Is It The Perfect Career for You?

“Hola!Esesta la carrera perfecta parati?”

“Bonjour!Oui!”

“Hallo. Sorry, nichtfürmich.”

Are you intrigued by the above dialogues? Do you know which languages they are in and what they mean? If your answer to any or all these questions is yes, then the following information about a career in languages will be of utmost interest to you.

The importance of languages in life is best illustrated in the words of contemporary psycholinguist, Frank Smith – “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” Research shows that being bilingual protects your brain. Learning as many languages as you can is a social gift that sharpens your brain and expands your cultural knowledge as well as your career opportunities in the field of linguistics.

Linguistics is the science of language that focuses on all aspects of the languages - the sounds, words, and grammar of specific languages, the relationship between languages, and the universal characteristics of all languages. As a student of linguistics, you not only become familiar with different languages but also nurture your cross-cultural skills. Studying linguistics helps you develop a few important skills such as problem solving, analytical techniques, critical thinking, and written and oral expression. 

Linguistics is an excellent career choice for those of you who are passionate about languages and learning their significance in various cultures and society.

Recent years has seen a surge of demand for competent linguists in various fields. The developments in artificial intelligence, communication and information sciences, and computer applications in natural language processing have increased the value of a linguist in the job market. Teaching is one of the best options with openings in schools, colleges, and institutions that teach and train people in various Indian &foreign languages.

Industry Snapshot

The industry is witnessing a rising global demand for linguists. India being a rich bed of over 200 languages is an effective test ground for research in linguistics. The country is facing language endangerment triggering urgency for documentation of lesser known (tribal) languages and dialects.

The field of linguistics offers rich potential for young minds with fresh outlook but has been under-explored in the country. There are diverse opportunities in both academia and industry and in a global landscape, an understanding of linguistics is a highly regarded field. Applied linguistics is one of the fastest growing fields in India and is being recognized for its ability to address language-related issues at a micro and macro level across a broad range of scenarios.

Globalization is an emerging trend in most businesses and has a huge impact in the world economy. Linguistics will continue to have a substantial role to play in global economies.

Nature of Work

Linguists must be fluent in at least two languages in order to convert written and spoken information from one language to another. In addition, professionals have the added pressures of relaying both the style and tone of information being transmitted. Linguists can specialize in translation or interpretation.  They relay concepts and ideas between languages. They must thoroughly understand the subject matter in which they work so that they are able to convert information from one language, known as the source language, into another, the target language, familiar with the subject matter that the speakers will discuss, a task that may involve research to create a list of common words and phrases associated with the topic.

  • To provide good language models.
  • To maintain fluent use of the target language.
  • To give explanations and instructions in the target language.
  • To monitor his or her own speech and writing for accuracy.
  • To provide language-enrichment experiences for learners.

Skills Required

Develop these skills to excel in this profession:

  • Organizational Skills.
  • Detail-oriented.
  • Curious to explore new cultures and societies.
  • Sensitivity and respect for different cultures, religions and backgrounds.
  • Confident to communicate with people from various backgrounds.
  • Observe people and data.
  • Easily relate language to social context.
  • Observe people and data.

Different Disciplines of Language

Language can be divided broadly into three categories, mentioned in the table below:

Indian Languages

Foreign Language

Others

Hindi

English

Buddhist Studies

Sanskrit

French

Linguistics Studies

Malayalam

German

Islamic Studies

Kannada

Spanish

 

Tamil

Japanese

 

Marathi

Arabic

 

Assamese

Mandarin

 

Gujarati

Urdu

 

Oddiya

Italian

 

Sindhi

Persian

 

Bengali

Russian

 

Punjabi

 

 

        Sindhi          

 

 

Want to explore any specific discipline in particular? Click on it . There are more courses available in the College Search page

Education

Education requirements in this field vary. Typically, a bachelor's degree is the entry-level education requirement to become a Linguist. However, the most important requirement is to be fluent in at least two languages, including English. A degree in a language will help you become fluent in any language of your choice. The related programs also teach you to understand how native tongue relates to culture in countries around the world. Language courses are courses to enhance Linguistic skills and Literary sensibilities in students.

Majoring in Linguistics or Language means that you will learn about many aspects of human language, including the physical properties and structure of sounds (Phonetics and Phonology), words (Morphology), sentences (Syntax), and meaning (Semantics). It can involve looking at how languages change over time (Historical Linguistics), how they vary from situation to situation, group to group, and place to place (SocioLinguistics and Dialectology), how people use language in context (Pragmatics), or how people acquire or learn a language (Language Acquisition). Students are also encouraged to complement their Linguistic Studies with courses in related areas (such as Psychology, Cognitive Science, Anthropology, or Computer Science) to be more well-rounded and better informed. Several under graduate and post graduate degree and diploma programs are conducted in the field of Linguistics or languages by various universities/institutes all over India. 

The basic educational qualification required to learn a language is to have passed their 10+2 or senior secondary examination. Some students start learning different languages, during the school days, or after 10+2, or during graduation, which shows that there is no age bar to learn any foreign language. 

Majority of the institutes in India offer courses, at least three different levels, certificate, diploma and degree level. However, some institutes also imparting courses at both basic and advanced levels, including postgraduate and PhD level. To be eligible for the UG courses, students have to pass Higher Secondary Certificate Examination (10+2) in any discipline, recognized by any State/National Board. For the postgraduate courses, one should have completed graduation in the similar stream, from any recognized University. The curriculum of these courses includes topics that cover various aspects of languages, including their History/Literature, Grammar, Pronunciation etc. 

After 10th

A student has to study his/her 11th and 12th from any stream. Preferably Arts, while choosing a specific language he/she is interested in. A student can also join a certificate course.

After 12th

A student can join a certificate course or can continue for a graduation degree specializing in his/her field of interest. 

Career Prospects & Job Opportunities

The field of language has many career options for young aspirants, including Teaching, Interpreting, Translating and Freelancing in language. Many organizations, especially multinational companies that have overseas business links, are always seeking those professionals who are adept at languages. In fact, learning a language can increase the career opportunities for a person.

There are many different career options available for Linguistics graduates.  Below is a sample of the types of positions available to graduates.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list as there are many other careers available. Many positions require additional education or experience.

  • Multinational Corporations: Many companies require Translators to help understand their communication with their counterparts. Jobs can be regular, full time or part-time. There are also many translation agencies which employ personnel having good knowledge of a foreign language. A person can work as a Freelancer after gaining a few years’ experience. 
  • Interpreter, Technical Decoders or Translators: With the advent of new technology like teleconferencing and video-conferencing, it is now possible to hold conferences and meetings between personnel from India and their counterparts in other countries without having to actually travel between the two countries. Almost always, such meetings require a person with the knowledge of not just the language, but also of the manners and etiquette required.
  • BPO/KPO: A recent addition to the requirements in industry. A number of BPOs have come up in India. Jobs could involve speaking skills or data processing.
  • Tourism & Hospitality Industry: A person speaking a foreign language is most suited for this industry.
  • Teaching & Education: At present the number of learners in India is about 5000 per year. As a large number of educational establishments as well as companies having regular exchanges with foreign countries require good Language teachers for students and professionals alike. The job opportunities in this field are plenty – across the country.
  • Mass Communication & PR: As the business between Indian companies and multinationals increases and more and more projects are launched, there is a need for people who can coordinate the projects and communicate between the two teams.
  • Government & Public Administration: Students who have done MA in French, German or Russian can appear for UPSC with French/German/Russian as their major subject and make a career in the Indian Administrative Service or the Foreign Service. They can also be employed with international organizations, embassies and diplomatic services.
  • Media & Publication Houses: Those students who are more interested in Literature can undertake translations of literary works in foreign languages. There is also a growing market for the translation of self-help and management books. There are also jobs for the students in the publishing industry. They can also become Web Content writers.

Angels and Demons

Pros

  • You can get a job easily.
  • Industry for some languages is always in demand. Important to choose what language to learn.
  • You can move to different industries with your specialized language.
  • High chances of moving to a foreign country.

Cons

  • The demand for a language depends a lot on the country and its economic prowess.
  • The pay is low.
  • Work is stressful and deadline driven.
  • Schedule is irregular. 

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