Candidates should be aware that a grasp of foreign languages is often only part of the skills and training required for a successful career in the fields covered under the Languages sector. Graduates will need to apply their language skills to a range of responsibilities.
Aside from language proficiency, each area in this sector has its own special requirements:
Finance and Recruitment
A command of foreign languages can be extremely beneficial in the Finance and Recruitment sectors, as workers will often have to deal with clients overseas to negotiate international deals in foreign markets. Language graduates may want to consider these fields if they are fluent in the languages of the emerging markets.
A candidate entering these sectors must demonstrate a professional and driven outlook. They must have excellent communication, both written and oral in all applicable languages, as well as strong interpersonal skills and an understanding of how the industry operates. In Recruitment, language graduates must be able to understand and relate the job market to clients setting up abroad with spot-on translations. Diligence is essential in both fields to ensure disastrous errors in translation do not occur.
Retail and Business
Retail and Business are international sectors where language skills play an important factor in negotiations, and a range of languages can be extremely useful for roles which require selling and research. Modern communication and travel has increased the scope of operations for many businesses, and there are often vacancies for candidates in multilingual sales roles. Areas such as market research and business expansion require languages to assess the risks and advantages in international business moves.
Candidates should approach these roles with an understanding of business operations. Many students choose to study a language in conjunction with another field, such as Business or Management, which can be beneficial when it comes to finding employment. Analytical skills are also advantageous, and candidates should emphasize their ability to determine the best option from a range of offers. If a candidate is interested in pursuing a more Sales-heavy role, they should be personable and confident in all spoken languages.
Intelligence Services, Translation and Interpretation
One of the most exciting ways to make a career out of a foreign language is to work in intelligence services, translation or interpretation. These roles can be found in a variety of sectors. To work in intelligence services, candidates need to understand the importance of global intelligence and threats. Graduates should have a perfect command of the language, including dialects, accents, colloquialisms and slang. Intelligence services such as Mi5, Mi6 and GCHQ also enforce strict policies on who is eligible, and candidates must be British citizens.
To work in translation and interpretation, candidates need to be discrete, precise and extremely diligent, as a small translation error could cause major problems. They also must display a perfect command of the quirks and colloquialisms of the languages in question.
Travel is a wide field which offers many opportunities to Languages graduates, as work in this sector includes all aspects of the tourism industry. Candidates can apply their skills in airports, border security or customs, and graduates looking for work in translation may consider this path. The UKBA requires applicants to be able to work in emotionally charged situations and interpret between several different languages at once. Candidates should show strong interpersonal skills and an ability to remain calm when confronted.