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Using your second language to enhance your career prospects

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Knowing more than one language is a valuable asset that is highly sought after by many businesses in today’s global economy. As an employee, your ability to speak two or more languages can position you at the top of a list of candidates in many industries – most notably with a translation agency but also within a range of other sectors. Not only does it distinguish you from your competition, it highlights you as an individual who is open-minded, intelligent and motivated to learn. Here we look at four ways that being bilingual or multilingual can help further your career. 

1. Marketability

In our competitive global environment, it pays to be multi-skilled. A translation company, for example, doesn’t just look for someone who can translate. They look for people who can translate in the context of specific scenarios and sectors. You never know when a career opportunity will emerge allowing you to put your multilingual skills to use.


No matter what your current job skills are, they become more marketable the instant you add another language to your resumé. Competent workers are always in high demand in the technical, medical and legal fields, as well as in the business and financial sectors. Your expertise in these career paths can become even more attractive when you let a potential employer know you are bilingual or multilingual. You establish yourself as a valuable niche employee in these cases, which leads to enhanced opportunities and greater job security.

2. Standing out from the pack

As competition for certain jobs is fierce, distinguishing yourself from other applicants is crucial. Even if your job skills are similar to the rest of the candidates, highlighting the fact that you know a foreign language could tip the scales in your favour. Bilingual employees can represent more revenue for a company, particularly for one that is just entering the global marketplace. If you know more than two languages, all the better. Remember too that translation agencies and other companies are always on the lookout for individuals who can not only translate documents, but can do things like help with localization services as well.  

3. Outranking industry experience

In some industries, professional translation services can rank higher in importance than industry experience. So if you are looking to break into a field where your experience is limited, the ability to speak and write in a second or third language could pave your way. 

In many industries, knowing a second language is invaluable. It can open up opportunities that you may never have thought about, from corporate travel and entertainment to higher paying positions within an organization. Knowing a foreign language and being able to provide translation services are unique talents that can get you that coveted first interview.

4. Perception 

People who know more than one language are often perceived as being more intelligent than monolingual workers and there is some scientific basis for this. Scientists have discovered that being bilingual:

•Increases an individual’s problem solving, planning, and multi-tasking skills.
•Enhances negotiation and team-working skills.
•Increases grey matter and improves neuroplasticity in the brain.
•Allows an individual to make more logical and rational decisions.
•Intensifies analytical and conceptual thinking.

These are attributes that many organisations value highly, making skills such as language translation attractive to prospective employers.

As the economy moves toward globalization, the demand for translator and interpreter services is expected to steadily rise, by 17% by 2026. Compared to most other occupations, this is faster growth than average. The most in-demand languages are Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, German and Chinese. As such, if you want to secure your dream job, it’s time to boast about your bilingual or multilingual talents on your resumé.

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