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Turning Language Skills Into A Thriving Career

by Andrej Kovacevic

Exceptional language skills are obviously a necessity for success in careers such as translator, interpreter and language teacher. However, it is becoming increasingly important for professionals pursuing other career paths to achieve proficiency in more than one language. Let's discuss some strategies for turning language skills into a thriving career in industries where globalism is imposing changes on the skill sets required to do the jobs.

Business and Manufacturing

Several generations ago, American workers used to manufacture the vast majority of all products consumed within the country. Cultural literacy and foreign language skills weren't necessary for success in that business environment.

Everything has changed since then. Businesses need executives with language skills more now than they ever have before. With the rise of globalism, it is now typical for products to be designed and developed in one country and manufactured in one or more different countries. The same products are sometimes even marketed and sold to the citizens of an entirely different country. In this environment, foreign language proficiency and cultural literacy are both assets.

Indeed, the profitability of a manufacturing business can be highly reliant on their hires' language skills. Communication mistakes made in the course of product development or production can translate to thousands or millions worth of lost dollars for a manufacturing business. Lost customer relationships and business due to miscommunications can also result in significant financial losses.

To avoid such costly losses, employers are often willing to pay a premium to hire employees who are fluent in the local languages where they do business. Becoming proficient in a language such as Mandarin Chinese has the potential to pay off handsomely in today's business environment.

Even the nature of business school has been changing in the recent past, with significant numbers of new global and international MBA degree programs becoming available. One noteworthy example is the global MBA by SCU online that offers international students the opportunity to enroll in. One of the most important differentiating factors between a global MBA and the more traditional MBA degree: The curriculum emphasizes the global nature of business, whereas in a traditional MBA program, the coursework might be more focused on communicating the accepted business practices in the degree program's host country.

Finance

Many of the prominent financial institutions are multinational. As international dealings become more commonplace, there is growing demand for bilingual and multilingual finance industry professionals.

Banks and other financial institutions have a need for multilingual employees who are able to communicate with both native and immigrant populations. Relationship management is one of the major finance industry niches where bilingual and multilingual professionals are needed. For this role, it's helpful to be fluent in Spanish, Mandarin, Malay, or other languages, depending on the specifics of the institution and location where you plan to work.

Journalism and Media

Language skills are endlessly useful if you hope to work as a foreign correspondent in the media. Even in cases where you work as a journalist in your home country, it's helpful to be able to understand media reports in other languages that are being posted internationally. This will give you the opportunity to report stories in more depth than your competitors who do not have expertise in other languages.

These are just a few examples of how it is possible to use language skills to build a thriving career. Employers in many industries value language skills. Developing proficiency in another language is an excellent way to distinguish yourself from other candidates and boost your career.

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