Careers using languages
Language skills are valuable in today’s world where a global mindset is highly prized. Learn more about the diverse career options that linguists enter from translation to marketing.
Whether you are studying languages or have languages skills from other experiences, you will be able to apply your skillset to a range of careers.
Our information and advice remains current in the wake of UK referendum result on membership of the European Union. We will review it in the light of future developments.
What careers involve languages?
Did you know that 70% of jobs requiring a degree do not specify a particular subject?
You need to decide whether you want a job where languages are central to the role. These include teaching, translation and interpreting. Even in such careers, having the language skill alone is not the only factor, as each of these requires a range of other skills and qualities.
Core language roles. Includes videos from Nottingham alumni
Interpreter- job profile
Translator - job profile
Top tips for a career in translation
Berni, project management team leader, talks about the things you need to consider if you want to pursue a career in translating.
Find out about Shannon's role as a project manager and Maisie and Ellen's roles as translators. All three work at AST Language Services.
Practically any sector, company and role might require language skills if it is necessary for its operations:
- a logistics and distribution company might require staff with linguistic abilities and cross-cultural skills to deal with international suppliers
- market research or business development consultancies might have international clients or analyse global campaigns
- a global fashion retailer might need people to speak to customers or other businesses in other countries
The language recruitment agencies below have vacancies like these. Bear in mind though that language skills will seldom suffice by themselves; they are usually required together with sector or role-related competencies. In other cases, they might be desirable rather than essential.
It is worth noting that even if you aren’t using the target language, a role or company might want someone who has an understanding of different cultures or who has lived elsewhere to help them understand different customs and practice (both within Europe and beyond), without necessarily the need to speak a foreign language regularly. This is where the breadth of your degree comes in, especially your time abroad where you might have been surprised by small but significant differences.
What else can I do?
As mentioned earlier, 70% of jobs requiring a degree is open to any discipline, so try researching different areas.
Recent graduates with language skills have gone into roles as diverse as:
- marketing, advertising and PR
- Civil Service
- teaching, and
- other education-related roles
Research graduate job roles
Another way to immerse yourself in a foreign language is obviously to live in the target country - visit our working abroad pages. Many people start this process by teaching English abroad.
Teaching English as a foreign language
Spotlight On... Human Resources
Francesca Jaffa, a joint honours German and philosophy graduate from the University, talks about:
- her role as a Junior Employee Relations Specialist
- why she chose to work for a Deutsche Bank, and
- why she chose a career in human resources
On our blog
The Unexpected Avenues of Modern Languages
Language recruitment agencies
These agencies specialise in a range of sectors/roles such as: personal assistants, sales, finance, transport and customer service
Languages specific resources