There are two major areas for which the knowledge of a foreign language is important: the foreign language specialist, and other professions in which knowledge of foreign languages is a decided asset.
For the foreign language specialist, thorough training in a foreign language is indispensable. He or she translates, interprets, or teaches in one or more foreign languages. The specialist possesses and uses a knowledge of the literature, culture, and history of the country or minority community in which the language is used, so he or she is aware of aspects such as sociolinguistics and the effect of culture on language that go considerably beyond basic communication. Besides language teachers in educational institutions, language specialists are required in diplomatic and government service, the travel industry, and international business, just to mention a few.
In many other professions, knowledge of one or more foreign languages greatly enhances job qualifications. Many employers actively seek potential employees with second language skills since their company or organization constantly needs to communicate with speakers of other languages. Social services, health and medical services, business and trade, the travel industry, the legal profession and law enforcement are just a few examples of professions in which foreign language skills are actively sought out by employers. Many of our students have expressed their excitement at being able to use their language skills on the job.
A List of Careers in Foreign Languages - Jobs in which the knowledge of foreign language is either essential or highly useful, and could possibly be a condition of employment.