The Linguist

The Linguist 57,1 – February/March 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 35

28 The Linguist Vol/57 No/1 2018 OPINION & COMMENT When I graduated with a degree in French and Arabic, my head was spinning with ideas about further study, conversion courses, work placements and internships. I felt that, as a languages graduate, I needed to attach myself to another field where languages were an asset rather than the main source of interest. Marketing, law and finance industries are always looking for linguists to assist them. Still exploring my options, I secured a placement at a legal firm but found that my language skills were rarely used. My degree did not just equip me with linguistic skills but also fostered an appreciation for creativity and different ways of thinking. It was tough to disregard this to fit into a profit-driven way of working. Naturally, I returned to my root passion. The annual Language Show in London provided a good insight into language services, and the ways to find my place in this global creative industry. I have since become a translator for the NGO Translators without Borders, working in Arabic and French into English on a series of global projects, in addition to being recruited for language teaching placements. I still have a long way to go career-wise. If I could turn back time, I would advise myself (and other graduates) to believe in their abilities and passion for language learning. I would recommend doing work placements at agencies, schools and colleges at home and abroad. It is always tough deciding what to commit to, especially in a system that does not truly understand the benefits of language careers. Reaching out to as many people working in languages industries as possible can help you to create a career path for yourself and make it work. Bon courage! Assma Youssef Email with your views New report: a cause for hope? Student advice from a graduate The British Council's recent report 'Languages for the Future: The foreign languages the United Kingdom needs to become a truly global nation' is an impressively thorough study which states clearly where we stand post-Brexit and gives the lie to the myth that we can rely on using global English. It makes several serious recommendations, but I remain sceptical of the likely outcomes due to previous experience of short-lived initiatives by government to make companies and other organisations aware of our language needs and encourage action. In five such initiatives between 1990 and 2007, I was one of 20 Language-Export Centre Managers; closely involved in the Languages for Export Campaign led by Sir Peter Parker; a Registered Export Communications Consultant for UKTI; a consultant who developed Business Language Champions (pictured; the only one of the five initiatives that has survived); and a Board Member of the North West Regional Language Network. These were forward-thinking schemes supported by the UK government but later abandoned. Long-term commitment is required to change attitudes in business, make young people aware of the benefits of speaking foreign languages, and develop the required capabilities. Ironically, the Languages for Export Campaign talked about "sowing seeds" and "creating the right climate" but failed to remain in it for the long haul. Maybe this time the UK will see languages as a priority that needs sustained effort. Hopefully somebody influential in government who is thinking in the long-term will take notice of this significant report. Jonathan Smith FCIL STAR LETTER Continue the discussion online @Linguist_CIOL #TheLinguist Star letter This issue's Star Letter writer wins the new bluffing game Flummoxed, where players take it in turns to invent definitions for foreign-language words and identify the correct ones. For your chance to win, share your views via Visit for details.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Linguist - The Linguist 57,1 – February/March 2018