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September 19, 2023, by Leah Sharpe

Languages: Options You May Not Have Known Were Available to You

By Grace Smyth, languages student blogger

When you tell people that you are a language student, they always say “so what are your plans for the future? Do you want to teach? So you’re going into translation?” Many people think that these are the only options for language students, but in reality, there are so many options available, you just have to think outside the box!


Any business that operates internationally has a need for employees that can not only speak multiple languages but also have the cultural awareness you gain from a languages degree. Liaising with clients, forming new business relations and even predicting how certain countries will respond to new ideas are all skills that language graduates have.


Teaching doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a secondary school teacher. Your language degree could mean that you become an English foreign language teacher in England or elsewhere and the languages from your degree could be the main language of the country you teach in. There are also roles such as private tutors, adult education or substitute teaching.

Diplomatic and political

If you are interested in diplomacy and politics, language and cultural awareness skills are vital. You may have the opportunity to work as representatives for the UK in other countries and need to rely on a second language on a day-to-day basis or you may be able to form relationships with a wider variety of people who may not be able to speak English. The Civil Service is one of the largest graduate employers in the UK and many of the roles offered benefit greatly by the employees being able to speak multiple languages.

Tourism and hospitality

In the tourism or hospitality industry you are given the opportunity to use your language skills on a day-to-day basis communicating with locals. Whether you are choosing to work abroad or even if you are working in England but forming relationships with companies, representatives or tourists in other countries, language skills can be very beneficial.

Marketing and social media

Media, advertising and marketing roles don’t necessarily give you opportunities to use your language skills every day, but they are roles where your language skills give you extra opportunities. Rather than being a traditional translator translating documents etc, in the marketing and social media sphere many companies need translators to expand their content to other countries and audiences.

A common practise within companies and organisations is hiring language graduates not necessarily for the languages they already have skills in but for the knowledge that they have the dedication and skills to learn any language. For example, you may graduate in Spanish and Chinese but by demonstrating that you can learn both romance and pictographic languages, if the company is desiring a specific language they know you have the capability to learn it.

Many people assume that as language graduates you will immediately work in teaching or translation, but remember there are so many more opportunities for language graduates that may not have been obvious to you from the start. Even if you choose a role that has no connection to the languages spoken in your degree, you still have the opportunity to demonstrate the skills learnt through your degree such as problem solving, resilience and hard work.

Explore the Modern Languages Careers webpage to learn more about the diverse career options that linguists enter, from translation to marketing.

Posted in Choosing Your CareerStudent Bloggers