Language studies: A dead end?

June 28, 2011 by admin

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The first question that people ask you when they first meet you at any sort of event, in most cases, is: what do you do for a living? When your reply is that you work in translation, their next question is often: “Oh, this is something that people actually study?”


Well, yes, it is. When you are at university, people studying “serious” subjects, such as science, finance or law often look down on their fellow students who have chosen to specialise in the field of languages. Everyone knows that studying languages doesn’t get you anywhere in life, right? Everybody knows that this is something to study on the side, some would even say in “your free time”, whilst you use the better part of your brain and time to focus on building a career in a field that has a promising future.


Then again, as we all know, people are often wrong. In this day and age, with the economy of countries like China and Germany exploding and making giants like the US reconsider the way they have been doing business for years – decades even – it is crucial to have an understanding of foreign lands, cultures, economies, and above all, languages.


Whether you choose to focus on a more literature-oriented approach to languages, by studying the works of great authors, or on a more business-oriented approach, by choosing a course that will also prepare you for a corporate career, such as translation, interpreting, transcription or subtitling, being a linguist will make you one of the essential links in the big chain that is current global business. We live in a world where, if you want to progress, it is no longer possible to ignore your foreign neighbours (however much you would like to!).


So to all the people who tell their friends and relatives that they think studying languages these days is a dead end, I say, think again.

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