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Eligibility and Course Duration Industry Size Industry Growth Individual Growth Best Colleges
10+2 science, commerce or arts for diploma, certificate and graduation courses. Graduation for masters course. 6 months to 2 years depending on the course and institute. 250cr. 8%. Interpreters and translators, Freelance work.

French: Alliance Francoise

Spanish: Institute of Hispania-Spanish Language & Cultural Centre

German: Max Mueller

Other embassies also run similar programs in their respective languages.

For Graduation: JNU, New Delhi.


A career as a linguist is an attractive proposition, for those who have a flair for languages. Our trade links are expanding overseas so the requirement for people with skills in language is increasing. Skills in foreign languages like French, German, Russian, Chinese and more recently Japanese, Spanish and Korean are in great demand. Opportunities start from tour operators, online content writers, technical translators or decoders, interpreters and translators. Interpreters need a thorough knowledge of the language, because they have to transfer spoken statements from one language to another, where as translators have to translate written documents, which needs excellent writing skills.

With the globalisation of Indian economy, multinationals coming to India and more and more companies going for joint ventures abroad, the job scenario for those proficient in foreign languages have opened up. The ever increasing amount of scientific, technological and cultural information promises a growing need for those who are able to facilitate international communications. Academic qualifications in foreign languages helps in pursuing careers in the areas of tourism, entertainment, public relations and mass communication, international organizations, embassies, diplomatic service, publishing houses, BPO's etc. More and more avenues are opening up in tourism and call centres.

The future growth prospects also vary from language to language. In governmental work, apart from French, German, Spanish, Japanese etc, even smaller languages like Pashpio, Uzbek, Tajiks, Hebrew, Portuguese etc have a huge demand now.

Eligibility & Course Areas

There are 3 types of courses to pursue for a career in foreign languages, ie., Certificate course, Diploma course and Degree courses. Some institutes offer both basic and advanced level courses such as postgraduate and PhD, some of them extending upto 5-6 years.

The eligibility for certificate and degree courses is 10+2. In most of the places eligibility for the diploma course is the certificate course in that language. JNU is a major institution conducting language courses. For Japanese, there is a language proficiency test conducted by the Mombusho Scholars Association and Alliance Francaise is the centre for conducting various French tests like the TEF ( required by the Canadian High Commission), the TCF, DELF /DALF tests and diplomas delivered by the French Ministry of Education.

Job Prospects & Career Options

Job prospects available to a linguist vary from secretarial, executive and public relation assignments as well as for translation and interpretation jobs.

Linguists are employed with industries, publishing houses, research and government organisations such as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and embassies etc. Companies such as HP, Oracle, Samsung, Hyundai, LG, Thomson, GE, Aventis, Moulinex etc are employing language experts. Other job opportunities for a language specialist are travel and tourism sector, hotel industry, exhibitions and fairs, airline offices, export agencies, radio stations, trade organizations and teaching. For pursuing a career in teaching, a teacher should be a graduate in that foreign language and must have a teaching degree.They can find job appurtunities in the following areas:

  • You could work as a translator either in newspapers or publication houses
  • MNCs: You could find work with multinationals who have set up their offices in India. They will need a translator or an interpreter until they learn the local language.
  • Literature: Here, your expertise will be put to use in translating literary works of art, so that more and more people have access to good writing. /li>
  • International organisations: There are plenty of openings with The United Nations, World Health Organisation and others. Here you'll act as official translators to participants from different linguistic backgrounds that come to attend the meeting.
  • International functions: Beauty pageants, discussion fora, group summits, etc also depend a lot on translators to get their message across.
  • Universities and schools: These institutions require teachers for teaching the languages offered by them
  • Corporates: With more and more companies sending their staff abroad either for training or for work purposes the need for linguists in this field has really shot up. You could conduct short-term language workshops for the staff to get them conversant with the language of the place of deputation.
  • Private Tutors: You could your own master if you wish to. Holding language classes from the comforts of your home could be both convinient as well as lucrative.
  • Travel & Tourism Industry: You'll be required to make brochures and books to be used a guide books to places of tourist interest.
  • You can work with both Indian and Foreign Government offices as Interpreter.
  • Nature of Work

    Opportunities for regular employment are few ,attaining professional qualification in foreign languages, one can work in the following areas.


    The most common of all the available career options in foreign language is teaching that language. As a teacher, a person get enough opportunities to increase the skills. As far as teaching jobs are concerned, many institutions are offering courses in foreign languages and so jobs exists at all levels. Those reluctant to engage themselves in a full-time profession, can take private tuition as well.

    Interpreters and Translators

    Interpreters and translators both need to have a good command over two or more languages. Interpreters job relates to interpreting spoken words of one language into another, therefore needs to have not only good command over the language but have excellent verbal communication skills.

    The job of an interpreter can be of different types. Sometimes they are engaged in simultaneous interpretation, which is used for meetings, conferences, speeches etc. Here the interpreters sits in a sound proof room and listens to speeches and almost spontaneously interprets it in the target language into a microphone. The other type of interpreting are consecutive interpreting and liaison interpreting. Consecutive interpreting goes on during formal speeches where the speaker halts for a while when the interpreter interprets the spoken statements to the audience. Liaison interpreting is to facilitate conversation between to people knowing different languages. Interpreters accompany business groups and official delegations on overseas trips and are in great demand for technical translation.

    Translation work can be related to a variety of fields like technical, scientific literary or business. Translators work on books, scripts, articles and translate them into specified languages. Apart from having linguistic skills, a translator must possess adequate knowledge in the area of the work so as to maintain the style and essence of the original text.


    Often, after pursuing courses in foreign languages, people like to work as freelancers. These people get work in translation bureaus, research organisations, international organisations like UNO, FAO, foreign companies, Reserve Bank of India, publishing houses etc. Expertise in foreign language coupled with other additional qualifications in areas like management, tourism, hospitality industry, airlines can be even fruitful and better the chances for employment opportunities.


    Scale of pay varies with the kind and the place of work. For instance, a career in teaching can earn anything from Rs.10000/- p.m to Rs. 20000/- p.m. Those working as translators get paid between Rs. 50/- to Rs.100/- per page. An interpreter gets paid on hourly basis and at present the rate varies from Rs. 300/- to Rs. 500/- per hour. A good interpreter can earn amount up to Rs.4000/-per hour. For those working with embassies can get paid between Rs. 8000/- p.m. to Rs. 10000/- p.m.


    Following are some of the colleges/instituions that provide various language courses in India. It’s important to know that the only two countries that sanction official schools are France and Germany.

  • Spanish:Spanish can be learned from Instituto Hispania in Green Park, Delhi.
  • French: The Alliance Francoise offers a highly-reputed diploma in French. Three different courses are available in specialized French, pertaining to MNCs, business & tourism & hotel management. The Delhi branch is at South Extension-II. Mumbai people can contact on 2035993.
  • German: The Max Mueller Bhavan offers courses for 9 and 18 weeks and a weekend course. You have three levels, the last is a diploma.
  • The University of Delhi offers M.A. in Linguistics, Post M.A., Diploma in Linguistics, Advanced Diploma in Applied Linguistics.
  • The Jawaharlal Nehru Univesity offers In major modern European languages like French, German, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Persian and Arabic-the school offers under graduate, post-gratuate and research programmes
  • Besides various other colleges or universities, many other embassies also run similar programs in their languages.

    Attributes required

    Linguists work for people in a variety of settings. Hence adaptability; good interpersonal skills and being an extrovert are essential qualities. A pleasant demeanour, patience and an ability to withstand strain are some other qualities needed to make it big in this line.

    You have to be good in languages as well as intonations, tone, etc. You must have the ability to manipulate a certain language in a skilful way. You need to be well versed with what's happening both in your backyard and around the world. This will help you in your translations and also as an interpretator.

    A good memory, concentration, rapid responses, speed and accuracy are essential personal qualities here. Translatory work requires meticulousness and accuracy of words. There should be clarity in your writing.

    To be a good linguist you need to be good at picking up words and have a memory for new sounds and their meanings. You will also have to go in-depth into the grammar of the language, be familiar with its different versions, word connotations, sentence construction and usage patterns.

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