From trans­la­tion to teach­ing abroad, learn­ing a new lan­guage can open up a wealth of ca­reer op­tions to­day

India Today - - COVER STORY -

Snigdha Kapoor, 18, did not want to pur­sue a course in ‘ bor­ing old English’. In­stead she is now ready to opt for a lib­eral arts de­gree from the Sym­bio­sis School For Lib­eral Arts. Here, she feels, she’ll get the chance to not only study dif­fer­ent lan­guages but also dif­fer­ent styles of speak­ing, writ­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. “There are cour­ses avail­able in Haiku poetry, world poetry, clas­sic lit­er­a­ture, rhetoric writ­ing and tech­ni­cal writ­ing. I want to be­come a lan­guage teacher one day and this is ex­actly the kind of pro­gramme I feel would help me in the long run,” says Kapoor, who is orig­i­nally from Delhi.

As more and more in­de­pen­dent lan­guage, trans­la­tion and writ­ing in­sti­tutes open up, stu­dents no longer have to study a generic lit­er­a­ture course to take up a ca­reer in lin­gus­tics. “There are more learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to­day as well as an in­crease in the num­ber of jobs for trans­la­tors and lan­guage teach­ers. Take Al­liance Fran­caise for ex­am­ple. They have over 25 cen­tres across the coun­try to­day, in­clud­ing smaller branches in non- met­ros such as Bhopal, Trichy, Dehradun and Se­cun­der­abad. This shows both the de­mand for lan­guage cour­ses as well as the num­ber of new job open­ings be­ing gen­er­ated as more cen­tres come up,” says Geet Singh, a ca­reer coun­sel­lor based in Gur­gaon.

Uni­ver­si­ties too are tak­ing note of the trend with many launch­ing their own trans­la­tion and lan­guage cen­tres. Delhi Univer­sity’s depart­ment of ger­manic and ro­mance stud­ies cur­rently of­fers part- time lan­guage cour­ses in French, Ger­man, Ital­ian, Span­ish and Por­tugese. While the St. Stephen’s Cen­tre for Trans­la­tion is one of the few schools in In­dia that trans­lates texts in mul­ti­ple In­dian lan­guages such as Malay­alam, Ben­gali, Urdu, Pun­jabi, Tamil and Hindi. The cen­tre also of­fers stu­dents a course in trans­la­tion stud­ies which was set up last year. Val­son Thampu, prin­ci­pal of St. Stephens, says the project was very dear to his heart. Thampu who won the 2010 Voda­fone Crossword Book Award for trans­lat­ing Sarah Joseph's Othappu from Malay­alam to English, cur­rently over­sees the Malay­alam trans­la­tions un­der­taken by the cen­tre.

“There is such a rich her­itage of texts avail­able in In­dia. Trans­lat­ing them into var­i­ous lan­guages will al­low more peo­ple the chance to en­joy th­ese scripts. In the fu­ture we will look to in­clude trans­la­tions in more re­gional lan­guages as well,” says Thampu.

Teach Abroad pro­grammes have also helped in­crease the pop­u­lar­ity of for­eign and re­gional lan­gaguage cour­ses in In­dia. From China to France or Brazil, th­ese pro­grammes al­low speak­ers of the na­tive lan­guage to live and teach English in var­i­ous coun­tries around the world. “Those who know Man­darin or Span­ish are very much in de­mand to­day as many coun­tries want them to come and teach English to their cit­i­zens. Ac­co­mo­da­tion and travel are free. It is a great ca­reer op­por­tu­nity for many in the field,” con­cludes Singh.

A stu­dent at FLAME in Pune (above); stu­dents at St, Stephens Delhi (above center); stu­dents at Sym­bio­sis School for Lib­eral Arts in Pune

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