A linguistics career – where can you use your lingual knowledge after graduation?

So, you finished studying a linguistics course, or English philology and now what? The obvious answer is to translate, but what else is out there and what other career paths can you take? Discover the different careers you can take after graduating from linguistic studies.

Translator

Indubitably, the career of a translator appears to be the most frequently selected after completing a linguistics degree. Most translators are freelance workers. As a translator you are responsible for transferring an original piece of work into a target language, which is usually a translator’s native language. The objective of a translator’s work is to sustain the most accurate and synonymous meaning from a source text. Moreover, you can also provide interpreting services, liaising directly with customers and assisting them, both orally and in writing, during meetings, appointments, and conferences. Besides the preeminent acquaintance with language skills, such as writing and grammar, and understanding the culture of the language, you will also be provided with linguistic reference materials from your customers (Language Service Providers and end-clients alike). Additionally, a translator should have detailed knowledge in a certain industry, as it will enable customers to select the most suitable specialist given their specific area of business.

Project Manager

A Project Manager, as the name implies, is responsible for overseeing the entire project from start to finish. In the translation industry, the Project Manager is responsible for the whole translation project and steps include onboarding clients, coordinating tasks between different departments, and communicating with linguists. This career, which seemingly has nothing in common with the linguistic realm, in fact requires superior knowledge of languages. Since communication is pivotal in this career, you will have to demonstrate fluent and extraordinary command of English to lead the project and address various issues. Project Management certainly does not belong to the tedious. Individuals who can demonstrate a high level of stress-endurance, decisiveness, ease in communication, leadership and management abilities, accountability and willingness to work in a flexible environment, should naturally ace it.

Language QA Specialist

The work of a Language Quality Assurance Specialist is usually divided into three parts. Firstly, Language Leading, where specialists have oversight over projects from the linguistic side. What you do here is basically source review (take care of resources and reference materials) and creating instructions. Once you are given a document to translate, your task is to first do an initial review before sending it off to the translator. But what does it really mean? You need to go through the whole document to pick up all unclear and puzzling elements, like proper names or acronyms, and create a list of additional questions to your client whether these elements should be translated or left in the source language. Then, based on their requirements, you will need to create instructions for translators to follow step by step. While translating, let’s say into 30 languages, it is a key part of this job and the only way to ensure cohesion between them and avoid misunderstandings. Because most translators are freelancers, if they have any questions or doubts, the Language QA Specialist is responsible for exchange information and queries between them and the client.

The second part is called a final verification or quality assurance. After receiving a translated document, you check it once again, but more from the technical side. It’s partially an automatic process with the help of specialized programs and tools to check the correctness of the source and target text with the instructions and cohesion with glossaries (if there are any from clients).

Additionally, the Language QA Specialist trains translators to use these tools and instructions, giving them feedback, and taking part in analyzing and processing complaints, if there are any. This career provides a lot of possibilities after graduating from linguistic studies and offers a wide range of tasks and responsibilities.

Proofreader

This career may slightly resemble that of a translator’s job, however in lieu of transferring source text, you are obliged to check, correct, and prepare it for publication. It involves cohesion and precision as well as coping with vocabulary choice, grammar, spelling mistakes, and punctuation. Proofreaders are not specialized in editing, but in reviewing the document so that the final draft is immaculate. This will require perfect knowledge of languages, particularly to ensure the text is explicit and understandable.

Teacher

Do you like helping others absorb and gain knowledge? Then you will fit in as a teacher. Teaching a foreign language requires a raft of patience and consideration, yet once you see it affects your pupils, it will be worth it. Education is a very vast and ample market, and besides being a teacher or lecturer, language schools may turn out to be a reasonable career, especially since you can teach people a foreign language from scratch. Finishing a linguistics degree provides you with the opportunity to teach a certain language abroad. A linguistics undergraduate degree ought to be sufficient enough in most countries, except the USA which may demand language pedagogy coaching as well, which will solely reinforce your career and perspectives.

International Concerns

The majors that you can complete during linguistic studies have also evolved into the ‘Business Linguistics’ courses. These studies provide the opportunity to get to know language from its business side. Terminology, style, and the way of communicating with business partners differs slightly from the everyday English, therefore it is a great opportunity to learn how to successfully operate in business. Courses like Intercultural Business Communication, Etiquette and Diplomatic Protocol, Management with Corporate’s Culture Elements, English language classes, extensive additional language courses, Human Resources Management, and many more will shape your understanding of business and allow you to negotiate and cooperate effectively. After finishing a business linguistics course specifically, you can pursue a career in EU institutions and international agencies, outsourcing companies and media, dealing with business documentation and language.

Now you can see how many career opportunities you have within the language industry. Don’t rush with your decision and check out in which career you will use your language knowledge and will do your best!