It would not be inaccurate to assume that the birth of civilization occurred at the instant human beings learnt to communicate. All innovation and the inherent genius with which man harnessed nature to fulfill his needs were rooted in the ability to share ideas, thoughts, knowledge and skills.
Foreign languages that students initially opted to study were determined by trends in the political arena. The colonial powers had ensured that their languages were brought to distant lands, and knowledge of English, French, a German and Spanish were considered useful. At the height of India’s friendly relations with the USSR, Russian was widely hankered after. Today, economics is the buzzword, and the Indian youth is rather discerning when it comes to choosing a language that will give them an edge in a market economy world.
The economy in China had been booming for many years now, though Indians are only now waking up to it. Since, China has emerged as a centre of economic activity, the demand to master the Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) language is going up. A majority of these students comprise businessmen, about 60 percent, and 40 per cent are college students
While dealing with the Chinese market, a basic knowledge of Mandarin is imperative because all business activities right from mundane tasks like making memos, to major activities like business deals carried out in Chinese. Though you can employ an interpreter or translator; it is not quite the same as knowing the language yourself. It helps bring a personal touch to all interactions and endears you to your business partners all because you’ve demonstrated an eagerness to embrace their culture and language. It makes you more trustworthy in their eyes. Indians are beginning to awaken to careers as translators or interpreters with businesses in China or cope in the area of travel and tourism and in six years in that country. In it is learnt that no business is conducted in anything but Chinese.
While Chinese is growing in popularity because of the booming Southeast Asian economy, Spanish is on the must learn list for many Indians as well because of the sheer number of countries in which it is spoken. Spanish is spoken in 21 countries by a population of 400 million people. It is the second official language in the US due to the large Hispanic population.
Major Indian companies that collaborate with the US need personnel with fluent Spanish skills who can develop a rapport with their American counterparts. Proffessionals opportunities exist for translators and interpreters in myriad industries whether it is pharma, IT or software. Most of Indian students are the working population and we are consistently contacted by different companies for qualified Spanish speakers After a student has completed three levels we can offer him placements with these companies.
The burgeoning Asian economy has also extended its effects to Japan. There are several Japanese and Indian companies that need Indian professionals, especially in the field of software development. The Indian student’s growing reputation in this field has created a demand for Indians who want to join companies that create software for the Japanese market. Moreover, Japanese firms are interested in investing in the Indian market and several firms are expected here soon. The demand for personnel who speak Japanese are bound to go up as well.
Although learning a foreign language can give you a professional edge, it cannot be compared to how you will grow as an individual when you are a citizen of the world and your knowledge of different tongues has opened up alien cultures to you. A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for. It is only after we step out of our comfort zone and gain an understanding and insight into new worlds. The only truly way to truly do that is to speak their language.