All professional linguists apply specialized knowledge of a language (or, in many cases, languages) to solve problems specific to human communication. They are employed in a broad range of fields and offer critical skills to employers in education, government, business, social services, and the entertainment industry. Any employer or institution that communicates across cultures, dialects, and languages has a need for employees with specialized linguistic training. A Bachelor’s degree from the Department of Modern Languages & Cultures provides the foundation necessary for continued study of linguistics, literature, or comparative cultures at the graduate level. A degree in a modern language also enhances the value of a degree in virtually any other field by providing skills and training essential to competing successfully in a globalized economy. This guide provides the general educational scope and employment opportunities associated with a degree in modern languages.
SKILLS & ABILITIES
Communication Skills: Clear and concise writing; effective use of language; oral presentation and public speaking, ability to persuade/influence; understanding and navigating other cultures; rewriting and editing.
Cultural Competencies: Cross-cultural communication; understanding of cultural differences; appreciation of diversity; sensitivity to cultural issues; global awareness; ability to adjust to new environments; ability to interact effectively with peoples of different backgrounds.
Analytical Skills: critical thinking; creating and clarifying ideas; gathering and analyzing information; defining and analyzing complex problems; comparing ideas/translations; clarifying others’ thoughts and feelings; interpretation.
Practical/Organizational Skills: following oral and written instructions; attention to details; good observation skills; identifying resources; flexibility in learning and thinking; ability to take risks; independent thinking.
Business: International Banker, Import/Export, International Business Management/Sales, Computational Linguistics (Data Mining/Search Engine and Semantic Web Development).
Communications: Translator, Interpreter, Foreign Correspondent, Journalist, Editor, Film and Entertainment, International advertising/marketing.
Education: High school teacher, College/University Professor, Linguist (Diverse Fields), ESL (English as a Second Language) Teacher.
Government Service: International Law, Customs Inspector, Embassy Personnel, Foreign Service Representative, Immigration Services, United Nations Personnel, Civil Service, Diplomat, Intelligence (CIA, FBI, National/Homeland Security), Defense Language Institute, State Department, Military Interpretation/Training.
Humanities and Arts: Historian, Travel Writer, Art Historian, Theatre, Area Studies, Vocalist/Singer, Actor/Actress, Cultural Critic, Journal Editor.
Sciences: Technical Translator, International conference organizer, International Employment as: Researcher, Lab Technician, Engineer, Physician, Anthropologist, Archeologist, etc.
Social Service: Social Worker, Civil Servant, Public Health Worker, Peace Corps, Legal Advocate, Law Enforcement.
Technology: Software Designer/Translator, Website Developer, Software Consultant, Technical Writer; Computational Linguistics (see above under “Business”).
Travel Services: Travel Agent, Tour Guide, Overseas Hotel Manager, Airline Representative, Visitor and Convention Bureaus, National Parks.