Is learning a foreign language worth it? Discussions about languages are too limited in society for people to know about its good fortune. As foreign movies and dramas are flooding in, the urge of learning a language is also rising. Percentage released by the website ilanguage.org shows that 43% of people in the world are bilingual, which means they can understand 2 languages and 13% of people in the world are trilingual, which means they can understand 3 languages. Languages might not be one of the mainstream careers, but it is one of the engrossed hobbies. As people start learning, “Where to begin” and “How to begin” becomes a big utterance that pulls back many people to learn it with proper progress. Learning a language is not a simple task, but every moment of learning is exciting. Foreign languages are coming in demand these days, so learning a language is not a waste of time. It can broaden one’s mind. Also sharing of culture and news becomes a lot easier. But how can a foreign language provide bread for a living?
As mentioned before, foreign languages are becoming a great demand in the era of Globalization. Foreign MNCs are expanding their business to other countries; they need help from language professionals and people who are aware of the native culture. There is a need for paperwork to be translated for official work too. The establishments of business are also done by taking the likings and sentiments of natives into considerations. For example, Sakura Blossom Latte by Starbucks is an exclusive beverage in Japan, whereas in India selling beef may hurt sentiments of people. People work as a consultant to give advice or as a translator. Also, for one-to-one interaction between clients, an interpreter who can speak both parties’ languages fluently is necessary.
Learning a foreign language needs a lot of dedication, hard work, and patience. Also, choosing the right course from thousands of courses available on the internet becomes an arduous task. Here are few recommended online courses for beginners which might make learning easier: Rosetta stone, LanguagePod101, Busuu, Babble, and Mylanguage.org. To get fluent in a targeted language, other activities like watching movies or dramas, listening to music, and watching cultural programs in the language a person is aiming to learn might help a lot to understand the dialects of the language. The key idea is to know how to use it. The best way to grasp a foreign language is to attempt language proficiency tests for the same. These tests are also considered while applying for jobs. Now, what is a language proficiency test? These are annual tests of a language conducted in countries for non-native speakers. These tests have levels from beginners to advance. For example; in French, the A1 level exam is for the beginners, whereas the C1 level exam is for the people at an advanced level. The names of some proficiency exams which might interest you are: JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) for Japanese, TCF (Test de Connaissance du Français) for French, HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) for Chinese, DELE (Diplomas de Español Como Lengua Extranjera) for Spanish,and TOPIK (The Test of Proficiency in Korean) for Korean. Each exam has its syllabus, which depends on the chosen level. Attempting these exams can give you an idea of the progress you’ve made, also it can reflect a lot in your CV – curriculum vitae (at least an intermediate level is recommended).
Now, the final thing you need to do is to prepare for these tests. You can refer to the online websites as mentioned above or look for books to prepare. There are many promising books available which you can search for, but remember many of them are for general learning of language and not apposite to the exams. Look for the reputed books, which have their primary focus on the proficiency tests. Also, many exams contain listening and reading sections, so remember to grasp the pronunciation and practical knowledge of the language.
Many people like learning at their own pace and many seek help. Learning a language is a complicated process. Many people look for institutes for a guided learning path. It’s easier to learn with teachers who can clear doubts on the spot and with a well-planned time table. Looking for an institute is easy these days. Find a reputed institute as per your convenience. Some recommendations for esteemed coaching centers in India are MOSAI (Mombusho Scholars Associate of India), The Japan Foundation, Nihongo Centre, and Fujiwara Japanese Language Institute. Many prestigious universities like Delhi University (DU) also offer diploma courses. Most of the institutes’ major focus is the proficiency test however it is still recommended to look for institutes that provide you the syllabus you’re aspiring for. Choose timings and days which fit your schedule the best for the finest outcomes.
As many coaching centers offer certificates and diplomas to the students, it can make your CV more attractive. If you already have a degree, getting an additional certificate or diploma can give you additional points. For example, if you have a B.Tech degree (engineering degree in India) and passed the N2 level JLPT (upper-intermediate level in the Japanese language) can raise your chances of getting a job in the same field in a Japanese MNCs or companies in Japan itself. If you don’t have a degree in any field yet and want a degree in any of the foreign languages, you can find a university for the same. Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, and Visva Bharati University, West Bengal in India are two universities that provide a degree for BA (Hons.) in a foreign language. They also have a Master’s degree in further studies.
Now let’s come to what jobs you can expect with a foreign language degree. Some of the well-known jobs available are translator or interpreter, language teacher, blogger, content creator, language specialist, freelancer, tourist guide, working in embassies, YouTuber, and researcher. A person can expect a satisfying salary with good skills. As you can see, your language ability can lead to you a furnished life.
It’s possible to learn a language with will-power and interest. Shaping your hobby into a career can make the job more interesting and enjoyable. The learning process and the job itself can bring growth in self-esteem and confidence. In the end which matters a lot is job satisfaction, which is prominent and could be gained by the happiness received while doing work.
By Pranjal Bharti, Gurugram