foreign language knowledge
Speaking, reading and writing in a second language has its advantages and disadvantages. Although this skill can have an appeal to employer, the employee can grow to resent their skill. Understanding the issues that a bilingual person goes through on a daily basis can help that person be more appreciated in their skill. Growing up in an environment that speaks another language the assumption is made that because someone can speak, read and write in a second language that they are obligated to provide that skill in the workplace.
The education system in the United States differs from other countries. The education of children, young adults and college students does not include a second language throughout their education career. Elementary is the foundation of our education system. This is the time when our children should be introduced into a second language. Children are like a sponge and absorb the most during the early stages of education. When our kids begin their high school education and give the elective of a second language it is late in the game to have them really grasp a new language. As a young adult enters their college career they understand that a second language can open many other doors for them.
The shortage of qualified bilingual teachers makes it difficult to offer the opportunities that other countries provide their students. The obvious academic advantage of learning a second language at an early age affects the intellectual growth and mental development of the child. Studies conducted by the Center for Applied Linguistics show a positive connection with a second language and college admissions test scores. While the United States does not have a national requirement to learn a second language in school a student in Europe will study various languages in the classroom before becoming a teenager. Between the ages of 6 and 9 a 2012 report from Eurostat indicated that children begin studying their foreign language as a required school subject.
Growing up in a home where English is not the first language gives the child more opportunities to develop their skill for their future. According to the Census Bureau data from 2013 states that the percentage of the U.S. population speaking a second language at home was 21 percent this was a slight increase from 2010. There are many advantages in learning a second language and beginning at a young age should be encouraged. Speaking a native language also helps have a sense of their cultural identity.
American youth no longer competes for a job only with each other, but also with others from around the world. Other countries such as the United Kingdom is providing a program for schools to fund the teaching of another language. Any candidate that is fluent in two languages have a better advantage for any job. Having this skill at the fingertips of a foreign speaking household brings opportunities to prepare for life in the workplace.
Hearing the words that you will be paid more because you speak a second language is common in a foreign language home. Dangling the words increase pay and better jobs in front of a student encourages them to take on the additional classes for their future. Anyone interested in taking on classes in a foreign language need to evaluate their choices in which language to enroll in. After graduating and sending their resume with the proficiency of the language they speak does not always come with the pay they may have expected. Certain languages are more popular than others. Spanish is becoming one of the global languages and because it is so popular pay may not be one of the benefits.
Being asked to translate or interpret will add to your workload if you are not hired on directly as a translator or interpreter. Working in an environment where the skill can affect the company's business with a consumer should be addressed with the employee at the time of hire. When the skill is being utilized for the benefit of the company appropriate increase in wage should be offered. Many companies are global and reaching out to another country requires good communication between them.
There are times when the words, "can you do me a favor" are muttered. It begins with once or twice of translating a document or interpreting for someone. The employee helps and that favor becomes a routine. We become resentful for being bilingual and not getting any different benefit than those who are not fluent in another language. The airline industry is global. The larger airlines have customers from all over the world. Having flight attendants who can understand another language will not just help the passenger but make the job easier for the flight attendant. As I researched the position I could determine that certain areas include in the job description as to which language they need. The position will provide a difference in wage than a flight attendant who only speaks one language. As an employee from the customer service recovery department in the airline industry the benefit of speaking another language does not come with the pay increase perk.
Interpreting has layers of difficult complexities for the interpreter. An untrained interpreter can lose track of what is being said. An interpreter needs to listen to what is being said so they can say it in another language. Losing track can make it difficult to provide the correct translation of the topic. Being placed in a situation where you are being forced to interpret for professional or social circumstances makes it difficult for the interpreter to walk away from the conversation. The person can be stuck listening to something they may or may not agree to.
Although the benefits of a second language can be luring, Title VII Compensation Issues Affecting Bilingual Hispanic Employees brings attention to the difference in pay issues. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states the requirements and certain circumstances that entitle the Spanish speaking employee to receive greater compensation. An employee is not automatically entitled to additional benefits or wages. The language is so common that it is not necessary to give additional compensation to attract potential employees. An employer can use this to their advantage. A company can attract many both Spanish and English speaking employees willing to do the job without the compensation. However, if an employee helps and does not receive credit for the time lost assisting other employees or lose promotional opportunities this would be a violation of Title VII disparate treatment violation.
Certain languages offer a larger return in wages. The government needs in certain languages skills for high-risk jobs will provide better compensation. These workers are required to pass high-level security clearances and enter dangerous situations. These are not the only positions that need translators and interpreters. The opportunities in legal, medical, technical and scientific positions also fall into the larger salary pay scale. For certain majors and career paths being bilingual is a no-brainer. Having the skill of a second language can help the resume stand out from a sea of other qualified applicants. To the employer, the employees' ability to communicate with foreign speaking demographics is a valuable asset.
Bilingual college students should not stress about employment possibilities. The career path they choose will help in determining if taking additional classes in a second language is a necessity for their career. In some companies, there is no difference in salaries for speaking a second language. Bilingual is a term that is somewhat vague and does not reveal the degrees of fluency. Bilingual employees can provide an employer an increase in flexibility for purposes of servicing specific customer demographics.
There is another reason to study another language, job search is not the only reason. The rewards in being able to travel to a foreign country and can have conversations with people in their own language. The benefits to understanding other cultures result in some measures achieved through their language. A new college student does not usually make the decision to take on foreign language classes and additional debt just to be able to travel to other countries. The assumption that will guide them into that direction is the thought of being paid more.
Social media is such a huge part of our growing economy and being able to communicate in this manner has made the world smaller. The economy thrives on being global and accomplishing this is easier if we are able to communicate and understand each other's cultures. The native language we speak will help shape the way we view the world. It allows us to lead richer lived in developing the understanding towards different cultures.
The workplace holds lots of opportunities for bilingual employees. Bilingual speakers can serve as interpreters for potential and existing customers. Bilingual employees can bridge the gap between foreign countries. Being bilingual should not be a requirement in the workplace unless the position is specified as an interpreter or translator position. However, if the organization does many transactions with other countries having an incentive for being bilingual will help employees stay motivated to use their skill.
Being aware of how being bilingual can affect your work ethic is important. Other co-workers may feel threatened over a skill they do not possess. Being bilingual there are additional rules that should be followed in the workplace. Understanding your surroundings and that not everyone around you can understand what you are saying is important. Having this skill can jeopardize certain situations. In a break room setting speaking in another language is not recommended. When someone can't understand what two employees are speaking about things can get misinterpreted. Although there is no law that says that English is the official language of the U.S. someone who is bilingual should be aware that it may make others uncomfortable.
When you make your employer aware that you are bilingual you are inviting the opportunity to assist in certain circumstances. As I conducted my research on how my co-workers who applied for the same position I found that 3 out of the 5 mentioned in their resume that they were bilingual. They also made it aware at the interview. As I evaluated this decision they made I felt that the fact that they introduced this it would allow the company to have access to this skill as it was listed on the resume. From a management view I feel that the decision of bringing some one on top join the company is based on what they list on their resume. If an employee decides not to allow access this skill they possess it should not be presented.
A company will make its best judgement when hiring on employee that will benefit the success of the organization. When resumes are presented they review this to fill in the positions that will match the best candidate for the position. What we list on the resume is what we are allowing the company access to. Difference in pay for a skill you list should not be expected. By not placing the skill of being fluent in a second language the potential candidate can risk an opportunity over other who do not have the skill.
As someone who has grown-up in a Spanish speaking household I have been able to use my skill when needed. I have come to appreciate my culture and share it with others. As young as I can remember I held the position of interpreter at a doctor's appointment for my grandparents to translator of legal business documents for my parents. It is those situations that give the most perspective of how to balance speaking both languages. Being placed in a position that you know if you misinterpret it can hurt a loved one unintentionally is added pressure to get it right. Using this sensitivity in the workplace helps stay balanced in providing the best service to those who speak a foreign language.
The difficulties I struggle with is finding a way to help my co-workers and customers without it getting in the way of completing my own work. Taking on more than others is something that comes with being bilingual and sharing that skill. I have the compassion to help those who struggle with English and am not judgmental over the way they speak with an accent. Allowing those people to be themselves and be patient with the assistance they request only opens the doors for more success. A customer will be more enticed to return to company that makes him feel more welcomed.
In conclusion to the advantages and disadvantages that being bilingual brings the world needs to understand that the global economy is successful because of the diversity. Embracing another language only makes a person better. Allowing the mind to discover new ideas, cultures and life will only make your own life a book to discovery. There is nothing wrong with helping others. The feeling you get by translating for a doctor of the condition of their patient is only a reward in itself. Being a part of an organization that opens the doors for other countries to participate in only give success to those involved. The additional benefit is in the form of the feeling you get. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that you made a difference in someone's life in some way. Something as simple as helping in a grocery store, pricing out an airline ticket or being able to explain why a flight is cancelled or delayed can mean a lot to the person needing the help. Weather the company decides to pay me or not for helping, being Bilingual is a part of me and it is something I will continue to do. Put yourself in their position regardless if they are in America connecting with a customer on the other end will only bring you opportunities.
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Zeigler, Karen and Camarota, Steven "One in Five U.S. Residents Speaks Foreign Language at Home, Record 61.8 million"
Meredith Bower "Do college admissions officers value students who speak more than one language?"
Noack, Rick "Quiz: Which foreign language should you learn?"
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