-Apr-14 18:56:11

I got my first job due to languages, they wanted their international sales team to be able to make clients feel welcome in their own language, even if business was conducted in English. I think more companies are seeing it as an asset now.

flow4 Thu 17-Apr-14 19:00:26

I did a linguistics degree (many moons ago!) My peers became English language/ESOL/TEFL teachers, foreign language teachers, teachers of other subjects, translators, interpreters (at the EU and Welsh parliaments, and for businesses), speech and language therapists, business people for various foreign companies, university lecturers, university researchers, a teacher of deaf children (with BSL), a BBC producer and a missionary!

RuthlessBaggage Thu 17-Apr-14 19:20:34

I was one of seven linguists that started together at my college.

Two of us went into law, one into telly, one emigrated (to a country which doesn't speak either of his degree languages or English) and started an export business, two work in the city, and the last one transferred to Arabic and was never seen again.

There are lots of local international jobs where languages are useful - import/export or European law.

Directly language jobs (translation, interpretation) are offensively poorly paid. But lots of interesting and lucrative careers benefit from language skills. The world's your oyster, esp with Mandarin.

Numanoid Fri 20-Jun-14 15:49:06

I graduated with a Languages degree just under a year ago, and I haven't been able to find anything within travelling distance which involves using my languages. sad That said, I studied and worked in Spain for a year, and there are plenty of jobs there for Spanish/English speakers.

I'm fluent in French and Spanish, and can speak conversational German and Catalan. I think I'd want to learn more of those two as well as find a job which would allow me to use French and/or Spanish.

Numanoid Fri 20-Jun-14 15:52:41

OP - Wanted to add, I don't fancy teaching either, it would be a great job but I just don't think I'm cut out for it. Although I do fine with private lessons, and would teach at a language school if the opportunity arose.

If your DD was happy to live abroad in the future, there would be so many prospective jobs in France, Italy and China. Being able to speak Mandarin sounds awesome!! grin

That said, I know lots of people who have taught English abroad in various different countries, and learned the language of that country while they were there, so there's no limit as to where she could go.

Patricia909 Fri 20-Jun-14 15:56:25

Foreign Office look for linguists - particularly French and Mandarin. Interesting work if not as well paid as before. Similarly, the EU institutions look for languages. Not just for translation and interpreting but also for a wide variety of EU careers.

BendyMum15 Thu 21-Aug-14 12:02:05

DH is a translator - he did French and German at uni and after falling into translating through for a multinational credit insurance company. He went freelance about 4 years ago and hasn't looked back.
I did Italian and Religious Studies at uni and although I trained as a teacher I work for a students union and last used my Italian on our honeymoon!

exexpat Thu 21-Aug-14 12:06:59

Linguists I know have gone into translation, diplomatic service, journalism (some organisations like Reuters specifically recruit people with languages), law, banking, teaching, and various arts/culture related jobs.

There aren't that many jobs apart from language teaching and translation which are based solely around the knowledge of a language, but there are lots where it comes in handy, and where just having a good degree is more important than the degree subject (e.g. law, banking).

lasareena Thu 21-Aug-14 12:32:19

Is she at all technical / mathematical? Linguistics and computer science is a great combination, can be very lucrative.

EBearhug Thu 21-Aug-14 12:34:33

Any global company. I agree with those who say linguistics and something else.

BoredPanda Thu 21-Aug-14 12:50:51

One of my friends works in Afghanistan in language development. Having French initially helped her get the role but her passion for languages and also being good at picking up languages comparatively quickly is more why she got the job. I don't think I would do it, but she's happy and also very passionate about where she lives (she's worked outside of Afghanistan but always keeps coming back). She's doing work on a dictionary and it uses her French language skills in it. Not for most people, though!

antimatter Thu 21-Aug-14 12:57:50

most sales people in my company speak at least 2 languages

we also have technical managers and ppl in marketing who speak at least one foreign language fluently

BasketzatDawn Wed 01-Oct-14 18:54:15

A family member with a languages degree is a paid snooper. ie. works at GCHQ. I did nursing after mine - I did work abroad for a bit, would have done for longer but 'life' got in the way. smile

VanillaLatte13 Sat 01-Nov-14 15:52:04

May be a bit off topic.

I have German teacher degree recognised by NARIC. Ended up in a demanding admin role after attempting to become a German language teacher in the UK but being told that I have to be native and my chances are very poor. Now looking to change career as DC are getting older and with my stressful demanding job I cannot really continue what I am doing currently. What are my chanced to find a language teaching job in a grammar school and do I need extra qualification please?

saintsandpoets Sat 01-Nov-14 15:53:40

All my linguist friends from uni are solicitors and barristers now.

Linguaphile Mon 17-Nov-14 23:21:19

I studied linguistic anthropology and went on to work for an NGO doing language development work in Asia. It was a great first job!

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