Foreign language education prepares the individual to a career path as a professional linguist, translator, or interpreter. It also helps others to become teachers after earning undergraduate degrees or postgraduate education and accumulating work experience as language professionals in different fields. In this age of broadening global networks, knowing and speaking a second or even a third language could be a personal and professional advantage.
Foreign language education may start formally during high school, where options for language elective classes are offered to students as part of the curriculum. Advanced classes or training courses are also offered after high school to help improve speaking and writing in the foreign language of choice. Complementing classroom-based education are language learning and exchange forums which allow the individual to practice their conversational skills with native speakers.
Those who are planning to move on to the highly technical aspects of the field may opt to take specialized training or advanced courses in college. This is applicable to those who are thinking of specializing in translation and interpreting service for government agencies, corporations, and industrial sectors. Community colleges and language learning institutions offer certificate training programs which are job-specific. On the other hand, there are undergraduate and master’s degree programs on foreign studies and languages in universities that cover essential language skills plus cultural overview and comprehension.
Years of related professional experience may be considered by prospective employers in lieu of specialized education. One way of acquiring the necessary work experience in foreign languages is through part-time or full-time employment in businesses or organizations offering translation services. These groups often hire individuals who are skilled and certified in a second language aside from English. Those who just completed training or formal education may also apply for internship with seasoned interpreters, translation and interpreting businesses, and even nonprofit organizations offering these services in order to accumulate practical work experience.