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Foreign languages

The advent of the process of globalization has made the coming together of people from different countries much easier. Opening up of economies has resulted in MNCs coming to our country and setting up businesses here. And it is precisely because of this that learning foreign languages is not merely an advantage for all those who want to work abroad but also for those who want to build a colorful career right here at home.

Employment opportunities

There is no dearth of opportunities for those having a mastery over a foreign language. Earlier, teaching was the automatic choice for language graduates, but things have undergone a sea change and now a wide variety of lucrative career options abound.

One of such jobs is that of a general translator. For this, you should have excellent writing skills and a strong vocabulary in at least two languages. This profession poses various challenges because different languages generally do not have the same syntactical pattern and many words and phrases do not have equivalents in other languages.

In recent years, due to the entry of an increased number of MNCs in the country, the need to translate reports, contracts and various business documents has grown many folds. This kind of translation is called technical translation. Corporate houses approach various translation centres for this purpose.

Interpretation is yet another lucrative career option. The job of interpretation involves a lot of trust because it is the interpreter only who knows the crux of the conversation. Further, the interpreter must possess very high proficiency over the language concerned because unlike the translator he does not enjoy the facility of a dictionary. A good awareness of current developments and familiarity with new technical terms is a must for becoming successful. Interpreters can also work at international seminars and meetings.

Those with knowledge of a foreign language can also find jobs as medical transcribers. When recorded audio reports are translated into text format, the process is known as transcription. Knowledge of medical terms is essential for medical transcribers.

In addition, language professionals are quite in demand in industries like travel and tourism, hospitality, etc. Those well-versed in foreign language are also preferred in embassies and other diplomatic missions.

The biggest employer of all is the United Nations. It’s not easy to get a job there. They have six official languages—English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese. And you have to know at least three of these, or you won’t be hired. Indians face a problem because the language most taught after English and French—German—is not one of these six.


There’s no fixed pay scale. If you’re employed by an MNC, you’ll start with their designated salary. Teaching a language earns you as much as Rs. 400/- an hour. Of languages, Japanese is considered to be the best paying--an interpreter earns up to Rs. 2,000 per hour and a translator Rs. two per word.

Other benefits

Besides the immediate and tangible benefits that the knowledge of another language provides, the knowledge of a second-language also comes in handy in many other areas.

Personal benefits       

  • The ability to travel with ease in non-English speaking countries
  • An opportunity to experience foreign language literature, films and music in their  original forms
  • Exposure to cultural diversity

Intellectual benefits

  • Knowledge of English is enhanced by the study of second-language structures and  semantics      
  • Memory skills are improved
  • Self-expression and self-concept are enhanced
  • Vocabulary is expanded, as well as the ability to use one's own language in new ways


A variety of courses are usually available, including part-time and full-time courses, short intensive courses and courses leading to qualifications. If you look around, you can probably find a course that suits your requirements. Here is a list of some top colleges/institutes for language studies.

  • School of Languages - Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
  • Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL), Hyderabad.
  • Benaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
  • University of Delhi, New Delhi.
  • Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Jawaharlal Nehru Academy of Languages, New Delhi.
  • Alliance Francasie (15 branches across the country).
  • Max Mueller Bhavan (Located in major metros).
  • Amity School of Languages.
  • Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce, Mumbai.
  • Japanese Information and Cultural Centre, New Delhi.
  • Indo-Japan Chamber Of Commerce & Industry, Chennai.
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