Montoya Hughes is an Administrative Assistant in the Interpreting Department here at Bromberg. After studying abroad in the summer of 2013 in Fukuoka in Japan, she offers some insight to the best job opportunities for bilingual professionals.
Being fluent in more than one language will not only increase your stock, it will make you a higher valued applicant when gaining life experiences and developing your career. Culturally diverse industries such as health care, travel & hospitality, government, law, and education, all require you to communicate with people whom may have different language needs. There are numerous opportunities for bilingual professionals. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Translating and Interpreting
The most prominent source of employment for bilingual professionals in the language industry is interpreting and translating. Now, at first you may think they are the same but in actuality they deal with two different facets of language. Translation is the process of converting written content from one language to another. Interpretation is the verbal rendering between spoken or sign languages. Both translation and interpretation skills are valuable no matter where you go. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interpreters and translators are among the top five fastest growing occupations.
One of the most rapidly expanding technological developments in the language services industry is Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). VRI is changing the way professionals in healthcare, law, education, government and international businesses work by delivering on demand video telecommunications services that connect clients to qualified interpreters for ASL or spoken language interpreting needs. If, in addition to being a bilingual professional, you are also a qualified interpreter, you will now be able to provide quality interpreting services from the comfort of your own home. To start you would need a quality internet connection, a computer with a HD webcam, proper lighting and quiet, and of course, HIPAA compliant, home office area. VRI delivers immediate communication, while making it easier than ever for those who are Deaf or Limited English Proficient to receive the language access they require.
More traditional forms of interpreting include Telephonic or Over the Phone Interpreting (OPI). This is a service that connects the interpreter to individuals who don’t share the same language. The interpreter becomes the linguistic bridge to connect the two parties. This service is widely used in in health care, emergency call centers, and legal or government settings. As a bilingual professional and a qualified interpreter, this is another solid opportunity as telephonic interpreting remains a very popular modality.
If you are keen on doing translations, you can also work for a company or do freelance work and be your own boss. Translating documents requires great translation skills, a strong desire to learn, and excellent research abilities. As far as the setup, a freelance translator needs to have internet access, a laptop or desktop computer, professional translation memory software, not to be confused with online machine translations, like Google
Translate. Translation memory software is sophisticated and expensive tools that help professional translator expedite their work while providing consistent outcomes. Now, when it comes to Google Translate, well, you get what you paid for.
Partaking in some freelance writing can become a source of income when you are fluent in multiple languages. Writing while traveling aboard and language learning could earn money from sites that will publish your articles. Paid freelance writing work will allow you to utilize your language knowledge while working for another organization. If you are the creative type, personal blogs are a great way to educate or entertain an online audience of a topic of your choice. You can generate income by advertising and gaining sponsorship from your blog.
Teaching and Tutoring
If you are a recent graduate, becoming an English teacher abroad is a great way to earn a living while also gaining the experience of living in another country. In many cases you don’t need certification or prior teaching experience. Countries that pay English teachers the most include South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Gulf Arab States (Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain), and Vietnam. This is great for a gap year and most English teachers are able to save up $500 to $1,500 after covering their expenses, according to FluentU. Not too shabby for a recent college grad, if you ask me.
If traveling is not feasible for you, consider working as a language tutor. Many local schools and colleges have a need for qualified language tutors. A simple web search shows a few sites that allow you to connect with a network of community tutors and teachers and provide language services.
If you are more of a data driven, software engineer type, you should consider localization engineering. Localization engineering is the task of planning and executing a workflow for exporting, translating, and re-integrating content and meta-data for a website or software application. In simpler terms, it’s the process of taking the content apart, translating everything that needs translating, and putting it back together again in a way that facilitates updates. The requirements for this job are quite technical however, as this occupation is one of the examples where languages and cultures meet technology.
**In closing, as you can see from the above examples, there are many job opportunities for bilingual professionals. Of course, this is just a small sample of what a talented individual could do with their bilingual speaking abilities. We’d be curious to hear from you on how you apply your second and third languages in advancing your professional careers. And, of course, if you would like to find out how you can join our team, click here.