At London Translations, we have previously written about how working in multiple languages can benefit your business. However, being bilingual doesn’t only benefit businesses; a second language can also be invaluable to your personal career.
A 2014 survey from The Guardian found that 43% of the respondents felt better job prospects abroad would be the main benefit to learning another language. It seems the 43% may well be right. Albert Saiz, an MIT economist, calculated that knowing another language results in an average 2% increase in earnings.
Knowing more than one language is clearly a very useful thing to have on your CV. But some languages are more useful than others. Saiz found that different languages were more or less valuable based on average earnings. For example, knowing Spanish resulted in a wage increase of just 1.5%, whereas with German it was as high as 3.8%.
At London Translations we translate from and into over 170 languages for a wide range of businesses and people. We’ve rounded up 7 of the most beneficial languages you can learn to help your career.
Mandarin is the official Chinese dialect spoken in Beijing, the world’s third largest city, and is the first language of over one billion people. Speaking Mandarin offers the opportunity to work in, or with, the world’s largest market.
The Chinese government are currently attempting to spread the use of Mandarin to the rest of the country, opening up China to a number of business opportunities.
According to Investopedia, the three industries driving China’s economy are manufacturing, services and agriculture. These are huge export economies, so learning Mandarin doesn’t just benefit those working in China, but those operating internationally too. There are over 40 million overseas speakers of the language including those living in Taiwan and Singapore.
A fact about Mandarin: There is a complete absence of tenses, plurals, cases or genders in Mandarin grammar.
There are 130 million German speakers worldwide. After English, German is the second most important language worldwide for business, tourism and diplomacy and in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), German is the most dominant foreign language.
It doesn’t take Albert Saiz to point out that German will be very useful for anyone looking to work in Europe. Germany has the largest economy in the EU; an organisation that oversees over 500 million people.
Some of Germany’s most important industries include automotive engineering, telecommunications, and the steel and metal industry.
A fact about German: Unlike English, German retains both formal and informal personal pronouns. When speaking with deference, you use ‘Sie’, whereas in conversations with family, children and close friends, ‘du’ is more appropriate.
French is spoken widely in Europe, Africa, parts of Southeast Asia and Canada. French is the 6th most spoken language in the world with over 220 million speakers. As a result of population growth, primarily in Africa, it is expected that there will be over 700 million French speakers by 2050.
French was named the third most important language for UK businesses – after Spanish and Arabic – in a recent report from the British Council. It’s hardly surprising, France itself is one of the UK’s key trade partners, not to mention the third largest economy in Europe and the sixth largest worldwide.
A fact about French: An estimated 30% of English words are borrowed from French, making French, as well as Latin, one of the most influential languages in English.
Spanish is one of the most highly spoken languages in the world with 500 million speakers worldwide. Of that 500 million, 50 million are in the USA, and most speakers live across South and Central America.
As such, Spanish can open up doors to many different communities and countries. Spanish aficionados can work with business in both Spain and Mexico, the 14th and 15th largest economies in the world respectively.
Not surprisingly, the tourism industry is hugely important in Spain. It employs about 2 million people and accounts for about 11% of the country’s GDP when domestic tourism is included.
A fact about Spanish: Many Spanish words should be more or less recognisable to English speakers on account of the two languages’ common Latin roots. Words that use the suffix ‘-ción’ in Spanish often use ‘-tion’ in English, for example, like celebration and celebración.
With around 280 million native speakers worldwide, Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world. It is spoken throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula and is an official language in over 20 countries, including Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
As well as the oil industry, business services, manufacturing, retail trade, financial institutions, construction, transport and real estate are all big industries in the Middle East. Those who speak Arabic can also pursue careers in non-governmental organisations, hospitality, banking, education, consulting, medical services and a variety of careers in the business industry.
A fact about Arabic: The words ‘Coffee’, ‘syrup’ and ‘magazine’ all derive from Arabic.