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Language Learning and Diplomacy

  Tags: Diplomacy | Career
 Language Learning Forum : Languages & Work Post Reply
11 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
Paskwc
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3862 days ago

450 posts - 623 votes 
Speaks: Hindi, Urdu*, Arabic (Levantine), French, English
Studies: Persian, Spanish

 
 Message 1 of 11
23 February 2010 at 1:00am | IP Logged 
Most people where I live believe language learning is something taken up by would-be
teachers, translators, journalists, diplomats, international NGO workers, and the
occasional business minded person. This impression seems to be fairly widespread in the
Anglo-sphere and is, as far as I can tell, reflected equally within all the different
major media outlets across the English speaking world.

Here, at the forums, we have a fair proportion of teachers, translators, and business
minded people. We also have a significant proportion of IT and computer specialists as
well as a few engineers. This last bit came as a surprise.

However, as far as I can recall, nobody claimed to be a diplomat or do NGO work in the
careers thread. Is anybody here employed in these fields? Does anybody here desire
employment in these fields? Judging by some people's language profiles, they would be
very employable as diplomats or NGO workers. Is the notion of a marriage between
language learning and diplomacy weaker in some parts of the world?

Edited by Paskwc on 23 February 2010 at 7:44am

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Sennin
Senior Member
Bulgaria
Joined 4219 days ago

1457 posts - 1759 votes 
5 sounds

 
 Message 2 of 11
23 February 2010 at 1:47am | IP Logged 
The amount of IT people also surprises me, I thought I'm in a minority but apparently that's not the case. There are also translators and teachers... I don't know about diplomates. What I know is that computer savvy people generally like intellectual challenges and are accustomed to learning new things; Two things that go hand in hand with language study. Personally, I also enjoy tracking the history of various programming languages, gaining access to non-English parts of the web, and various resources and tutorials not available in English.

I think languages are important for everybody in an international world, they're paramount in the areas you mentioned, but other professions can also benefit alot.

Edited by Sennin on 23 February 2010 at 5:22pm

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Johntm
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3607 days ago

616 posts - 725 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 3 of 11
23 February 2010 at 5:44am | IP Logged 
Paskwc wrote:


Here, at the forums, we have a fair proportion of teachers, translators, and business
minded people. We also have a significant proportion of IT and computer specialists.
This last bit came as a surprise.

I'm thinking about becoming a computer programmer, but I'm leaning more towards economics or business.
But I have always thought it'd be CIA spy abroad, or even a CIA assassin!

Edited by Johntm on 23 February 2010 at 5:45am

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Captain Haddock
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
kanjicabinet.tumblr.
Joined 4953 days ago

2282 posts - 2814 votes 
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: French, Korean, Ancient Greek

 
 Message 4 of 11
23 February 2010 at 7:11am | IP Logged 
Language learning is probably more essential to diplomatic work than any other career, but it's also a very small,
specialized field. Side note: the only real Japanese polyglot I've ever met was the Japanese consul posted to
Vancouver. He spoke great English, French, and Russian.

I've heard of NGOs sending their workers or volunteers overseas for intensive language boot camps, especially in
response to specific needs or disasters. However, most NGOs don't have enough money to count as a lucrative
career option.
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datsunking1
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3770 days ago

1014 posts - 1533 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: German, Russian, Dutch, French

 
 Message 5 of 11
23 February 2010 at 5:17pm | IP Logged 
I have a desire to become a diplomat, work at an embassy or whatever, but I'm not sure the pay is substantial. :/

I like to think of languages as more of a hobby anyways, but I want to be at a level equivalent to a diplomat or translator :)
1 person has voted this message useful



Saif
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3797 days ago

122 posts - 208 votes 
Speaks: English*, Arabic (Levantine)*, French

 
 Message 6 of 11
23 February 2010 at 6:44pm | IP Logged 
I thought about working for the state department as a foreign service officer when I was
in high school, but I decided to study engineering instead. :D Like most here, I study
languages as a hobby.
1 person has voted this message useful



Cainntear
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Scotland
linguafrankly.blogsp
Joined 4196 days ago

4399 posts - 7687 votes 
Speaks: Lowland Scots, English*, French, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Studies: Catalan, Italian, German, Irish, Welsh

 
 Message 7 of 11
23 February 2010 at 6:59pm | IP Logged 
Paskwc wrote:
We also have a significant proportion of IT and computer specialists as
well as a few engineers. This last bit came as a surprise.

Computer nerds? On the internet?
Well I never!
;-)
1 person has voted this message useful



Raincrowlee
Tetraglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4887 days ago

621 posts - 808 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin, Korean, French
Studies: Indonesian, Japanese

 
 Message 8 of 11
23 February 2010 at 7:12pm | IP Logged 
I'm in an International Relations MA program in DC, and having decent language skills is a requirement for graduation. Some of my classmates are looking to go to work for the State Department, and the government is going to be the primary employer for most people in my program.

That said, almost all of my classmates look at languages as tools to connect with their specific area of interest, and I've met very few (at least among the Americans) who have studied more than one foreign language. I think they have done it mostly as an outgrowth of their interest in that culture or region, rather than the language itself. I have one classmate who actually dislikes Chinese, but is studying it because he feels it will be important to his career.

That said, I think that languages are taught to diplomats and other people in the field by the agencies that they work for. Most of my professors speak at least two foreign languages to an advanced level, and one I know spoke at least three. I kind of wonder if they have different expectations about language learning, either that they can take classes for it or that they have contact with native speakers, and aren't looking for a resource like this site.


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