Lowdown:How much does it pay?

Malik   Tuesday, December 21, 2004, 22:04 GMT
Hi, I'm 16 years old and live in the USA. I've had a brooding question on my mind that I'd like to address to those of you who are language lovers(which means virtually everyone). Does anyone know the highest paying job someone could get in majoring in a language field,i.e: linguist,etc?
Mxsmanic   Wednesday, December 22, 2004, 16:56 GMT
I believe the most lucrative possibility is a greeter at Wal-Mart.
mjd   Wednesday, December 22, 2004, 19:26 GMT
That is hard to say. Someone with a background in language could really be used in any field. Linguists tend to be academics, so you'd most likely end up working in a university.
Tiffany   Wednesday, December 22, 2004, 19:46 GMT
I can't speak for the USA, since I majored in Computer Science and am currently a Graphic Designer, but I have many friends in Italy who majored in linguistics (pick of two languages) and all of them work pretty much as translators. Of course they are under various titles that translate in English to receptionist, secretary. One of my friends works translating fiction books. Another works as a teacher for English.

Depending on what language you choose, there may be alot of work here and abroad for you. Some examples here are ESL teacher, various language teachers, aslo titles such as receptionist and secretary for bilingual businesses. As for high-paying though... language does not usually equate to money by itself.

Now if you were a bilingual graphic designer - in my field, tons of companies here that are owned by or do business with Japanese would want you. We employ two bilingual workers here solely because they speak both Japanese and English well - and many of the rest of us only speak one or the other. They aren't well off, but I'd say they make decent money. If they did more than just translate, they'd be considered invaluable to the company.

So my advice - try to hyphenate it. Bilingual with something else - it will give you a highly prized edge if you choose the right language (for instance, if you want to work in the states as a bilingual worker, don't choose Danish! Spanish will probably open the most doors for you).
Jordi   Wednesday, December 22, 2004, 21:13 GMT
Great oportunities in the International Tourism Trade. You could major in Languages and Tourism Studies. Lots of travelling, if that's what you like, you get to really practice your languages and meet people from all over the world. That's what I do... As far as money goes, if your good, you get more than teaching.
Translation and Conference Interpretation is also quite rewarding. It makes you really practice your skills and you learn on lots of subjects. I started my professional working life doing that.
Jordi   Wednesday, December 22, 2004, 21:24 GMT
If you're good
Malik   Wednesday, December 22, 2004, 21:38 GMT
I don't mean to be disrespectful but would you get anywhere near a comfortable 50,000 a year range? Can you give me a more in-depth response on things you've done in the field?
Steve K   Thursday, December 23, 2004, 02:05 GMT
I believe linguistics is of little practical use. Many of its theories strike me as being of the esoteric "a tout prix" effort to make simple phenomena appear more complicated and obtuse than they need to be. The opposite of Ockham's Razor (which you can look up on Google).

On the other hand speaking many language opens up tremendous opportunites in international business, as long as you have other skills. You do not want to live by your language ability alone but rather let your language skills expand the scope for entrepreneurial or sales or technical skills to create opportunities for you. That has been my experience. Knowing languages has brought me opportunities that would otherwise never have come my way. It has also enriched by life in a personal cultural and social way. It has sort of made my life what it became.

That is not to say that a unilingual tradesman, car salesman, cancer researcher or artist could not have just as full a life.
Jordi   Thursday, December 23, 2004, 08:29 GMT
Work, work and work and a bit of pacience because I wasn't earning that money at age 22. That's good counselling for unilingual tradesmen too. The only way you can get that money is to be profitable to your company who will invest on you as long as it makes more money out of what you do. I suggest to be ambitious but humble right from the start... Others prefer a more egotistic agressive approach but life isn't only money and people won't be there expecting to take away what they have learned/earned with years of effort.
The rest is up to you and you need as much useful training as possible. I agree with a lot of what Steve says although I feel that the world would be a boring place if everybody only did practical things. Linguistic theory
-as any other theory- is absolutely necessary and a lot has been applied later on although we take all that for granted. There are, of course, errors but that's life and we learn a little bit more everyday (I hope!)
A Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year
Joe   Friday, December 24, 2004, 02:59 GMT
I really identify with Steve K. on the benefits and reasons for language learning and their usage.

Language serves as a tool of communication. So therefore the best part of knowing a language is communicating with others. It really does open up new doors for you, even if it's not always financially.

That being said, I think Tiffany is right on when she says that being bi- or multilingual with an education in a field such as business or economics or journalism, for example, is what really opens the doors.

I tend to think of language in the professional sense not as a career in itself but as an invaluable supplement and asset in whatever field you choose to go into. For example, I'm double majoring in International Affairs and French. Language skills in the field of international affairs (which constitutes diplomacy, economics, international business, and more) is actually a must.

If you were multilingual and were to get a career in the field of international business, the language skills would be an immense asset, and it most likely would turn out to be lucrative. But not just because of language, but language plays a part in that career.

I certainly wouldn't be involved in languages only just for business reasons. I love languages, and it's fun for me.

So to sum up, really, you have quite a choice of career fields you can go into that language plays a huge part in, and there are some fields where language is the only requirement (like translators), however being knowledgeable in another field broadens your prospects.
Ved   Friday, December 24, 2004, 04:10 GMT
If your target is $50K per annum, you would easily make that kind of money as a director of studies of a language school.

Of course, you could also start your own business in the field of languages or translation/interpretation.

You could also be a professor.

The above jobs should earn you at least this much.