Languages, languages….

\”As the most over-examined generation, which invests the most money into its education, polyglots should get more recognition for their language skills. They are still sorely underrated here, particularly if you do not wish to pursue professions traditionally associated with languages, such as interpreting, translation or teaching. Abroad of course, the demand is high for native English speakers but it seems that British companies do not make the most of hiring employees who have a working knowledge of several languages. We are in a veritable stalemate: those who do not learn foreign languages are criticised for being inward-looking and for those who do, they do not seem to reap any additional employability benefits on UK turf.\”

Err, yes. It\’s called a \”market\”. If there was value to be able to speak languages other than English then companies would pay for said value. Companies are not paying for said value therefore there is no value to being polyglot.

Thus the educational effort to become so has no economic value (it may well have great personal value but that ain\’t the same thing at all).

So we shouldn\’t be spending tax money on it.

2 comments on “Languages, languages….

  1. it seems that British companies do not make the most of hiring employees who have a working knowledge of several languages

    Nonsense – my employer places great importance on recruiting people who have a working knowledge of several languages: Fortran, C, C#, Java, python, XML, Matlab, x86 assembly, … :-)

    Seriously, between the staff in the office we can cover quite a few different human languages. However this is mostly via employing native speakers of these languages (note: they are recruited for computing or business skills, the languages are a bonus). It is certainly a lot easier to recruit a Chinese programmer who can speak English than to find a native-English speaking programmer who also happens to speak Mandarin.

  2. it seems that British companies do not make the most of hiring employees who have a working knowledge of several languages

    Try getting into Shell without a second language. Possible, but not easy.

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