Q. Please let me know the career prospects in foreign languages (especially German and Japanese) in India and abroad?

Answer: If you acquire excellent skills in foreign languages, you will find work as an Interpreter, Translator, or as a teacher. As Interpreters you’ll accompany business executives and government officials on their tours and help them to communicate with foreign nationals. Here, you’ll not just be helping two people communicate but you will also represent your firm/country. The job calls for sensitivity to cultural differences. While interpreting you have to make sure that you retain the meaning of the sentence. It’s a tough job, as you’ll be interpreting simultaneously during conferences, meetings, speeches, etc. The interpreter in a sound proof room listens through headphones to the source speech and almost spontaneously interprets it in to the target language into a microphone. This automatically gets transmitted to earphones of the listeners.

As a Translator, you will work with publishers and translate books, scripts and articles to from one language to other. The works might be literary in nature or a simple technical manual. While, interpreters work with the spoken word, translator’s work revolves around the written language.

However, except the job of a teacher, there are very few permanent jobs in this field. Interpreters and translators generally work for fixed contractual period. The contract can be for a day or for one year or even for translating a particular book. Few companies keep interpreters and translators in their permanent payroll. Few companies like a foreign television channel’s India bureau office, a foreign newspaper’s India bureau office keep permanent staff but again the number is very few and there is a clear trend these days to hire staff on a fixed contract.