Learning foreign languages has become mandatory

Learning foreign languages has become mandatory
Highlights

In an increasingly globalised world, foreign language proficiency is more important than ever. Foreign language is a valuable asset and a credible career choice for both technical and nontechnical students alike.

In an increasingly globalised world, foreign language proficiency is more important than ever. Foreign language is a valuable asset and a credible career choice for both technical and nontechnical students alike.

Multinational companies are eyeing professionals who can overcome language barriers and facilitate communication for business transactions. Foreign language experts with a good understanding of cultures are in great demand in the corporate world. The scope of foreign languages as a career is vast.

In south India, majority of the students target technical courses for MNC careers and therefore language skills have taken a backseat. Schools and colleges actually deem language skills less important and don’t pay attention to its teaching or practice. They are committed to show marks both to survive the competition and to satisfy the parents. Even in engineering colleges, the teaching goes on in Telugu, leave alone general communication. Most engineering colleges usually hire professionals to teach language communication skills just a few days before the campus recruitment drive. Commercial motto in education is depriving students of valuable opportunity in acquiring language skills that are essential for career growth. Learning another language has personal, academic and social benefits.

Cognitive benefits.

Brain science has discovered that functional plasticity of the human brain is driven by language. “Knowing a foreign language can actually change the brain's anatomy,” says

Dr Andrea Mechelli, a well-known researcher at the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience at University College, London. In his article ‘Being Bilingual Boosts Brain Power’ he writes about the cognitive benefits.

For children

Children in foreign language programmes demonstrate greater cognitive development, creativity and divergent thinking than monolingual children. Several studies show that people who are competent in more than one language outscore those who are speakers of only one language on tests of verbal and nonverbal intelligence. When children are adequately exposed to two languages at an early age, they are more flexible and creative.

For adults

‘Foreign Language Study and SAT-Verbal Scores’ in Modern Language Journal, also suggests that foreign language instruction is associated with better performance on standardised tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Most of these academic improvements lie in the range of verbal accomplishment.

Studies have shown that such students are strong in mathematics as well. Research has shown that having studied a foreign language, one can understand one’s own language better. Foreign language study can also raise one’s abilities to function in other spheres of life. Adaptability increases as an outcome of foreign language study. A student is exposed to unfamiliar ideas while learning a new language. Thus adaptability and diversity are easy for him. By learning a new language, one can expand his horizons of thinking that reinforces one’s own identity and self-confidence. Foreign languages are complementary for good careers.

Social advantages of foreign language education

In a world where innovations like the internet have brought the farthest ends of the earth into close contact, learning a foreign language proves to be a solid help that goes beyond cognitive and academic benefits.

Learning another language is often more advantageous as it unfolds another culture and can offer everyday social advantages. In a world where IT companies have spread across the earth, people find themselves moving across the globe due to myriad reasons and speaking a second language is useful in situations other than just travel. Increasing number of jobs other than foreign trade, involve foreign language which allows people to interact with more people and adapt to clients with different cultural backgrounds.

Economic advantages

It is a well-known fact that in India good English communication allows a professional student to find a good job more easily than others. Similarly knowledge of French and German improves one's chances on the global job market. International job applicants who are proficient in at least two languages will be at a distinct advantage in the global market or in companies operating globally.

Careers for foreign language experts

1. Academic/Educational

An extra language in the academic curriculum is always a boon.

2. Professional

Employees who can communicate in foreign languages are always a blessing for any employer. IT professionals with a foreign language serve as a bridge between the employer and foreign clients.

If you are competent in a foreign language, the opportunity knocks at your door.

Some of the fields where of the job opportunities exist for a skilled foreign language learner are technical and engineering positions, media and arts, interpreters, translation, teaching, travel and tourism.

Interpretation Interpreters are specialists who deal with oral communication. Interpreters can be employed by governments, international agencies, conferences, publishers and other business organisations. They are paid highly depending on the demand.

Translation

Translators usually are specialised for translation in the technical or literary fields. Similar to that of the interpreter, the translator can also work as staff in governments, international agencies, conferences, publishers and other business organisations.

Teaching

Foreign language teachers are always in great demand. If you specialise in languages such as French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, you will never be short of teaching offers. There has been a rising significance of International languages in accordance to the ever rising employment opportunities in India and abroad. 1990's witnessed the rise of foreign language instruction in India. Foreign language instruction, since then has become an integral part of the college/university curriculum in India.

The pay packet is very attractive for the ambitious people says venkat poolabala who worked as a professional French translator and interpreter for Endeavour technologies who is currently training learners in French, German, Spanish ,Italian and English in Vijayawada city. He says “Foreign language professionals earn attractive remuneration depending upon the work and the organization. Professionals working for PR or Marketing department of any MNC can earn Rs 50,000 – 1,00,000 per month. Teachers can earn any salary in the range of Rs 25,000 – 50,000 a month. Translators on the other hand receive Rs 250 to Rs 500 per page; compensation depends upon the proficiency in the language. Similarly, an interpreter who is paid on an hourly basis can earn Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 per hour, again depending upon his calibre and work experience.”

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