Five of the Best Language Careers for Professional Linguists

When you think about the type of language careers open to professional linguists, you’ll consider the obvious positions like interpreter, translator, foreign language teacher, or even the head of a translation company. However, the reality is that there are far more options out there than language lovers might first think.

These days, talented linguists have an extremely diverse range of potential careers to choose from. Globalisation and the emerging markets have made linguists a must-have for companies looking to build links and expand overseas. This opens up myriad job opportunities in advertising, sales, management, finance and investment. Language jobs also crop up in the Foreign Office and elsewhere in the civil service, in journalism, and in international charities, so there’s no shortage of opportunities for someone with a linguistic skill set.

Let’s take a look at five potential language careers for professional linguists to help you find a position that’s well suited to your aptitudes and interests…

1. Interpreter

If you are an exceptional linguist with the ability to think on your feet then the role of an interpreter could be for you. Interpreters convert speech from one language to another and are commonly used at international conferences and business meetings.

There are many potential employers of interpreters, such as the European Commission, United Nations, the civil service and private agencies.

2. Translator

If you enjoy working alone, have an eye for detail and write well, a career as a translator could be for you. The job of a translator is to convert scientific, technical, commercial or literary texts to another language. European languages are currently in high demand, with many large-scale international companies frequently on the lookout for in-house translators to help them communicate with clients and customers.

Prospective employers include charities, government, international businesses and freelance opportunities through translation agencies.

3. The travel industry

More often than not, those with a passion for languages also love to travel, so a job in the travel industry could be a perfect fit for those with a head for business and a sense of adventure. There are a wide range of roles in the travel industry for those with a second language, from sales and marketing to hospitality and tour guiding.

Employers include travel agencies, booking websites, tour operators and more.

4. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)

The Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, is an intelligent and security organisation based in Cheltenham. Although working for the secret services might not be everyone, there are some excellent positions on offer for the right applicants.

GCHQ needs to know what is going on in other countries in order to protect our interests. A linguist is often the first person at GCHQ to discover something of importance. They then have to compile a report on the information, which requires intelligence and a well-trained mind. Of 4,500 people at GCHQ, roughly 250 are linguists.

5. Secondary school teacher

In the UK, we are currently crying out for hard working modern language teachers. If you are a qualified linguist with an interest in teaching, postgraduate grants of up to £25,000 are available to train as a secondary school teacher. Secondary schools in the state and independent sector are constantly on the lookout for qualified language teachers with a sense of vocation. If that sounds like you, you might just have found your next language career.

For more information about the language careers on offer at Linguistica Recruitment please take a look at our jobs page. If you see anything you like the look, please click the ‘apply for this position’ button to upload your CV. Once received, a member of the HR team will be in touch to discuss your suitability for the role.

The UK’s Demand for Talented Linguists is on the Rise

English might be the established language of international business, but recent research, which reveals that two-thirds of UK businesses are looking to recruit staff with foreign language skills, shows all that is set to change.

The rise of emerging markets in Asia and Latin America is threatening to stifle the UK economy, as businesses keen to capitalise on the new opportunities overseas struggle to hire the linguists they need.

The UK has long been criticised on the European and international stage for a perceived reluctance to learn foreign languages or promote their learning in schools. Now this apathetic approach to language learning has created a skills gap British businesses are desperately trying to fill.

Which languages are in demand?

Of the 291 companies surveyed in the annual education and skills survey conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), 41 percent said they believed knowledge of a foreign language would be beneficial to their business, while 65 percent identified a need for foreign language skills.

Given the fact that the EU is still the UK’s biggest exporting market, it is no surprise to see European languages valued so highly, but with China and Latin America seeing solid growth, ambitious UK firms are clearly on the lookout for the language skills that can smooth the path into new markets.

The most sought after languages include:

1. French (50 percent)
2. German 49 percent)
3. Spanish (44 percent)
4. Mandarin (31 percent)
5. Arabic (23 percent)
6. Polish (19 percent)
7. Russian (18 percent)
8. Cantonese (16 percent)
9. Japanese (15 percent)
10. Portuguese (11 percent)
11. Other (16 percent)

An increase in ‘skills shortage vacancies’

There have been worrying signs in British schools, with one in five having a persistently low take-up of foreign languages, and teachers struggling to make children appreciate the role a foreign language in many modern careers. There has also been a slump in the number of students studying foreign languages over the last decade.

The result of this dwindling appetite for foreign language learning has been a widening of the skills gap, with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills reporting an increase in ‘skills shortage vacancies’, where businesses cannot find recruits with the qualifications and experience they need.

How can we help?

At Linguistica Recruitment, we work with candidates and employers to place highly qualified, talented linguists in ambitious companies on the South Coast. We fill vacancies across a diverse range of sectors and industries, helping our candidates find fulfilling linguistic careers rather than stop-gap jobs.

Take a look at our clients and candidates pages to see how we can help you. Alternatively, please get in touch today.

Welcome to Linguistica Recruitment!

The demand for talented linguists has never been greater than it is right now. 21st-century transportation and communication links have increased the reach and ambition of British businesses. We can now travel to any part of the world in less than a day, and communicate with anyone, anywhere, almost instantaneously. The result is that even small enterprises are exporting their products and creating international links that allow them to grow their businesses overseas.

The language barrier is one of the few problems technology is yet to solve. Yes, you can put a sentence or two into Google translate and send a message around the world, but how much confidence can you really have in a system that does not account for the syntax or nuances of language? A Chinese furniture manufacturer trusted such software to translate the labels on its products from Chinese to English, and inadvertently created the first ever leather sofa to contain a racial slur!

The solution is to hire talented linguists so you can enter new markets with confidence, and that’s where we can help!

Your Next Great Language Job… 

We offer a specialist language recruitment service for candidates and employers, filling a diverse range of multilingual jobs with talented linguists across the South Coast.

Identifying, screening and hiring applicants with the linguistic skills businesses need to succeed overseas can be a challenge for conventional recruiters. Many corporate recruiters lack the linguistic expertise and experience they need to assess the skills of the applicants they are placing. The result can be marketing messages, website copy, product descriptions and corporate communications that lack the clarity and concision you need.

The truth is, to be completely confident in a candidate’s language skills, you have to be a linguist yourself. At Linguistica Recruitment, all our candidates undergo comprehensive written and spoken language tests to make sure their language skills (both English and their second language) are up to the job.

This approach has created an enviable track record of placing talented multilingual staff in a diverse range of marketing, communications, customer services, interpreting, logistics, legal, market research and finance roles. And now we’re ready to help you.

Stay tuned to our blog

Over the coming weeks and months, we will keep you up to date with regular posts that provide candidates and recruiters with hints and tips to help you find your next great language job, or your next talented linguist.

We always welcome feedback from our readers, so if there are any topics you’d like to see covered, or experiences of UK language jobs you’d like to share, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Send an email to, call +44 2392 987 765 or leave your thoughts in the comments section below.