Stuck on an unfulfilling career path? Do you want job duties that include travel? Unlike what you’re led to believe, many available foreign language jobs exist abroad. Believe me, because I did it! I moved across the world to teach English, which has changed my life for the better in every possible way.
Pivoting into fields where you use your second language knowledge can transform your career in ways you never dreamed possible.
There is high demand for multilingual speakers, especially in English, Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese, Japanese, and German. The countries where these languages are spoken have bustling economies and a wide array of career subdivisions, many of which require fluency in another language.
The best thing about these jobs is that they don’t have to be your forever career unless you want them to be. If you need a break from the monotony of work, then why not try one of these jobs out? You could find your life’s calling, or you could not, but still travel, experience unique opportunities, and arrive home with some good stories to tell.
So take a leap and apply for jobs that use second language skills – fill up your passport with stamps while interacting with people worldwide.
What Are The Best Foreign Language Jobs?
#1 Foreign Language Teacher
An English language teacher is my current job, and it is a great option to first get started in the international education & job sphere. To qualify, you will usually need to get a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate and a university Bachelor’s degree in any field.
If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely an advanced English speaker, which means this job could be for you! There are positions open worldwide, as schools constantly demand English teachers. I am teaching in Thailand and can confirm this to be true.
If you love working with children, are passionate about intercultural experiences, and speak another language, this job could be for YOU.
#2 Tour Guide (Working Holiday Visas)
Tour guides are an underrated position that one can do as a multilingual speaker. The options are limitless – you could be out in nature doing raft guides or live in bustling cities giving walking tours on a city’s rich history.
Communication is key in the tourism industry. Loads of tourists come from all over the world. As a tour guide, you can bridge the language barrier between people through a common language, which is a massive draw for tour companies.
If you’re good at adapting and want a bit of an adventure, seek tour guide opportunities in your dream destination. Why not live there for a few months while earning good money? You could even get a working holiday visa in some countries, where you can stay up to a year! Places include Canada, New Zealand, Australia, etc.
So be resourceful, use your acquired skills to see the world, and meet interesting people along the way!
Hello, remote work! Translational jobs should be on your radar if you wish to be a digital nomad. Translators work behind the scenes, usually on a laptop, helping transcribe information from one target language to another. If you’re a native speaker from a powerhouse country like China, Japan, the United States, or Germany, this foreign language job should be at the top of your list.
Usually, translators translate information from a second language into their native language. So if you speak fluent English but are native to Japan, you could find lucrative jobs translating from English → Japanese.
There’s an umbrella of translator positions available in today’s society.
There are literary translators (what we commonly think of), but also more specialized translators such as legal, financial, and medical translators.
To give you an idea, here are some examples of documents that different types of translators work with:
Literature language translator: Translate literary works such as novels, essays, and other literary works.
Legal translator: Translate legal documents from one language into another, including contracts, wills, and court transcripts.
Financial translation specialist: Translates financial documents from one language into another, including financial statements, contracts, and reports.
Medical interpreter and translator: Translates medical documents such as patient records, medications, and research papers.
So if you have a background in law, business, or medicine, these niche positions should be your target. Knowing how to network past work experience is crucial in pivoting into foreign language jobs.
If you wish to have a more prominent and central role in the abroad job market, then interpreting could be in your wheelhouse.
Interpreting, in simple terms, is bridging the gap between two parties through the use of a target language. Your job is to bridge two languages and make sure both parties have an understanding and are in agreement. Interpreters are the glue that holds the global world together. Without them, we would be disconnected and isolated.
This job suits those who work well under pressure, are comfortable in front of crowds, and are well-focused. Interpreting is not an easy job, and it’s best to train before interpreting for big employers, especially if you are in a situation with prominent politicians or figureheads. If you find that you have a knack for it, you could build up to a high salary.
Interpreting can be a gratifying job, as you are the voice for those who cannot communicate independently. Interpreting could definitely be your niche if you like a little adrenaline at work!
#5 Flight Attendant
Becoming a flight attendant is perhaps the most foolproof way to travel to most places. If you dream of spending a few days in Bali, Belgium, or Brazil (or all three, for free!), then you should consider this path.
International airlines seek out multilingual flight attendants, so if you choose this career, you are more likely to travel to remote and faraway countries.
There are specific training programs to become a flight attendant, usually lasting a couple of weeks. However, these are highly competitive positions that may take a long time to be accepted into the program.
But the good news is that you have a leg up on competitors because you speak another language. So … why not take flight and explore new places by becoming a flight attendant?
#6 Foreign Service Officer
A foreign service officer is a fascinating job unknown to most people. As a consular foreign services officer, your role is to promote peace, assist prosperity, and protect citizens traveling abroad from your home country. But what does that entail exactly?
Some tasks include overseeing embassy operations and protecting border affairs. You constantly communicate with international organizations and use your multilingual skills daily. With this job, you may need to hop on a jet to fly to Egypt at a moment’s notice, so you have to be easily able to adapt to new situations.
Sounds fancy? That’s because it is! This job has great benefits, such as good pay, optimal travel opportunities, and health insurance. Look into it if you want a stable, noble position where your work truly matters and you use your knowledge for good.
#7 Travel Coordinator
Travel coordinators make arrangements or specific guides for individuals or certain organizations. There is a range from luxury travel for an individual client to organizing an entire basketball team to travel to Australia to help a non-profit build its programs.
You will help others travel, teach, learn, or volunteer overseas. The role allows for creativity in creating programs and (especially for travel) choosing places for your clients to go.
Travel coordinators must have a keen eye, flawless organizational skills, and a passion for their work.
Most travel coordinators work at a university or non-profit. These jobs have great opportunities to travel abroad and lead programs in person.
For example, I studied abroad in Luxembourg and had a travel coordinator from the US come and live in Luxembourg. She spoke English and French and helped assist the program and create events for the students. What an incredible opportunity!
To start, I would scour university or non-profit job openings and see if any of the open roles fit this description. If you sell your passion and multilingual skills, you should have opportunities beckoning for you.
#8 Hotel Management
Hotel management offers many travel opportunities, especially for those who speak multiple languages. Many large hotel chains will offer international positions to hotel managers, especially if they speak the target language.
Suppose you love to manage operations, negotiate contracts, and meet all sorts of interesting people. In that case, this job could be for you. Those with a business eye and strong leadership skills can market themselves to snag this international business role.
#9: Product Localization Manager
A product localization manager is a fancy name for a very interesting job! A product localization managers’ role is to develop and oversee the product development and marketing of international companies.
For example, a Taco Bell in India wouldn’t sell beef tacos on their menu, so as not to disrespect the Hindu beliefs of the majority of people served. It is cultural sensitivities like this that are so important – but they need to be under the watchful eye of the right person.
A bilingual expert who understands the nuances of the country’s culture as well as intimately knows the language is the prime candidate for this lucrative business position. They adapt a product fit for the customer market in the target language.
It is like PR for international companies, and the benefits are highly rewarding, not only financially but lifestyle-wise!
#10 Au Pair / Travel Nanny
Do you love kids and want to have an authentic, local experience abroad? Think about becoming an au pair.
Au pairs live with a family abroad (for free) and help care for their children. This sort of role is especially popular in Europe. You can teach the children a specific language (let’s say your own language) for extra compensation and higher credibility.
If you scour the agencies and interview a few families, you could end up scoring with a lovely family in France, Denmark, or any country of your choice. Even better, you could travel with the family on holidays and break into the travel nanny sphere (a lucrative, incredible, niche career!)
Learn More About Languages With Ling!
These 10 compelling jobs are just the beginning for multilingual folks. If you’re dedicated to cultural learning and using your skills to help people, you shouldn’t have trouble breaking into one of these careers.
If you speak another language, you should use that highly sought-after skill to your advantage! And if you’re still learning another language (or maybe a third language!), check out the Ling app, the best language-learning app on the market.
Just getting started learning a language and don’t know where to start? Check out Overcome Fear Of Speaking A Language – 7 Amazing Tips & Best 3+ Language Learning Activities That You Should Know About!