Technology moves so fast that there are people doing jobs which did not even exist when they were in school. Computers, phones, big data, social media and cloud computing are some of the fast-developing areas with a global outlook. Irish colleges offer courses in computing and software development with languages, reflecting the outward-looking nature of the industry.
Languages in Computing and Localisation:
Courses in Applied Linguistics & Computing address a particular skill: localisation. Localisation is the provision of software and documentation for different languages and cultures. There is an increasing demand for technical communicators, especially within the IT sector, to be able to write about technical products in a simple and effective way so that the product users can easily understand the product.
Combining computing and languages offers a unique combination of skills – technical, mathematical, analytical and communicative. It provides two of the most sought after skills today: fluency in a foreign language and a degree in computing, opening up a variety of career possibilities. Many of these careers involve linguistics: predictive text in telephones, automatic speech recognition in directory enquiries, and machine translation are examples of computational linguistics technologies.
Software development companies search for language skills, indeed some companies say they want specifically language skills and will do the rest themselves by training their employees for the other aspects of the job. In other words, if you have languages, they can do the rest.
Technical Support and Sales
Language fluency can be useful in a number of specific areas in the IT sector. Many multinationals have set up their EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) bases in Ireland, which has created a large number of multilingual technical support and customer support roles. Small to Medium Employers (SME) developing technological products here in Ireland need to both support these products globally and critically need language skills to sell the products into a global market. Having the technical skills and ability to assist clients in their own language is a highly sought after. Additionally, having language fluency can place you in an ideal position to travel abroad on behalf of a company to promote international business development at international shows and meetings.
IT Consultants often need language skills to work on international projects with team members from different countries. They will advise, plan and install IT systems for their clients and so this enhanced level of communication is a real asset.
Research and Development
Research and Development in IT is also an area where languages are important. Analysing and developing the latest IT processes will mean working with an international team on many projects so being able to converse in another language will allow you forge stronger relationships and support work efficiencies.
Languages in video gaming:
If you play video games, you are doing what millions of other people are doing - video games are now more popular than TV. Video games are not just for teenagers but pretty much for all demographics and for both men and women. Japanese Nintendo remains a big name, and the Japanese language is indeed associated with gaming. Did you know that video gaming industry employs not just designers but also translators, after all a game has to be available for players in different countries. The translators need to not just understand the languages but also the cultural references and differences.