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Tips for a Successful Career as a Multilinguist

career in foreign languages

Travel the world, become aware of diverse opportunities this career has and enjoy the power of understanding people across international borders through the information provided in this article

The government of India will consider you as literate if you can write and speak in one language but you’ll just be another face in the crowd. Of course, you do know English and your regional language. But mastery over foreign languages is truly empowering. In fact, a study claims, learning a foreign language can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Coming back to the point you can actually build a secure career after earning a degree in Foreign Languages in India as well as abroad. The astonishing merit of pursuing a degree in Foreign Languages is that it actually enables you to dive into any field you desire and the most amazing part is you can do that from anywhere across the globe. The study of foreign languages teaches and encourages respect for other people, it builds an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature. It expands one’s view of the world, liberalizes one’s experience, and makes one more flexible and tolerant. Its study leads to an appreciation of cultural diversity.

The figure below demonstrates how expertise in linguistics gives you the ability to become a part of several areas.

Career in Foreign Languages: Educational Requirement

Students can opt for foreign language in schools (eg: Schools with IGCSE syllabus) although most schools in India, don’t offer this subject.

You can take up a career in a foreign language after completing 10+2 in any discipline, opt for an undergraduate course and later pursue a degree in Masters then Ph.D. There are diploma and specialized courses available in various languages as well.

Types of Languages

Across the globe, schools do teach at least one foreign language in their curriculum. But adults who are fluent in more than one language are rare, in India as well as abroad. According to a survey in 2001, 66% population of UK spoke only their native language.

In India, according to the Census of 2001, there are 122 major languages and 1599 other languages, out of which 30 languages are spoken by more than a million people. Offering a wide range to study and excel on a regional basis, but a degree in foreign language creates a national as well as international base for you to build your career on. The following are the languages that you can earn a degree in terms of the course of Foreign Languages:

  • French
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Arabic
  • Italian
  • Mandarin
  • Dutch

Career Path in Foreign Languages

The picture above portrays all possible positions you can opt for after pursuing a degree in foreign languages. It’s intriguing how mastering two-three languages can lead to such diverse employment opportunities. But to be the best, you need to study where quality education is provided. Following are a few such institutions which will help you fulfill your dreams.

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Top Indian Institutes for Foreign Languages

InstitutesLocationCourses offeredEligibilityWebsite
SRM UniversityGhaziabadUndergraduate PhD10+2Masters
Guru Nanak Dev UniversityAmritsarCertificate and Diploma Courses10+2Preference is given to graduates and Ph.D. holders.
SymbiosisPuneCertificate Courses10+2 
CIEFLHyderabadPart-time and full-time courses10+2
Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiUndergraduate and certificate
Banaras Hindu UniversityBanarasPost-graduationGraduate 

Top International Institutes for Foreign Languages

InstituteLocation Courses offeredEligibilityWebsite
Universitat RivoraVirgiliM.A.Graduate
University of GroningenNetherlandsM.A.Graduate

Fee Structure

The course fee in India ranges from 10,000 to 100,000 rupees, depending on the location and institution you prefer. The total fee, abroad ranges from 2 to 6 lakhs, varying according to the place and institution.

Skills Required

  • Skills include strong writing, communication, oratory, multitasking, analytical, business and grasping skills.
  • You ought to have these skills or at least a desire to learn and train your talents in these avenues.
  • Qualities include passion to learn languages, high level of concentration, interest in the cultural heritage of other languages, discipline, hard work, determination, commitment, and dedication.

Job Opportunities

As mentioned earlier as well, expertise in foreign languages can open doors to multiple areas and for further specification here’s a demand for qualified language professionals evident in seven major career areas:

  • Business, Industry & Commerce 
  • Engineering 
  • Government & International 
  • Teaching 
  • Interpreting & Translation 
  • Media & Journalism 
  • Publishing
  • Travel & Tourism 
  • Service Organizations 

“Evalueserve”, an international research company claimed that BPO, IT and KPO need 160000 professionals in a foreign language, in India. Demand for professionals in foreign languages from Indians with low salary expectations is high in foreign countries.

The FBI has developed a special program– Foreign Language Incentive Pay — that awards additional compensation to employees who have certified foreign language proficiency in critical foreign languages. In the area of trade and commerce, companies that expand to other regions desperately require employees with knowledge of foreign languages.

Below are a few occupations you can take up.

  • Freelancer
  • Translator
  • Teacher
  • Content Writer
  • Critic
  • Editor
  • Tourist Guide

Salary Structure

Foreign language professionals earn a decent amount of salary. Professionals can earn from 30,000 – 50,000 rupees per month. Teachers can earn in the range of 15,000 to 25,000 rupees a month. Translators, on the other hand, receive Rs. 250 to 500 per page. Similarly, an interpreter who is paid on an hourly basis can earn up to Rs. 2000 to 4000 per hour, again depending upon his caliber and work experience. Freelancers earn on the basis of the projects they receive.


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