From time immemorial, man has been a migrating animal whether voluntary or forced. The reasons for migration have been varied - trade, livelihood seeking greener pastures, political persecution, colonization etc. This migration is still continuing in modern times and there is no reason to believe that it won’t continue in the future as well. Migration engenders its own problems like assimilation of the migrants into the adopted society, problems of language, religion, cultural practices etc.
Because of migration we have people speaking different tongues living side by side in many countries around the world. Over a period of time the immigrants become a dominant force in the society so much so that their language becomes widely understood and is recognized as one of the official languages. We have innumerable examples of this through colonization of countries in Asia, Africa, America and Australia by European nations notably U.K., France, Spain, Portugal etc. Further repeated invasions by different forces have left pockets of a country speaking different tongues. All these reasons have resulted in successive generations in many countries learning multiple languages out of sheer necessity. As global commerce is increasingly getting interdependent, the future augurs well for those having bi / multiple language skills. Migration has created a market for translators and those providing professional translation services
Even the recent recession in advanced economies of the world has created renewed demand for persons well versed in multiple languages. As jobs are drying up in some countries and opportunities are getting created in other countries, people are forced to migrate in search of jobs either as a temporary measure or permanently and it naturally helps if the migrants know the language spoken in the country where they intend to emigrate. Reasons other migration like doing trade and commerce in foreign countries involve learning new languages by those concerned. We will briefly review jobs that require bilingual (or multilingual) skills in this and successive blogs.
The medical field that includes healthcare and pharmaceutical companies has one of the highest demands for bilingual employees. With growing medical tourism as a business, doctors, paramedics and hospital administrators are required to be well versed in many different tongues. Physicians need to speak in the native tongue of patients to understand the symptoms and the patient’s condition better. Patients must be able to understand the prescription and medical instructions for effective treatment. Pharmaceutical companies looking at export markets have to label their products in different languages and need to seek professional translation service
providers in the absence of in house expertise for the same. We will discuss other professions that require bilingual skills in subsequent blogs