Foreign Languages as an Alternative Career Option

Posted on March 22, 2012 in Alternative Careers

By Shilpa Naraini:

One has to think a lot when it comes to selecting a particular career, keeping in mind one’s interests, as well as the scope. After many days of chatting and partying following the12th  Board Exams, me and my group of friends were stuck at an important decision-making step of choosing appropriate careers for ourselves. We heard the usual suggestions — Doctors, Engineers, Charted Accountants; you know the drill, but one voice caught our attention — that of pursuing career in foreign language.

Like many others, we were also surprised to know that a course like this, which was once only a vocational course, had turned into a Hot Favourite career option for youngsters. In this era of MNCs and the multinational culture, and with the world being called a “global village”, it is greatly important for a country to improve on its language knowledge base to actually interact with the rest of the world easily. In that case, laying stress on pursuing foreign languages as a career and profession can do wonders for our country, and at the same providing us with innumerable job opportunities. To your surprise, you can apply for this course even after your 12th exams, without any eligibility criteria.

Various universities offer this as a part-time course also, and in order to simplify the academic curriculum and learning process, the courses are split into three levels:

First Level — Certificate Course
Second Level- Diploma Course
Third Level- Advance Diploma
You also opt for a Degree Course or an Integrated Graduate Course, both of which are being offered in various many Universities and Private Colleges—

  1. School of Languages, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  2. University of Delhi, New Delhi
  3. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Jawaharlal Nehru Academy of Languages, New Delhi
  4. Japanese Information and Cultural Centre, New Delhi
  5. Ram Krishna Mission, Kolkata
  6. Alliance Francasie, located in 15 cities of India
  7. Rajasthan University, Jaipur
  8. Max Mueller Bhavan in Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Chennai
  9. Pune University, Pune
  10. Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad
  11. Indo Italian Chamber of Commerce, Mumbai
  12. Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

As I’d like to put it, after M.B.B.S you will be a doctor, after B.Com you will land up in the corporate world, after B. Tech you will be an engineer, but after pursuing a Foreign Language as your career option, you can be employed in the following areas:

  1. Academics
  2. Public and Private Companies in the post of a general translator
  3. Tourism
  4. Employment in Airlines in the post of air stewards or air hostesses
  5. Public Relations
  6. Hotel Industry
  7. Freelancing jobs can also be pursued by a person who is armed with a Diploma or a Degree Certificate in Foreign Languages.

But merely getting a job doesn’t ease one’s mental tension, and neither does being paid enough just manage two square meals a day. Job satisfaction and upward mobility in terms of the professional life is also an equally-important aspect. You would be astonished to know that Professionals working for PR or the Marketing Department of any MNC can earn Rs 30,000-50,000 per month. Teachers can earn salaries in the range of Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 a month.  Translators, on the other hand, receive Rs 250 to Rs 500 per page; and compensation depends a lot upon the proficiency in the language. Similarly, an interpreter who is paid on an hourly basis can earn Rs 2000 to Rs 4000 per hour, depending on their caliber and hard work.

Future growth prospects also vary from language to language. In the country, for working in the government and Public Sector, apart from major languages like French, German, Spanish, Japanese etc, but today, even smaller languages like Pashpio, Uzbek, Tajiks, Hebrew, and Portuguese etc are beginning to see a great demand in terms of linguistic professionals.