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ilvorangeiceblocks's avatar

Career paths with languages that aren't teaching?

Asked by ilvorangeiceblocks (832 points ) June 7th, 2014

Being an undergraduate student, majoring in Latin and Italian, and resenting the entire idea of working in education, I really tire of people saying something alongs the lines of: “so you’re going to teach latin/italian when you leave university then, i suppose”. At this stage, I really only am studying the languages because I love language and linguistics, a proper career idea hasn’t really presented itself to me yet.
Would anyone like to give me ideas of career paths with languages that aren’t teaching, so I can not only undermine that oh, so, annoying and presumptuous comment but also perhaps move me into thinking about the future without and impending sense of dread?
:)

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17 Answers

cookieman's avatar

If you also have an interest in medicine and/or law, you could work as a specialized translator. If you know other languages as well (Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese), you’ll be even more marketable. You will have to take a class or two to learn the specific medical and legal terminology.

Most hospitals and court houses have people on-call for their numerous non-English speaking patients and clients.

And hey… welcome to Fluther.

dxs's avatar

You could do editing in those languages.

hearkat's avatar

Interpreter and translator are options; but as others noted, the demand is greatest for Asian and Arabic languages these days. With a love of linguistics, you could consider research in various areas of language. As technology advances, the desire for a Star-Trek-like universal translator becomes greater and current technologies are lacking – so I’m sure people will be working on improving the technology and will need linguistic guidance. people who are writing fictional accounts of the past probably consult linguists to advise them about the language and idioms of that time.

This site has some career answers given by linguists. It seems a bit dated, but there are links to other sites that might also help. In my search, many college websites came up with links to their departments of linguistics and the career pages, so you could look in those places as well. Do you plan on continuing to graduate school?

jca's avatar

You could do something with tours, tourism, historic tours.

snowberry's avatar

Many translator positions require a high level of proficiency in a language. It’s helpful to be able to live in that culture and language for 5 years or so so you can really become fluent. You will always want to translate from that language into your native tongue.

Mimishu1995's avatar

You can be a guide, a translator, a interpreter, or even a linguistics.

GloPro's avatar

You could become a gigalo. Who wouldn’t want a sexy Latin lover whispering sweet nothings in Italian in her ear?

dappled_leaves's avatar

Some excellent suggestions have been given above. I will say, though, that translation work can be both fascinating and yet also very boring, depending on the type of work you get. Hopefully, your skills will be such that you can choose what you work on, but you never know.

Also… as someone who went through this “Oh no – if this is what I love to do, I’m going to have to teach!” thing, I found that most of that anxiety melted away as I became more expert in my field. Doing a graduate degree is, to varying extents, about learning how to teach in your field, and that experience has changed my perspective a lot. Now I really enjoy teaching, though I wouldn’t want to do it below the university level.

CWOTUS's avatar

I don’t know why no one else has seen fit to mention this, but “you can do anything, only you can do it in more languages”.

cookieman's avatar

^^ This is a great point @CWOTUS.

Have you thought of moving to Italy, @ilvorangeiceblocks?

I know I have. ::sigh::

jaytkay's avatar

A friend of mine studied Spanish and went on to become a manufacturer’s representative. He has worked for several American companies, selling metals, medical equipment and lighting for American companies

All his customers are in Central America, South America, and Spain and he spends a lot of time traveling.

2davidc8's avatar

You can go into the diplomatic service and be an consul-general or ambassador.

downtide's avatar

You could do anything in Italy.

JLeslie's avatar

I know people already mentioned interpreter and translator. Some specific things in both fields is being an interpreter for the courts. Also, there are specialized certifications for translating things like birth certificates. You could easily learn the vocabulary for Spanish birth certificates too, which would be even more useful in America. It used to be, and I assume it is still the case, that immigrants born in countries that are not English speaking countries need their official documents translated when going through certain parts of the immigration process.

A woman I know works with pageants, the big ones, Miss Universe, Miss America, etc., and she is responsible for a few girls at a time and she is bilingual so she can help take care of the Spanish speaking girls. It is an intense couple weeks at a time, involves travel, keeping the girls on schedule, and helping them in other ways. You could do Italian and English.

The point that you can do anything, just now you can do it in two languages is a great point. I can work retail and cater to both English speaking and Italian speaking customers, which is what I did for many years. You could live in Italy and do basically any job and use your Italian. I live in Clearwater, FL and there is so much Greek spoken around me that any person who spoke Greek would be happy to be able to use it here. Last time I got my hair cut my hair dresser was Greek and she spoke to some customers in Greek one other employee spoke Greek. There are parts of the US that have a lot of Italians, although granted many Italians are third and fourth generation and many cannot speak Italian, but some still do. New England has a fairly high percentage of Italians, along with Philly, St. Louis, you could look into living in a very Italian community and do anything. Cosmetology, bakery, work in a medical office, hospital (actually the medical field could use your Latin knowledge and same with the Law) work for the Catholic church (they still use Latin) really the skies the limit. My husband works in HR and he has translated employee handbooks for multinational companies he has worked for, worked in Latin America, Europe and Israel. Most businessmen speak English, but being bilingual and bicultural is a definite boost for the resume. Even if the language is not that of the country the company works in, just speaking another language a business will perceive you as open to different cultures and a corporate cutural fit to a multinational company. What else are you interested in besides language?

Tours was a great suggestion. Historical tours of Italian immigrants maybe? Or, areas settled by Italians in America.

Very close dear friends of ours are Italian-Venezuelan and they live here in America. When the father had a stroke it affected his speech and his ability for his brain to process what he wanted to say into words. For therapy they chose his first language and advised him not to work on more than one language, so his therapy was in Italian. That would take additional classes in speech therapy I guess, but it is something I figured I would throw in. You would be able to work with people who need speech therapy in both English and Italian, but maybe that is like teaching? Along the same idea of teaching but with a twist, have you considered teaching ESL? I know you don’t want to teach, but I thought maybe the reverse, teaching English to people from many different nations, might have a slightly different twist that might interest you. You could do that in Italy, or many other countries actually.

ilvorangeiceblocks's avatar

Thank you all, your answers are splendid!

@cookieman and indeed I have cookieman, just as soon as I finish my graduate degree – I’m there.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It all comes down to identifying what tasks make you hum…those that, once completed, make you think, “Where did the time go? It flew by!” Also keep a list of those that essentially suck the energy out of you. Once the two lists are compiled, you will be armed with specific questions to ask and answer during the job search and interviews.

Here is another website regarding jobs for people who are multilingual. It’s worth perusing the job descriptions in order to see if one or more pique your interest.

snowberry's avatar

I’m wondering if you could get a job working in an Italian area of a large town. New York used to have a “Little Italy” that was full of Italian speakers. I don’t know where a town like that might be now, but I’m sure there are places like that somewhere. Just knowing the language could be a boon to an administrative assistant in such an area.

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