Have you ever wondered what is the average foreign language salary or how much does a language expert earn in India and elsewhere? Well, you should be wondering, especially if you are interested in taking the career path of a foreign language specialist.
No matter what people might say, learning a foreign language can put you on the road to a mouth-watering paid career avenue. But, which one pays better? How much do foreign language experts receive as salary? What is the pay scale? Take a seat as we take you through all of these.
A High-paying Industry
There was a time when learning various languages was considered as a mere hobby. Today, it can offer a career boost along with plentiful financial reward.
As the world continues to become increasingly connected, learning a foreign language (other than English) is viewed as a necessity in a variety of profession. There are overarching advantages to learning languages. Of all the language benefits, well-paid language payroll is seemingly the most surpassing motivation among candidates.
The foreign language industry in India and many other places of the world is financially encouraging. One thing that works in favor of foreign language workers in India is diversity.
India is a hugely diverse country across cultural lines, which makes sense to be multilingual. This diversity has led to an increasing number of Indians embracing international languages as the global economy, and cross-border cultures are pitched together, even closer than before. Thanks to the advent of the globalization, outsourcing, offshoring, and ofcourse, internet, innovations, and technology that have made the planet earth a global village.
Are there enough jobs that require language skills?
In one word, YES!
I’ve started blogging in 2017 with a sole intention to write about various languages based on my knowledge, experience, and research. In the past three years, I received a considerable number of the new language jobs opening seeking candidates, ranging from virtual assistant to translator or interpreter to positions in the embassy across the country. With so many new employment possibilities, no matter what career you pick, if you’ve acquired a second language, you’ll always have a real edge.
Bilingual job seekers are preferred over applicants without foreign language skills. One can trace the impact of multilingualism in almost every field. Since not many people know a foreign tongue. Thus, a linguist expert usually paid higher than others.
With the growing number of KPO, IT-enabled services, BPO, MNC, export-houses, Indian companies with global footprints, educational institutions, export houses, tour operators, and travel agency, the demand for language professional is skyrocketing.
Knowledge of a foreign language in India automatically places you ahead of other applicants. To sum up, there are more than enough new openings for language learners.
Foreign Languages that Will Make You The Most Money
A recent revelation by Job search engine Adzuna shows more than 2.5 lakh job postings. It reveals which foreign languages will enable you to get a higher paying position. It means that studying and mastering an international language can allow you to have a high-salary job.
The language industry comprises of many foreign languages with attractive remunerations. But of all the different tongues taught and in demand in India, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, and Japanese attracts the highest salary. In recent times, there is also a demand for less taught languages, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, and Italian speakers in India, and it is growing. Overall, we can group into three broad categories.
(i) Spanish, French, and German lead the park
These three are among the top five high-paying foreign languages and also among the leading five in-demand languages. As of September 2019, the average yearly salary scale stands at six lakhs, each with just a little variation in the thousands and fractions of money that they pay in salaries.
- Entry-level: 4 to 6 lakhs (French and German) and 3 to 5 lakhs (Spanish).
- 3+ years of experience and high proficiency like C1/C2 — 7-10 lakhs (French and German) and 6-8 lakhs (Spanish).
As you can see, the salary scale for the above three top European languages is massive, compared to a host of other tongues. However, competition is also high. More and more Indians are taking up lessons in studying these tongues due to the substantial economic prospect they offer.
So what is in it for bilingual teachers? If you are a bilingual teacher, you can expect to take home the most, since teaching stands as the highest paying sector for the German, French, and Spanish.
(ii) Highest paid foreign language in India
Of all the foreign lingos that are making headway in the industry, Chinese (Mandarin) is the highest-paid language. A person who speaks Chinese receives as much as an Rs. million-plus yearly. It goes way beyond the average salary level recorded in India in recent times. Currently, the job ads for fluency in mandarin increased to about double in the past two to three years.
The other East Asian languages, namely Japanese and Korean, are also paid quite well. Then, why Mandarin is at number one spot, and not Japanese or Korean? For that, Let’s get down to a tabular presentation of the pay scale for these tongues.
- Mandarin — Low Supply and High Demand.
- Japanese — Moderate Supply and High Demand.
- Korean — Low Supply and Low Demand.
If you fall among the category of the world’s most widely spoken or popular languages, you will have to prepare for a highly competitive language job market. It is genuine considering that, most of the job vacancies require a stiff competition. It means linguist will need to show the best proficiency if they want to secure the best-paid positions.
(iii) Less Common Languages
When it comes to language acquisition, most people, roughly 80%-90%, prefer the top 5 languages. When you learn a less widespread language, say Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Korean, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Bahasa, Dutch, Scandinavian languages, to name a few, you will have something rewarding to add to your resume.
Any of these languages can become an asset in professional life, considering there is a scarcity of people fluent in these tongues. That is the primary reason you could very well earn more. Yesterday only, I received a requirement for Bulgarian specialist with CTC of 15Lakh in Mumbai. And I receive such emails all the time.
In short, the less rare skill is available in the market, the more income you can make. There is just one caveat — There aren’t enough jobs. The long stretches of no work are also common. The contacts, references, and experience play a vital role in this category.
Work Type & Organization Matters
Foreign language specialists and the salary scale they receive depend on the work and organization they belong to. If you get employed to work for Marketing or PR Department in any Multi-National Corporation (MNC), your remuneration can be somewhere from Rs 35,000 to Rs. 60,000 each month.
For full-time school teachers and instructor at any educational center, the salary range can vary anywhere from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 per month. The home, private, or online tutors, corporate trainer generally charge according to their level of education and experience. It can vary significantly between Rs. 500 to 1000 per hour. A certified foreign language teacher with a top-notch experience can undoubtedly charge more, for instance, Rs. 1,000 to 2,000 for an hour.
As for language lecturers in Government Universities and high education institutions, the salary package for an assistant or associate professors could range from Rs 70,000 to Rs 120,000 per month. On the other hand, professors can earn up to Rs 150,000. Besides, Colleges and Universities also hire visiting or guest faculty. They are usually paid 25,000-50,000 monthly, or Rs 800-1500 on an hourly basis, depending on whether it is a government or privately own institution.
The salary prospect isn’t bad for translators either. What can you expect? You can earn anything from Rs 500 to Rs 1500 per page, and can even go beyond, depending on the translator’s proficiency and technical knowledge in the subject concerned. The same thing applies to an Interpreter who, if they agreed to get paid on an hourly basis, can receive from Rs 2500 to Rs 5000, subject to their level of experience and caliber.
The full-time salary can range anywhere between 6 lakh to 12 lakh. If you have the experience, referral, and a substantial profile in a less competitive market, like Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, etc., you will be paid much more than an average interpreter and translator.
For people who work in embassies, their salary scale ranges Rs 40,000 to 100,000 per month, depending on the nature of the work. For example, a customer care executive or HR might earn less compared to a research analyst or transcriber.
There is a varied range of processes in a BPO, KPO, and ITES which involve different roles and responsibilities. The minimum salary range with 0-2 years of experience or Freshers is between 3 to 5 lakhs per annum. Foreign language expert salary is usually 25% to 40% higher over their English speaking counterparts. With an average rate of growth of 20% per annum, you can quickly achieve a payscale of 6 to 8 lakhs in a few years down the line.
How much one makes in the Import-Export industry as a linguist?
With a combination of your language skills and marketing skills like MBA in international marketing, you can become an international salesperson negotiating deals between cross-border businesses. The salary is lucrative even for freshers. It ranges between 6 to 8 lakh, and with experience, the sky is the limit! Additionally, you’ll have plenty of chances to travel abroad.
Different Foreign Language Roles that Attract Good Salary
Foreign language professionals fill different roles, depending on their qualification, experience, and skills. Below are some of the tasks that attract a helpful salary scale:
- Teaching — (i) Foreign language instructor in any educational institution. (ii) Corporate trainer (iii) Visiting or Guest Faculty, Lecturer or Assistant professor in any College or University (iv) Teacher in School (v) Tutor (vi) Online tutoring.
- TEP — (i) Translator (ii) Editing (iii) Proofreading.
- Interpreter and Transcriber — Consecutive or Real-time.
- Travel & Tourism — Tour Guide, Attendant to hotels, holiday consultant, etc.
- Travelling — Transport officer, Cruise Ship Jobs, logistics, Flight steward or Air hostess, Pilots, and more.
- IT professionals and personnel for IT Enabled services in MNCs organization.
- Public relation (PR) officer and working in an advertisement firm.
- Writing — Content writer, Travel writer, Editor, and Bloggers.
- Research assistance and market researcher.
Factors Affecting Foreign Language Demand and Supply Chain
No one can work and make good money when they lack essential information. While the demand for foreign language professionals is enormous, there is a lack of information for aspirants to access. Consequently, very few experts come out from foreign language institutes in India, which immediately leads to a shortage of trained and qualified foreign language professionals.
India needs a significant number of foreign languages professional, especially in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean languages. While India enjoys millions of qualified English language speakers, the country faces a severe shortage of people who can understand German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Russian, and other critical languages.
Another important factor worth mentioning that affects the demand and supply of foreign language is the lack or shortage of infrastructure in universities or language institutes. Again, the majority of universities and language institutes are located in big cities and metros. That makes it difficult for candidates from small towns and remote places to come and learn languages.
If you wish to make a career in languages, at least aim for upper Intermediate level in the language proficiency test. For example, CEFR B2 in European languages, like, Zertifikat Deutsch (German), DELF and DALF (French), DELE or SIELE (Spanish), CILS or CELI (Italian language test), CAPLE or CELPE (Portuguese), and TORFL (Russian).
In East Asian Languages, HSK Level V (Mandarin Chinese), JLPT N2 (Japanese), and TOPIK Level 5 (Korean). Besides, you can achieve the likewise competency level by completing Advanced level programs in Universities.
Top Tier Companies offering a high wage for language specialist
Some of the companies in India that pays a good salary for hired foreign language professionals includes but not limited to:
Evalueserve, Accenture, Infosys, ICS, Fiserv, Wipro, Kuliza, Tech Mahindra, Scabbard, TCS, Amazon, Exxon Mobil, Dell, IBM, Samsung, Toyota, Oracle, Orange, HCL, Xchanging, Enchanting India, Thales, Siemens, American Express, Thomson Reuters, L&T, Genpact, Geometric Ltd., Fujitsu Technology, WNS, Convergys, Daksh, First Source, EXL, vCustomer, MphasiS, Zenta, HTMT, iEnergizer, and hundreds of more.
Getting A Job To Earn A Good Salary In A Foreign Language
The key to getting a job is down to your proficiency and skills. You have to be genuinely skilled and proficient in the language for which you’re being employed. So the company, organization, or agency can derive the benefits while you get paid handsomely for your language abilities.
Final Thought (Wrapping Up)
Knowing what language and what job pays the most is essential for foreign language employees. The pay scale varies from one industry to another, and the type and level of your proficiency will determine how much salary you will get paid. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment section.