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To learn many languages...

Ebenezer Kingslin Jan 3 2018, 22:08 IST
Knowing more than one language can open the door to a wider range of opportunities.

Knowing more than one language can open the door to a wider range of opportunities.

Language is our primary source of communication. It's the method through which we share our ideas and thoughts with others. When I was younger, the boundaries were thick, the world was way too big for us to connect. But when we look around today, language has gained paramount significance specially with the penetration of mobile, social media and Internet access across every walk of life. The past decade has been a witness to the fact that the world is more connected now than it ever was.

Organisations are looking to engage with customers on a deeper and more customised level. Consumers worldwide want everything on their own terms, and this includes a preference for communicating in their own language. In India as well, the scenario is no different. The significance of communicating in native languages has increased drastically with the advent of 'Make in India' movement. At the same time, with the increasing access to Internet, India began running on a digital mode. The importance of foreign languages, as a result, has skyrocketed.

With data moving across the globe, numerous opportunities have come up for linguists across languages and industries. Knowing more than one language can open the door to a wider range of opportunities.

Translation and interpretation

According to a recent report, the field of translation and interpretation services is expected to increase by 36% by 2019. In times of mass lay-offs, this is one of the few industries that has projected such growth in career opportunities. Translation of content has expanded from books, documents, technical specifications to websites, mobile apps, games and more. These show the demand for language skills and the amount of growth that the field of translation and interpretation services is going to witness in the coming years.

Translation is not just limited to documents or books as generally perceived. In fact, there are other areas where translation specialists are needed. Some of possible careers include:

Voice-over artist: The multimedia industry is always on the lookout for efficient and cost-effective voiceovers for their multimedia requirements. It is here that bilingual or multilingual artistes can put their skills to the test.

Linguistic testing: This field, also known as linguistic quality check, has
gained traction in recent times. The ability to authenticate translated content is a skill that is high in demand.

Interpretation: Gone are the days when interpretation was only limited to a single person providing face to face linguistic support. Today, linguistic support is combined with the latest multimedia tools to provide simultaneous interpretations for events and conferences, among others.

What makes learning a new language more effective is the possibility to combine it with an existing skill or passion. It could range from a passion for public speaking or a skill in a particular tool. Learning languages also opens the doors to opportunities in various industries like education, information technology and tourism.

Many benefits

There are several benefits that one can reap when one learns multiple languages. For instance, one can solve problems faster and become better at multitasking. With the increase in awareness of the benefits and rise in demand for language expertise, language learning is now receiving the much-needed attention.

Earlier, a good education was perceived to provide a child with a degree or subject expertise. However, a good education today is measured by transferable skills that are desirable in the job market. This implies that language knowledge is likely to be regarded as a desired attribute in the global job market and, hence, language education can be regarded as a substantial requirement for high-quality education.

Language learning,when it is integrated with education, forms an essential part of developing cultural awareness. Starting early with additional languages results in a native-like competency in the language. They have also influenced the reform of language education policy in many countries. Poland, for instance, has introduced mandatory foreign language learning from the first year of primary education.

In India, many schools that are affiliated to CBSE offer one's mother tongue or Hindi, English and foreign languages like French at the pre-primary level. This is most likely to increase in the days to come. Various professionals and educationalists are slowly recognising the importance of learning a new language and the demand for learning them is only accelerating. Language, therefore, plays a pivotal role in making the world smaller and bringing people closer.

(The author is with Mayflower Language Services, Bengaluru)

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