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  • Hello everyone, and welcome to the LangFocus Channel.

  • Today I'm going to talk about a question that I've been getting quite a lot recently,

  • and that is "What kind of job can I do with my foreign language skills?"

  • or "What kind of job should I do if I'm interested in foreign languages?"

  • Now, this is a question that I respect because I've witnessed a lot of people

  • investing years of their life into studying a language, kind of with the

  • assumption that it would naturally improve their career or give them new

  • opportunities, but without having a plan for how they would use that language,

  • they didn't really benefit from it and ended up being quite frustrated.

  • So young people who are asking this question

  • early on, I think you are thinking about things the right way. But the answer to

  • this question depends on just how you imagine your life in the future and how

  • far you really want to go with your language study. Now, some jobs are

  • specifically language-related; other jobs are not specifically-language related,

  • but a foreign language could be an asset; and for other jobs, it's not really

  • necessary at all, but it might be useful for your overall lifestyle. I'm going to

  • talk about those three types of situations. So first up are jobs that are

  • specifically language-related. For these jobs, you need to have some expertise in

  • the language; you need to have a deep understanding of the language.

  • So, the first kind of job is to teach a language. Here in Japan, I know a lot of

  • people who teach English; I also know people who teach other languages, like

  • French or Spanish.

  • Now, even if you don't have a lot of qualifications, there are some

  • opportunities to teach your language, especially if it's a major global

  • language, and especially if it's English. But the more qualifications you have,

  • then, of course, the better opportunities you get and the higher pay you can get,

  • the better positions you can find. Now, if you want to study a foreign language

  • that's not your native language and then teach that language, then you're looking

  • at a situation where you really need to get some expertise; you really need to

  • get qualifications. You should get a master's degree or maybe a PhD or

  • qualifications that show that you know that language very well at an academic

  • level, at a deep level, not just a conversational level. That's if you're

  • going to teach a language that's not your native language. Now, another type of

  • job that is language-specific is becoming a translator or an interpreter. Now,

  • the difference between those, just to clarify, a translator is somebody who

  • translates texts; they translate written materials from one language to another;

  • but an interpreter is somebody who translates speech; they translate the

  • things people are saying live, in real time, as they are speaking. Now, being a

  • translator or interpreter requires you to have a very deep understanding of

  • that language, because there's really no room for error or misunderstanding. You

  • have to translate, sometimes, very important information, and mistakes could

  • be a big problem, so you need to have very good, almost native-level skills,

  • especially if you're interpreting in real time, but also, you need to learn the skills of

  • translation or interpreting. Those are separate skills that you need to learn

  • on top of knowing the language. So, for these jobs that are specifically

  • language-related, there's really no room for language dabblers. You really need

  • to have a comprehensive understanding of that language, and you have to be able to

  • show that you can use that language at almost a native level. Next up are jobs

  • that are not specifically language related; they are basically focused on

  • another skill that you need, but the language is an additional asset.

  • The first kind of job is one that requires some technical expertise, but having a

  • language on top of that will give you some extra opportunities; so an example

  • that I've heard is from an engineer. His company sells some sort of machines to

  • companies around the world, and they send this engineer to those companies so he

  • can teach people how to use those machines in their factories. So, he learns

  • foreign languages so that he can do that. I believe this guy in particular

  • was working in Indonesia, so he learned Indonesian to be able to teach those

  • people in their native language. Another example career is business with a

  • regional focus; for example, maybe you get a commerce degree, or you get a Masters

  • of Business Administration, an MBA, but also you have some language skills, and maybe

  • you work for a company that does business in that region or does business

  • with companies in that region. Another example career is the foreign service --

  • being a diplomat, being someone who works at your country's embassies abroad. When

  • you work in the foreign service, I think that often involves some kind of

  • language training before you are sent abroad, but knowing some languages in

  • advance before you apply is probably a big asset. Another example is being a

  • tour guide. Now, a tour guide's main focus is not the language; it's the history and it's the

  • anthropology and all of those sorts of things, but having in language that they

  • can explain things in, that will help them have other opportunities, so maybe

  • you might specialize in tourists from Japan. You learn Japanese; you can be a

  • tour guide for Japanese tourists. Depending on where you live,

  • another option might be to do some other job in the tourism industry or open a

  • business in the tourism industry. If you live on Bali Island in Indonesia, then you

  • would be crazy not to learn English and Japanese and maybe some other languages

  • that are common amongst tourists. Another career is being a cabin attendant. Now, their

  • main focus is on safety training, on emergency response and that kind of

  • thing, but knowing a language, that's an additional asset; probably, they need to

  • know English in most cases, but they also need to know the language of the country

  • they're working in or of the destination that they often fly to. Maybe

  • they don't need to know it fluently, but knowing some of that language will help

  • them deal with the passengers on the plane; so if you live in Los Angeles and

  • you often fly to Asia, then knowing Japanese or Korean or Mandarin or

  • another language like that would probably be a big asset. Now all of these

  • jobs I just talked about, they're focused on another important skill, so they're

  • not focused on language, so you don't need a specific language qualification

  • in most cases, but you need to be able to demonstrate that you can use that

  • language on the job. that's the most important thing. The third type of job I

  • want to mention is one that doesn't really have any language requirement, but

  • learning that language would be useful for your off-time and for your overall

  • lifestyle. So let's say that you live in Singapore, and your company does business

  • in English, then you don't have to learn any other language; people in Singapore

  • speak English, but nearby is Malaysia and Indonesia; so let's say you want to

  • travel there on your off time. learning Malay or learning Indonesian would be very

  • useful in that situation, so think about the kind of lifestyle that you want to

  • have, and think about how languages fit in with that. Let's say that you want to

  • live the corporate expat lifestyle in some place like Hong Kong. Then, you can

  • study Cantonese while you get your finance degree, or you get your MBA or

  • whatever. If you want to be a programmer, and you can program from your laptop

  • anywhere in the world, then think about what country you would like to live in, and

  • learn the language of that country. If you're an avid traveler, and you love the

  • idea of living in different countries all the time, then you can learn how to

  • do businesses on the Internet, and you can learn the language of whatever

  • countries that you want to spend an extended period of time in. Or if you want

  • to learn a foreign language, and you want to someday reach an expert level and be

  • able to teach that language, then plan ahead for that; maybe go for your master's

  • degree or PhD. Try to really get a deep understanding and overall knowledge of

  • that language. So these are just my thoughts on it, based on things that I

  • know and things that I've heard, but a lot of the viewers have different

  • perspectives. Some of you probably have jobs that involve foreign languages, so

  • we want to know what you think. If you have any other ideas or any questions

  • about this topic,

  • leave them down below. Thank you for watching, and have a nice day.

Hello everyone, and welcome to the LangFocus Channel.

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A2 BEG US language foreign teach asset foreign language job

What Job Can I do With Foreign Language Skills?

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    g2   posted on 2017/02/22
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