Thinking of Learning Another Language? Here are Some Things to Consider

Posted by Lindsay Geoffroy

According to Psychology Today, approximately 18% of U.S. citizens as of 2007 are bilingual (speak at least two languages), and that number is steadily rising year to year. People may speak more than one language for a variety of reasons. For example, a child of immigrants may have learned their parents’ mother tongue at home and gained proficiency in English while attending school. Or, for those whose first language is English, a second language may be learned in high school or college in an attempt to become a better-rounded scholar.

Some people may even learn a second (or third, or fourth) language in their spare time as a hobby or in order to make themselves more marketable to employers. If you are looking to learn another language, here are some things to consider.

Do You Have the Time?

In order to learn a new language, you have to put in some serious man hours. Depending on the language, it can take anywhere from 575-2200 hours to become proficient in a language. Do you have the time to spare? Here is a list of languages grouped by difficulty and number of hours to proficiency (via Business Insider). This is based on the language’s similarity to English.

Easy: Requires 23-24 weeks/575-600 class hours to become proficient

Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, French, Afrikaans, Italian, Norwegian, Romanian

Medium: Requires 44 weeks/1100 class hours to become proficient

Hindi, Thai, Russian, Serbian, Vietnamese, Greek, Turkish, Hebrew, Polish, Finnish

Hard: Requires 1.69 years/2200 class hours to become proficient

Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean

Why It’s a Good Investment

There are several benefits to speaking another language. According to Korn/Ferry International, 31% of company executives speak at least two languages. So, if you are looking to break into the world of corporate leadership, learning another language could give you the edge over competitors.

Learning a second language can benefit non-executive employees as well. As stated in one of our previous blogs, companies are on the hunt for bilingual graduates and see bilingual workers as in-demand. So, if you are young and wondering what to do to get a leg up on the other millennials, perhaps learning another language could be your ticket to the big leagues.

How Does This Relate To Translation and Localization?

Translation is one of the 15 fastest growing occupations in the U.S., according to a Department of Labor study. Thousands of jobs will open up to interpreters and translators before 2020.

Lionbridge only employs the most well-educated, experienced translators who are fluent in both source and target languages. They have put in the necessary hours to learn a second (or third, or fourth) language. To see a full list of our services, visit us here.