5 Jobs For Bilinguals Beyond Translator
If you’re fluent in more than one language, whether natively or through years of study, you’ve probably been told at some point that the world is your oyster. Businesses everywhere are eager to hire multilingual employees, but when it comes down to it much of this job description will end up working as your company’s translator. And while being a translator can be a lucrative and widespread career, it can be limiting or monotonous work for some. Luckily, if you have language skills and the ability to think outside the box, your job options are limitless.
1. Tour Guide. If you have a head for history and a knack for cramming interesting facts about a place and telling people about them in an interesting way, tour guide may be the gig for you. While you don’t have to be a native of the city you’re presenting—sometimes newcomers can be more sensible of what foreign tourists will want to see—be forewarned that you will have to possess a lot of energy and a fair degree of theatricality to keep your group entertained.
2. Copywriter. If you know your grammar and have good writing skills, companies worldwide have an ever-expanding need for writers, both in-house and remote, as they expand globally. Sonja, a bilingual employee of an international corporation, observes that, “Bilingual people are certainly more aware of languages and how they work,” adding, “They are the ones who represent the company internationally.” Especially if you have a background in marketing or web design, jobs designing online ads or email campaigns in various languages will be yours for the taking.
“Bilingual people are certainly more aware of languages and how they work,” adding, “They are the ones who represent the company internationally.” ~Sonja
3. Flight Attendant. If you’re interested in traveling the world for free and having a job that’s glamorous in retrospect, if not in actuality, you could always look into working as a flight attendant. While the job can try your patience and be physically strenuous at times, you’ll get to chat with people coming and going from all sorts of places, and knowing dual languages will make you a top priority for airlines.
4. Hospitality Employee. Similarly, if you’re looking for seasonal work, anything in the service or hospitality industry deal with a large turnover of guests and tourists year-round. Especially if you’re based close to an airport, or in a city with a lot of international traffic, you can be sure that employers are desperate for bilingual workers to better accommodate their clients, whether as a concierge, a barista, a cleaner, or a front desk receptionist.
5. Journalist. Any job involving communications or the media will benefit from being able to talk with a wider pool of people, but for a journalist especially it can be a key skill. Whether you intend to travel to different countries, or stay in your hometown, being able to contact foreign publications and interview sources or eyewitnesses who don’t speak your first language can be imperative to whether you’re successful or not.
The list goes on and on, and the bilingual speaker who knows how to market their skills will find they can pursue a career in virtually any field: teaching, nonprofits, finance, volunteering and so on. According to Agostina, who grew up bilingual, “Being fluent in a second language could determine whether I would be a better candidate than a monolingual person when applying for a job.” Needless to say, your language skills will open up a vast network of opportunities for you. If you think you have the makings of a polyglot, try one of our language level tests to see which language you should pursue.