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'Learning foreign language improves your market value'

Last updated on: August 23, 2010 10:38 IST

While the media is still rife with speculation whether Anshu Jain will make it as the CEO of Deutsche Bank, here is what our readers have to say about the importance of knowing a foreign language to boost one's career.

If you have a story to tell about how important knowing a foreign language is to advance one's career please do write in at getahead@rediff.co.in and we will publish the best responses on Rediff.com.


'Learning a foreign language improves your market value'

Foreign languages not only add to one's career but also enrich individuals as people. I have had students from rural and interior India who didn't speak good enough English to be able to land a job in big companies and banks despite having other skills. However after learning French for just about a year, their confidence and market value went up and almost all of them got jobs. They did not know good English but the knowledge of French definitely empowered them in the job market.

It also proves that you don't have to know English to be able to learn a foreign language. If you are planning to migrate to countries like Canada, knowledge of French helps improve your points in the application.

With more and more Indians working abroad and expatriates coming to India for work, the need for intercultural comprehension is ever increasing. Learning a language is also about learning the culture of the other. It is like opening a completely new window to the world.

Across the world, the emphasis these days is more on a multicultural working environment. The chances of Indians getting a job in Europe certainly increase if you speak at least one European language. Companies put a lot of premium on communication globally and if you are able to communicate in the local language of the company, you already have a lead.

The importance of learning another language and using it in your work place cannot be denied even in the Indian context.

Even IAS officers have to learn languages such as Oriya, Kannada or Punjabi and pass exams during their IAS training days because they could be working as district magistrates in Orissa, Karnataka or Punjab.

Foreign languages can help you in your own career as a supporting element as in the case of a software engineer working for Airbus in France or you can make foreign languages a career in itself like in my case as a teacher and translator. What is needed is diligence and regularity while you are learning a language in the first case and having a complete and near native-like mastery in the second.

I always encourage my students to learn foreign languages and will continue to do so.

Surbhi Jayaswal


'An expat boss who speaks the local language is trusted better abroad and that is a definite advantage'

Technically even English is an overseas lingo. The first step is to get a good command if not mastery over English. English has close connections with Spanish, French and German and one can easily navigate into the new language if one's command over English is good.

Learning language is a flair which is to some extent innate. One must also have an open mind about languages without attaching any parochial or colonial colour to a non-native language. Most of us who live out of our home state and easily master the local language over a few years and we have seen it helping us immensely and enable us to enjoy the local culture fully.

The locals also come to accept you more easily if you speak their language and dress like them. The same logic applies to a foreign language as well.

From my personal experience I would recommend French as the first choice as it can help one's employment in Europe, Canada, western Africa, Mauritius, Madagascar etc.

This second choice could be Spanish as it is widely used in USA /South America /Europe. Spanish is more close to English and hence rather easy to learn.

If one is working for an MNC whose headquarter is in France or Japan or Germany it is 100 per cent essential that you get the hang of the language and this will help to impress the powers that be.

An expat boss who speaks the local language is trusted better abroad and that is a definite advantage.

P K Vijayasarthy, Mumbai


'Knowing a foreign language can make your career colourful'

The only reason for the development of humans in technology, science and all other fields is communication. Otherwise we could still have been living like dogs, cats without building a comfortable atmosphere. So language is a tool which makes humans distinct from other living beings. We can share our thoughts, transfer knowledge using a language.

Mr Kumar had a dream in one dark night.

Mr Alien came to New Delhi for an environmental tour. His food habits and timings are totally different. He wants to know how people are living on earth. He stepped on earth. At first his belly is feeling empty. So it's time for feeding. After few days he failed to go back to his place and buried on earth like humans. The reason is he didn't know a language to communicate with the denizens on earth. And body language did not work well. He was unable to communicate to others to go back to environmental tour. It could have been better if there were a translator or mediator.

In the same way a person not knowing the culture, traditions, habits when he wants to mingle very closely there is a necessity of raising some sentimental regional feelings to mix easily. Today most of them are mingled into mob with same religion or language. Though English would help but one requires to know a lot of foreign languages to make his career colourful.

Nagasairam Sanka

Did you miss out on a plum job because you could not speak a foreign language? Do you believe knowing a foreign language boosts one's career?

If you have a story to tell about how important knowing a foreign language is to advance one's career please do write in at getahead@rediff.co.in and we will publish the best responses on Rediff.com.

Illustration: Dominic xavier

Tags: IAS, MNC, USA, com, Europe