Languages School Leaver Jobs - Careers Guide

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If you spend a lot of time on the internet, you probably have friends that you chat to from lots of different countries. The world is becoming more connected all the time, and you’ll find that some job vacancies want people who can speak another language. This helps with everything from business transactions and customer support to other professional industries like teaching and finances.

What’s it all about?TOP ^

Perhaps you grew up speaking another language in your household, or studied one in school? You can become qualified in that language with an NVQ, which will tell employers that you really do know what you're talking about. You can then add this to any other qualifications and experience you want in other industries, and take yourself into a specialised category when it comes to applying for a job.

The CILT National Centre for Languages has a wealth of information about language education at any level, and how you can get into teaching. You can teach your second language to students here in the UK, or volunteer with a programme that sends people to other countries to teach English.

CILT also has information for people who want to use their knowledge to work as translators and interpreters, giving advice on how best to present your skills to potential employers. Joining a professional organisation like the Association of Sign Language Interpreters and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting will help keep your skills in line with industry standards, and network with other professionals.

Being fluent in more than one language gives you an excellent advantage in most careers, but you need to keep up your skills. Just as new words and terms come into English, you need to keep yourself up-to-date with the languages you deal with. There can be a lot of pressure with some translating and interpretation positions as you'll be expected to work quickly while maintaining accuracy, but you can also earn a lot more because of that.

What will I earn? TOP ^

You can get into a career in translating with a starting salary around £18,000, but with the right language knowledge and experience, you can earn over £20,000 very quickly.

Where can I work? TOP ^

Although a university qualification isn’t vital, it will help your job prospects. Degree programmes will often involve spending a year in the country where the language you're studying is spoken, which will perfect your skills and give you a firsthand taste of the culture.
School leavers looking to work with a language will normally live abroad in a country where your language is used. You could work in interpreting or translating, both written and spoken.

What skills will I need for a career in languages? TOP ^

Jobs that involve speaking another language require a lot of confidence and self-discipline, as the responsibility for ensuring something reads well may just be down to you. You'll need the drive to pursue additional training over your career, and the people skills to work well with your employers and clients. Good communication is especially important if you're in a teaching role.

There are various skills needed to work in the languages sector, whether you are a translator, interpreter or language teacher. They include:

What entry level languages jobs can I do? TOP ^

There are many different career paths for school leavers with fluency in other languages. While a degree may be preferable if you want to work in high level translation and interpretation, evidence of fluency in a language will be enough to allow you to start your career.

Some entry level languages jobs include:

  • Editorial assistant
  • Assistant translator
  • Interpreter
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language teacher
Browse all Languages jobs for this guide