Life Hack came out with a fun compilation of jobs that require a foreign language. They range from a life of play (Video Game Translator) to one of leadership and change (Project leader at a non-profit). Lists of job titles can be both inspiring and daunting. It sounds fun to be a travel photographer or a brand strategist at first, but it may not be precisely where you hope to land. Moreover, a top 10 list is just a teaser of possibilities. There are hundreds of jobs out there that are actively multilingual or humanistic. How can you use specific examples from other lives to think about your own future?
A list like Life Hack’s is a useful starting point for thinking about the categories of work that someone with language skills can do. Behind each job lies a particular industry or sector, a form of humanistic work, a particular set of skills, and an underlying purpose (the reason you’ll get up every morning). A close reading of these job blurbs can reveal the broader principles behind the example. If you’re currently exploring various careers, it’s useful to pause and notice your gut reaction to these broader principles. Your feelings now are a good barometer of whether this is something you could do on a daily basis.
This exercise also works with advice from alumni, job postings you come across, and other examples of humanistic work.
Here are a few examples using the jobs posted on Life Hack.
Game Translator: Translate games into other languages, help customers in other countries.
Humanistic Work: communication, customer relations
Skills: ability to read, write, translate, solve human problems, read the emotional subtext
Mission: Create fun digital experiences for young and old.
Brand Specialist: Adjust a company’s brand to a new market and cultural landscape.
Humanistic Work: cultural analysis, discourse creation, public relations
Industry: Tech, Fortune 500, Marketing
Skills: cross-cultural competence, communication, eye for design, marketing abilities
Mission: Give people tools that actually work for their needs, instead of making them adjust to ours.
Lead Coordinator, Pencils of Promise: communicate with local organizations to provide non-profit services.
Industry: International non-profit
Humanistic Work: Navigating the imperfect world of humanity to realize grand schemes
Skills: cultural expertise, collaboration, negotiating the needs of multiple players, financial and political cognizance
Mission: Give children access to education. Change the world.
Analyst, Bank of America: Negotiate with international clients to make high-impact decisions.
Industry: Banking, Finance
Humanistic Work: Precise understanding of complex information, articulating effective arguments based on research
Skills: formal speaking and writing, seeing multiple perspectives, thinking strategically, financial/political cognizance
Mission: Participate in the high-stakes decisions of the global economy.
Foreign Correspondent: Interview people during international events and produce news stories.
Humanistic Work: Convey complex and culturally foreign stories in an understandable and accurate way
Skills: listening, speaking, writing, editing, perception of visual and auditory cues, multicultural competence, political cognizance
Mission: Empower people to understand the complex events taking place around the world.
If you want to give close reading careers a try, check out the whole article: