Does Learning Languages Give You Better Career Prospects?

Article in partnership with Day Translations.

Whether you are already a polyglot or are simply interested in learning languages, have you considered your career options on the basis of your language skills?

In an interview with The Irish Times, Irish businessman Nicholas O’Connor recommends to not only learn languages, but also to travel and explore new cultures to get exposed to opportunities for personal and commercial growth. He decided to leave Ireland and move to Chile after studying modern languages in Dublin, then completing a Master’s degree in Chile in international studies, which gave him the opportunity to work for a media company.

He credited his language skills, namely his fluency in Spanish, Italian and French, for his career success, which brought him to become vice president for revenue and strategy at the Latin American branch of Bloomberg.

His career started mostly in translation and then he built his expertise in marketing over time. In the interview he also enthused about the many attractions of Colombia, from the natural parks in Patagonia to the stunning Atacama desert, a Mecca for astronomers.

If we look at the career path of Day Translations’ Founder and President, Sean Hopwood, whom we featured in an interview, it had a similar trajectory from studying languages to working in jobs that required language skills, then ultimately starting his own language translation company.

What Are the Best Career Options for Language Learners?

In a section dedicated to questions from the public, The Irish Times explained what the best options are for those who would like a career using languages.

This specific example looked at furthering a person’s studies into the Irish language (you can read more about the Irish language in a previous article) to access quality jobs both in the private and public sector, particularly within the European Union. Demand for personnel with knowledge of the Irish language is common in sectors such as media, law, education and the civil service. In Ireland there are dedicated TV channels and radio stations that focus exclusively on the Irish language, with programmes ranging from current affairs to pop culture.

Generally speaking, careers with languages can be quite varied, from more traditional roles in translation and interpretation, to jobs in sales and marketing. There are also opportunities linked to online content, ranging from localising video games to suit the taste of local markets, to providing quality control on multilanguage video content. While a lot of video captioning is now being performed automatically by computers, there are roles available for language translators to check the accuracy of subtitles and to ensure that the intent of the original language is kept in the translated text.

Jobs with Languages

The jobs site Indeed has listed the 10 jobs that require knowledge of foreign languages. These jobs don’t offer the same salary levels and a few of them are quite low-paying, such as tour guides. Of course, some low-paying jobs may have other benefits such as having a generous budget for free travel and accommodation.

  1. Tour guide, with an average salary of about 15,000 euro a year;
  2. Teacher, with an average salary of approximately 21,000 euro annually;
  3. Translator, with an annual pay averaging just over 22,500 euro;
  4. Influencer, with the potential to earn on average 23,500 euro a year;
  5. Customer support representative, with an average annual salary of about 28,500;
  6. Interpreter, earning on average just under 34,500 euro a year;
  7. Liaison officer, with an average annual salary of about 45,500 euro;
  8. Researcher, earning over 46,500 euro per year on average;
  9. Localisation writer, earning about 49,000 euro a year on average;
  10. Localisation manager, with an average earning potential of more than 60,000 euro per year.

Of course, with some of these jobs the earning potential can exceed the published averages, with roles such as influencer and localisation manager reaching salaries well above expectations depending on achieved targets and qualifications.