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Mission admission: Words count, breaking the la...

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It's that time of the year again, when students have to make choices that will dene their careers. To have many choices is wonderful but when the options are many, and all appear compelling, making an informed decision is a challenge. TOI's 'Mission
Admission' guides students through the season. Today's focus: Foreign Languages
Bonjour, Hola or Ciao, the words of a foreign language never cease to amuse us. From comics to lms, fairy tales to signboards, we have always picked up a few words of a dierent tongue. And the tiny vocabulary has been helpful during our vacations abroad
and our interactions with exchange students. But knowing a foreign language can also land you a job in a multinational company (MNC) or an embassy. While French and German have seen many takers over the years, experts say East Asian languages like
Chinese, Japanese and Korean are fast catching up as international rms set up base in India. "The demand for East Asian languages has grown with automobile companies like Hyundai, entering the market," says Nandini Menon, manager, teaching and
information, InKo Centre.
With Manga comics, graphic novels, K-pop and K-drama making their way to bookshelves and television screens, youngsters these days are keen on learning Korean and Japanese too. Learning these pictorial scripts might be tedious but their novelty keeps
students engaged.
One is often in a dilemma on which language to learn. French, German and Spanish have been all-time favourites as they pave the way for an education in Europe. And with more Indian companies having European clients, the demand is only growing.

"Before applying for a course, students usually understand the relationship India shares with that particular country, which eventually decides the job and educational possibilities," says Neerja Samajdar, associate professor, Centre for Korean Studies (SLL
&CS), JNU. "After the European languages, the Asian dialects are the most popular courses among applicants." While languages like Arabic are also oered in most universities, experts say that they are usually popular among students who are familiar with a
similar tongue like Urdu.

Knowing a foreign language can open doors to otherwise inaccessible avenues. For consulting professional Swanamukhi, learning French is making a huge dierence. "Since my job involves assisting foreign companies, I was dealing with many French clients,"
says Swarnamukhi. "Initially, I didn't know the language but after I started learning it, I am able to interact with them. It has also helped in networking."

A plethora of career options have mushroomed over the years in the industry. Apart from MNCs, culture and tourism sectors have always harboured a demand for foreign language professionals. "Translation and interpretation jobs are the most sought after in
agencies and corporates. Freelancing is a lucrative option but the uncertainty of assignments can make it risky," says Akhila Phadnis, freelance French translator.

Being known as the medical hub of the world, India has many foreign patients visiting the country for treatment. And many translation agencies act as bridges between the expat community and doctors. "For instance, some rms specialise in translating
medical prescriptions and legal documents for Japanese families settled here," says Chellappa Sriram, vice president, ABK AOTS DOSOKAI, a city-based Japanese training centre.

International summits and meets organised by institutions like the United Nations and European Union serve as ideal career lauchpads for language experts.
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