Does it make economic sense to learn a second language today?
A world dictated by the fast pace and dynamics of technological innovations has brought about the need for professionals to advance their skills to remain relevant. The question many people grapple with is: if I have to learn a new skill, which skill should I choose? You must consider several aspects in your career path before deciding.
One of the skills that people find hard to decide on is whether learning a second language would add to their career prospects. There are a few things to consider before settling on an answer:
- Does your long-term career goal involve interacting with people from different countries?
- If yes, what kind of interactions are they? Are they one-on-one interactions? Are they interactions through the email, newsletters, product or service promotions, etc?
- Is it difficult to do your job without knowledge of a particular second language?
- How would learning another language help you outside your career?
You have to answer these questions with much objectivity. While some people learn a second language out of fun, many people do it out of necessity. However, it appears this necessity has increased in the new global village that we live in. People are travelling like never before. Getting a job or settling in a new country is a constant reality. Selling products and appealing to people of different nationalities has become a primary need for businesses.
What to consider when choosing a foreign language to learn
Let’s say you have decided to learn a new language because of necessity. What factors would you put in mind before deciding whether to learn Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic or Swahili?
- Will the new language help you in carrying out your duties in your career or business? Will it save you the expenses of translation services? Does it make it easier to respond directly and satisfactorily to majority of your clients?
- Is the new language the common tongue in the country or region where you are settling as an expat or immigrant?
- If you were to change careers, will the language you learn remain relevant in your new pursuits?
Learning a new language therefore makes economic sense if only you choose right. Language is meant to be used; it wouldn’t make sense to learn a language you will never use.
Where to learn a foreign language
Some people hire personal tutors to teach them a new language. Sports people are especially notorious of hiring private teachers when they move to a new country to play professionally.
You can also register at a local school that offers foreign language courses. There are also many online foreign language tutors and colleges which offer affordable and customized lessons. Many multilingual business and career professionals around the globe solve communication challenges faster than those who have to hire translators.