Especially in the United States, the workplace is becoming a more and more diverse place, where more than one language is regularly spoken. It used to be that English was the most commonly spoken language in schools and in most jobs sectors, but that has since changed. In many school districts, English is not the most commonly spoken language. Usually, it’s Spanish, but in some areas it can be various Asian languages, or tribal languages.
In other work environments, it’s also not uncommon for a majority of the employees to speak more than one language. In states like California or Florida, it’s not unusual for many people to be bilingual or speak Spanish in addition to their primary language. Instead of fighting for English to be the dominant language, the United States has been very accommodating, and more people are opting to learn to speak a new language, instead of forcing other people to speak their language. In fact, it’s not only a good idea to be bilingual; in many cases, it’s also very profitable. Many states will automatically add an extra $30,000 onto a teacher’s salary, if they are proven to be fluent in English and Spanish.
For other jobs, knowing a different language can simply help productivity, because there is no time lost in translation issues. Miscommunications and trouble with understanding co-workers can lead to problems in efficiency, and can also create divides between people who need to be able to work together to get their jobs done. Also, though English is the lingua franca for most international business, it’s common courtesy to address people in their native language, and it helps build solid relationships between coworkers and business associates.
Interestingly, it’s been proven that people who learn a different language also improve their cognitive skills. They’re able to think more clearly and more critically, and this could be very beneficial in the workplace. Learning a new language doesn’t have to be a huge task, either. People don’t need to enroll in expensive language courses or hire a private teacher. There are plenty of ways to learn a new language, all on your own, with the help of affordable home teaching aids. One thing that will make learning a new language easier, though, is having a good grasp on the syntax of your native language.
It’s not only the United States that has recognized the value in being bilingual, especially in business. Countries like Australia have now made it mandatory for children to learn an Asian language in school. They start in kindergarten and learn all the way through high school. This is to give the students a leg up, when they start working in a world that has become more globally-minded than it has ever been before.
Hospitals, legal businesses, and government jobs need bilingual employees the most. Hospitals across the country are struggling to provide adequate translation for patients, and the court systems are also facing a deficiency in employees who can provide translation for witnesses. Police forces have started to offer language training for their officers, and forces are recruiting bilingual officers. Now is the best time for people to learn a new language. It might just help them find the job of their dreams, in a time when jobs are frighteningly scarce, otherwise.