From the classroom to espionage to the other side of the world, where will studying languages take you?

As we enter October, many students will be busy settling into their final year of university, and will no doubt be preparing for life after graduation. Others will be working out which subjects to take as they draw closer to A-Levels or GCSEs. Regardless of educational level, young people across the country will be thinking about potential career choices. While many students associate studying a language with a job in translating, interpreting or teaching, there are a number of other professions that will be quick to snap up graduates with the ability to speak a second language!

 Secret Services

While the location of the MI5 headquarters is no longer a secret (or so we are led to believe!), what goes on behind closed doors remains a mystery for those on the outside. But for language graduates, the ability to speak multiple languages may be their exclusive ticket in. The secret services are always on the lookout for the very best language specialists to translate and interpret vital intelligence, which can help to protect the nation against potential terrorist attacks.

Not-for-profit sector        

Many charitable organisations, particularly those which work with refugees or asylum seekers, need employees who can speak a second language. Work can range from interpreting, teaching English as a foreign language, and case work, which can include helping to find suitable accommodation for an individual and making sure that their needs are met.

 Game testing

According to a Guardian article on language careers, there may well be some wackier career options out there for language graduates. Ever fancied working as a video game tester? You can if you have language skills, testing games in a variety of languages to ensure that they are running correctly before being launched on to the market. You can also translate video game content and scripts. If gaming is your passion, what better way to combine business and pleasure?


Speaking a foreign language can be a distinct advantage for those hoping to get into journalism. With technology connecting the world, many publications and media companies are seeking employees with language skills to communicate with overseas contacts, as well as to produce and translate work in other languages. And to top it all off, if you are keen to see the world, being fluent in another language can help you to secure work abroad in travel journalism or as a foreign correspondent, as well as a range of other industries.

So even if you’re still at school, considering taking a language for GCSE or when you leave for A-Level, you can be rest assured the ability to speak a second language will no doubt open many doors. As for students currently studying for a language degree, as the saying goes, you have the world at your feet.


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