What kinds of cool or unusual foreign-language utilizing jobs are there?
March 25, 2008 1:24 PM   Subscribe

What kinds of cool or unusual jobs might I be able to find that utilize foreign language skills?

I've been in IT for about 11 years and am getting burnt on it. I never loved it, it's always just been "ok" for me, and my particular job is actually one of the ok-paying, extremely-low-stress IT jobs that I've found. I have always loved foreign languages, and while I am not fluent at the moment, I will make it my business to become so if I can find something that will pay me decently and provide benefits from the get-go. I say 'benefits from the get-go' because my health is not the best and I need the insurance. I might consider another country if I thought I could wing it there (I am in the U.S. presently).

I'm a pretty creative guy, have excellent English writing and speaking skills, been through 4th semester Spanish in college, not to mention all the IT support background. Doesn't have to be Spanish-y, language-wise, but that is the one I know the most of.

I do realize of course there are teacher & translator jobs, but besides those, anything else you can point me towards?

gracias, mefiters.
posted by bitterkitten to Work & Money (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Have you thought of an exciting career on an oil rig?
posted by parmanparman at 1:34 PM on March 25, 2008

Response by poster: Can't say as I have, mr. parm. But if I go, will there be shenanigans a la The Abyss? 'Cause then, well, sure, how could I say no?
posted by bitterkitten at 1:44 PM on March 25, 2008

I always thought that chuchotage would be a pretty cool gig. I bet you make serious bank, too.
posted by msali at 1:54 PM on March 25, 2008

If you speak more than one language and have an IT background, approximately 3,000 companies in Ireland will bite your hand off and shove money down your throat for doing bilingual support at all kinds of levels. Google and Seimans come to mind as steady recruiters in this area. They can visa you up, too.

You do need a good degree of fluency, though.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:42 PM on March 25, 2008

Localization project manager. You don't even have to be fluent. Your IT skills help with technical aspects of the job (file management and manipulation mostly). Your language skills let you see the kinds of things that are going to be issues. Most translation agencies will give you this job with very little previous experience and most have benefits. Most large software and hardware companies have localization departments or small teams - a small amount of experience in an agency and one of these jobs - which are usually better in most ways can be yours. Mefimail me if you want more info.
Translators and Interpreters are usually freelance folks without benefits.
posted by Wolfie at 2:45 PM on March 25, 2008

On the same track as Wolfie, here in Montreal there are a million kajillion jobs for gaming-related testers and translators in every language imaginable. The rarer the language, I imagine, the less likely you'll need actual translation credentials to get the job. The jobs are usually called "-translator" or "localization tester" if you're looking for search terms.
posted by loiseau at 3:17 PM on March 25, 2008

Intelligence services are always on the lookout for IT-qualified foreign-lanugage speakers.
Might be a lot more on the 'interesting' side than the 'well-paid'.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:46 PM on March 25, 2008

Peace Corps. The application process and placement can take awhile, but you'll get to help other people while gaining an awesome experience for yourself.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 3:56 PM on March 25, 2008

Many medium sized vendors of high end software packages will pay well for people who can be trusted to go over and either sell it to, or customize it for, customers in their native language. This can often be an option for people who have started out working on localization. The key is finding a company that is not so large that it already has plenty of overseas offices.

The diplomatic services may be interested in somebody with strong IT skills and a foreign language.
posted by rongorongo at 5:29 PM on March 25, 2008

Simultaneous interpretation requires a frightening degree of fluency. If you decide to investigate chuchotage, be prepared to spend months if not years studying, practicing, and being immersed in the language you choose. Even after all that study and experience, you may not be able to do simultaneous interpretation. Some people just can't.

The Peace Corps also has some pretty stringent health requirements. They don't want people with pre-existing conditions requiring good medical care out in the bush, where it's not available.

That said, have you considered field work in linguistics? The field is pretty hungry for people with good computer skills, as those who are involved often know that computers could make their jobs easier, but not how.
posted by yomimono at 5:29 AM on March 26, 2008

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