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Learning foreign languages: Will it become useless in the future? Watch

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    Hello everyone

    I´m Portuguese and i speak a little bit of several languages. I´d love to follow this path of learning many languages, but only if i can take any kind of professional adavantage out of it. The problem is that, with the advance of technology, i´m really afraid that in a near future the hability of speaking several languages will most likely become useless in terms of finding a job.

    The translation devices might become so advanced that knowing multiple languages will probably lose it´s appeal in the work market.

    What´s your opinion on this subject? Would it be a bad decision to invest in a degree related to foreign languages?
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    (Original post by KazukiX)
    Hello everyone

    I´m Portuguese and i speak a little bit of several languages. I´d love to follow this path of learning many languages, but only if i can take any kind of professional adavantage out of it. The problem is that, with the advance of technology, i´m really afraid that in a near future the hability of speaking several languages will most likely become useless in terms of finding a job.

    The translation devices might become so advanced that knowing multiple languages will probably lose it´s appeal in the work market.

    What´s your opinion on this subject? Would it be a bad decision to invest in a degree related to foreign languages?
    I don't think it would be as you learn about other stuff on an MFL degree such as literature, so that's a different skill. Also, I think people are significantly more appreciative when people go out to meet them - why else would businesses spend money sending people abroad when they could use Skype? They would also be more likely to warm to you as you'd show you're not lazy, unlike using a potentially unreliable translator


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    (Original post by Butterfly9595)
    I don't think it would be as you learn about other stuff on an MFL degree such as literature, so that's a different skill. Also, I think people are significantly more appreciative when people go out to meet them - why else would businesses spend money sending people abroad when they could use Skype? They would also be more likely to warm to you as you'd show you're not lazy, unlike using a potentially unreliable translator


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    Agreed.

    Still, i´m afraid that jobs like translator will eventually disappear with the development of very good translating softwares. The ones we got today aren´t yet good enough, but you can tell that they´re not too far away from that. Who knows if maybe in less than 10 years they won´t be almost perfect
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    You definitely have a point, but a translator isn't the only job languages can get you. As well as the three main areas where you use your languages directly (translating, interpreting and teaching) there are many others where a) you don't need a subject specialisation, a degree in any subject will do and b) language skills come in useful.

    For example, journalism, marketing, PR, sales, event management, HR, law, government and foreign service work...

    As a more personal example, I'm only an undergrad atm, but I got hired for an internship at an international research and advisory firm in Germany last year because they needed someone that spoke French, English and German. Computers aren't quite at the stage where they can call people, research,write reports and deliver presentations in various languages :p:
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    I think technology being this advanced is a long way away in the future. To be able to speak a language is one thing, in the sense of communication, but to speak it fluently or to the level of a native, that is something else. As anybody who knows a language to even a basic-intermediate level, tools such as google translate, which are fantastic, make the most basic of errors. Beyond this, the speech recognition technology that is required is even less advanced than this.

    Also, try and think about what a language gives you apart from a professional advantage. Learning a language is beneficial for the brain and doing so gives you a chance to access a new culture. There are even people who argue that the brains thoughts are limited and dictated by language, so you can literally free your mind.


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