An Education In Translation

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Be Sure To Take Your Supplements Next Term!

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For many years the popular concept of teaching reading, writing and arithmetic (the three Rs) was sufficient in preparing students for the work force.  As the industrial aged turned into the information age the required skills needed for the work force naturally changed with it. Due to advance technology, many careers and jobs today also require a creative component.  Academic courses that help develop creative skills such as foreign language are often classified as electives.  Unfortunately, electives carry a stigma of being less than and not as important as core courses.

As a translator and an educator, I certainly would love to see more people earn their living using their language skills. A large percentage of job announcements list speaking a foreign language as a desired skill or a requirement to qualify for a position. If you plan on being a worthy competitor in the national and global job market: learn a second language.

As a high school or college student you may have already decided on a career.  However, in our competitive society there are many others who aspire to have the same careers as you do. How then can you set yourself apart from the rest? What could you offer that others do not have? Do not underestimate the power of supplementary skills. Stop and consider this; every industry has a use for language services. As a language service provider you can work in any industry that you choose. Examine the following chart for possible linguistic careers in an industry that interests you.



Specialized Area of Translation/Interpretation

Job Description



Military Language Specialist

Cultural Specialist

Military Linguist

Interpret for the UN, interpret during political negotiations or serve as a code breaker for military intelligence. (You can potentially earn six figures if you can speak an unpopular language spoken in political hotspots)
Law Legal Translator

Legal Interpreter

Interpret and/or translate for court, Police departments and law offices.
Medical Medical Interpreter

Medical Translator

Interpret for patients who are English limited proficient. Translate medical brochures/journals.
Entertainment Transcriptionist



Voice-over Artist


Translate transcripts from audio and video. Write captions and subtitles for TV, Movies, and video games. Do voice-overs for commercials , TV and Movies.
Computers & Technology Website Translator Provide website translation and localization services.
Education Translator


Foreign Language Teacher

Translate educational materials, interpret for students and/or parents who are English limited proficient, Teach ESL or a foreign language at any level of education.
Business Technical Translator

Business Translator

Business Interpreter

Cultural Consultant

Translate owner/instructional manuals and product labels. Write correspondence or interpret at business meetings/conferences calls, translate/transcreate intellectual property (Ads or music lyrics). Serve as a consultant on international marketing campaigns.


I encourage all college and college bound students to put more thought into their elective choices. Even if you are not interested in providing language services as your primary focus, do not let this deter you from achieving fluency. Just as vitamin supplements can help replace what has been lost or fill in what has been missing from one’s diet, so can supplementing your career with marketable skills to ensure longevity and success.  As you decide on what courses to take for next term; remember, do not forget to take your supplements.


  1. Rachel,
    It is unfortunate that many people do not see the benefits of learning another language. The fact that I speak another language is the reason why I got hired for a few of my previous jobs. I hope that high school and college students will read your blog and consider learning another language.

    • Janine:

      Thank you for your thoughts. You would be surprised how just underrepresented foreign language is as a vital subject in most schools. This is a big problem since our government regularly experiences shortages in this skill in the work force. It is the schools job to help prepare students for the workforce and currently this need is not being met.

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