Job opportunities in Languages? (8)

1 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-03-02 09:45 ID:VfWB4lyF

Hi, I didn't know whether if this topic should go into personal issues or here, but since it's language-related, I hope that there some people here that can give me some advice.

Ok, so im going to be a junior in my university soon and my major so far has been languages with a focus on chinese and japanese. In the beginning, i thought that I would be able to get a job in a gov't agency since I know that there are positions available for translators, but the more I think about it, there are people who don't specialize in languages but have multiple talents on top of speaking another language. So after awhile, I began to lose sight of what I could do in the job market with this major. I mean, is it really something that I should be majoring in or something I should switch out of? I just kinda wanna get an overview on what it's like out there for people like me.

2 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-03-02 21:34 ID:/hPnesmO

I'm majoring in a language, but only because I couldn't really do anything else and I don't much care about its use afterwards anyway. It's basically completely pointless, if you're worried you should probably switch.

3 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-03-09 22:26 ID:TXtOCKO+

It's certainly not COMPLETELY pointless, but language skills will never be the main thing that get you a job--trust me. I was a modern language and linguistics major as an undergrad, have a graduate degree in foreign language literature, and can speak, read, and write six languages, but I've never worked full-time in a language-related field.

Translation jobs do exist--I translate part-time. In the U.S., at least, where I live, translation jobs mostly go to native speakers, and are easier to get in the corporate sector, or as a freelancer, than as a full-timer or government employee. You can do it, but you really have to be ready to hustle and sell yourself. And of course, you generally need skills much stronger than you can acquire in only four years at university. Go live in China or Japan for a few of years once you graduate, and get really fluent that way. That will make you more competitive.

You might be better off developing other marketable skills, and using your language abilities as an additional qualification--for example, language abilities can be an advantage when working for Japanese or Chinese-owned companies, or companies that do international business. Sales, technology, publishing, etc.--each of these fields regularly needs people with language abilities. Near me, for example, the headquarters of Viz Publishing USA (a manga publisher) is always looking for people to do various types of sales and editorial jobs, and they require Japanese fluency.

4 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-03-10 06:44 ID:VfWB4lyF

>>2, >>3

thanks for your responses and sorry I couldn't respond any quicker. Well, it seems like this field of study is at a disadvantage when compared to other majors so I guess your views basically confirms that. Thanks for your responses, I guess i'lll end up switching my major after all.

5 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-03-18 20:18 ID:TXtOCKO+

I'm not sure you need to be in such a hurry to switch; with few exceptions, undergraduate degrees don't have that much to do with ultimate careers. If you like your courses, and are doing well, a language degree is no less useful than most other undergrad degrees. A bachelor's degree in business, for example, is almost useless in the real world, even though it sounds like a career-oriented degree.

I'd get your language degree, then look for a job with a company that does business in the countries where those languages are spoken. Most entry-level gigs don't expect you to know how to do the job yet, and your abilities may prove useful.

If you're a U.S. citizen, you should also consider taking the Foreign Service Exam--you might wind up a junior-level diplomat in China or Japan before you know it. They train really well, and by the time you leave, you'll have a range of other skills in addition to languages that you can draw upon for future work. If you're not a Yank, look into civil service opportunities in your home country.

6 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-04-08 03:41 ID:VfWB4lyF


oh cool, I guess i'll look into stuff like that.
Oh, what do you mean by yank? like im hard-core american or something?

7 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-04-09 00:03 ID:TXtOCKO+


>>Oh, what do you mean by yank?

I just meant American. The British, among others, call us Yanks.

8 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-04-09 06:07 ID:VfWB4lyF


ah i see. very cool. thanks for the awesome info

This thread has been closed. You cannot post in this thread any longer.