Staff at Waverley Station in Edinburgh are being opportunities to learn languages, and other things such as IT, at a new Rail Learning Centre that opened this week. The plan is for them to learn how to provide information about the station and trains in a variety of languages, including French, German, Italian, Spanish and British Sign Language. This will help foreign tourists and other visitors to Edinburgh, as well as Deaf people who use sign language. There are similar centres at other Scottish stations.
This is a good example of how a know of foreign languages can be useful in your work if you regularly come in to contact with people from other countries. The staff at Waverley probably won’t all become fluent in the languages they are studying, but if they can at least direct people to the right platform and provide information about the trains, they efforts will be appreciated.
When learning a language for practical reasons, such as using it in your work, it’s a good idea to learn the phrases that are immediately relevant to what you do, at least at first, and then maybe learn the language in more depth. Or you could focus on learning useful, work-related phrases in a number of different languages. It also helps if you have the phrases written or printed so that if you efforts to pronounce them are met with incomprehension, you can at least show them to the people you’re trying to communicate with.