Learning a foreign language can open gates for several career opportunities in both the government and private sectors. Those acquiring expertise in languages such as Russian, French, German, Polish, and Mandarin can hope to have lucrative offers after finishing the advanced courses.
India, in the last few years, has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies, leading to several global giants making headway to invest here. This has opened the floodgates for the influx of global companies that serve customers worldwide and are in constant search of people skilled in one or more foreign languages. There is a dearth of talent in the foreign language sector where there are several posts lying vacant.
Defence, embassy, hotel, travel and tourism, BPO, IT, teaching and corporate sectors are some of the prominent areas where foreign language experts find a job not only in India but in foreign countries. Several students find an opportunity to go abroad on a fellowship for research work.
“Those who are skilled in the Russian language get an edge over others when it comes to employment with defence establishments due to bilateral Indo-Russia defence relation,” says Ranjana Saxena, associate professor, department of Slavonic and Finno-Ugrian Studies, Delhi University.
The average salary offered may range anywhere from Rs 30000 to Rs 70000, depending on the expertise and skills. Saxena credits globalisation for creating well-paid job opportunities to foreign language experts not only in the metro cities but in tier II cities as well. Students have now enthusiastically started taking up foreign languages in view of better job opportunities as compared to conventional courses, she says. “There is, however, no concrete plan in place to encourage youngsters to enrol in foreign language courses in India,” says Saxena while talking to Education Times.
“If you know a language used in a powerful economy, you are likely to be paid more. For instance, students learning Mandarin (Chinese language) will be open to several opportunities as India-China trade relations have increased. Knowledge of this language is equally useful in Taiwan which is connecting with India for business and work,” says Peters Chen, director, education division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC), New Delhi.
“One can learn correct and meaningful Mandarin Chinese through the systematic and pedagogical approach. Several Indian students are enrolling in Taiwan Education Center to learn traditional Chinese characters,” he adds. “More than 6,000 students enrolled in Mandarin Chinese courses offered by Taiwanese teachers in India between 2012 and 2018. These students got opportunities to work with science parks and private sectors in Taiwan, tourism in India, while some have further studies in Taiwan or the US,” adds Peters.
“One can join government organisations and multinationals as an interpreter, translator and also take up teaching jobs. French is the official language of the UN and widely spoken across Europe including many African countries such as Gabon, Congo, Togo, this opens opportunities in these places” says Naresh Thapliyal, assistant professor, French in Amity University, Noida.
Certificate of Proficiency (COP), diploma, advanced diploma, part-time courses, one-year intensive course, BA, MA, MPhil and PhD are major categories of courses offered by various universities such as DU, JNU, and other educational institutions.
“Demand for experts in foreign language depends on trade investments pouring in from a country. For instance, if Korea has made trade investment in India, the market will need more experts with knowledge of Korean language. However, languages such as Chinese, Russian, French and German will always have a demand,” concludes Saxena.