Introducing The Polyglot Profiles: why you should consider becoming a language professional
By: Sanah Matadar – Social Media Coordinator
Attention High School students! It’s that time of year. The deadline for university applications is looming closer and closer and no one doubts that the task of choosing what to pursue for the rest of your life at the age of 18 can be daunting. Let’s be clear about something: it’s completely okay to change your mind and career path after entering post-secondary education. Sometimes you need to try something to figure out if it’s really for you, and if you’re like me, you may even change your mind a few times. An alternative of course, is to choose to pursue a program and career that offers flexibility from the very beginning.
You can secure that flexibility from a career in the language services industry. You may choose to teach, interpret, translate, transcribe, localize; the choices are endless. You might start with some freelancing, then decide to commit to a specific organization. If you desire something more solid and consistent, you also have the option to further specialize your language skills and work professionally in one particular field, for instance becoming a legal, medical or conference interpreter. With a plethora of opportunities, language services as a profession has something for everyone, whether you want to try working in the film industry (someone needs to churn out those subtitles) or in international relations (how do you think anything gets done at the United Nations). The point is that knowing multiple languages, really knowing them, can open the door to so many opportunities that you may not realize exist.
With outstanding developments in technology and increasing use of AI and machine translation, you might think that the job prospects within the language industry are grim, and that competition is too high. At the same time however, growing diversity and the imminent and rapidly accelerating globalization might make opportunities in the field much more abundant. So, which is it really? Are we a dying industry, or one on the rise? It turns out the language industry is a bit of both, and that many language service providers are working to adapt and evolve with technological changes, transforming the industry.
In terms of actual career outlook, a look at the Government of Canada’s Job Bank paints a somewhat complex picture. The good news is that in the two-year period between 2014-2016, employment in the language industry rose faster than in all other industries. However, there was still an unemployment rate of 7.2%. Projection wise, an estimated 10,000 jobs are set to open between 2017-2026, with the labour supply consisting primarily of graduates of language programs as well as newcomers. In terms of gender parity, the language industry is one of the few women dominated industries, with women accounting for 70% of its workers. It is also one of the few industries where the gender pay gap is non-existent; you are paid for the work you do, regardless of gender. Jobs in the language industry are currently most promising in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, BC, as well as the Yukon territory.
If you wish to take a closer look at the numbers, please visit: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/outlook-occupation/24474/ca
How MCIS Can Help:
Throughout the months of November and December, MCIS will be sharing The Polyglot Profiles, profiles of language industry workers that will serve to inform high school students, who are about to make decisions regarding university programs and their future careers, about life as language professionals. How do you know if you and the language industry are a good fit? What are highlights of a career as a language service provider? What sort of characteristics and skills should you possess? Featuring MCIS’ top interpreters and translators, these profiles will answer these questions, and more!
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