Jobs using language

I’ve seen a lot of posts enquiring about JET/a job in Japan
but this is more general.

Right now I study a science at university, but I have to be honest, I’m not sure I fit the job of a scientist. I feel much more drawn to languages

I don’t have plans to drop out or switch course (bit too late for that ww)
But I was wondering if there’s any careers involving languages I could look into.

Translator/transcriber(?) is the obvious one, but I know for Japanese there probably isn’t much work available and what is there would be pretty competitive (especially because I don’t live in the US so I probably couldn’t even get into the underpaid anime/video game industry)

Also while this is a Japanese forum and that’s where most of my passion is, I am interested in languages in general and I’m also learning Spanish at uni if there’s stuff in that

Just as a clarification: I’m specifically interested in work about languages, not so much just ‘accountant but you have to talk to people in another language’

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If you want to work about languages you want to become a linguist. It’s a steep hill to climb and I can’t really see a way around getting a degree (and doing damn well at it, as well, it’s competitive). The only pivot I can kinda see from science would be doing technical copywriting, which definitely demands skills in language, but it’s not about language.

Ah yes, sorry in my attempt at clarification, I think I caused more confusion :sweat_smile:

Yeah I mean a job centred around language skills rather than like, a linguist

If you’re interested in working in your own language, you might be able to swing a job as a case handler / clerk at some kind of science-adjacent public agency like the EPA. To be honest, many, many jobs use language. I’m certain a salesperson would say they work with language, and I know for a fact I work with language as a legal consultant. Very rarely do I get to work in any language other than my own, though, and the days where knowing another language was enough to swing you a job are over. You could look into becoming a tutor on iTalki, I suppose. Low stake thing to attempt. :slight_smile:

Interpreting would be another obvious one :slight_smile: it doesn’t even have to be Japanese-English, it could also be Japanese-your native language. Obviously there‘s less demand, but also less competition for exotic combinations. And interpreting to/from Japanese pays better than English-Spanish etc. And I try to tell myself that Japanese is less likely to be understood by AI anytime soon, but we’ll see about that. :slight_smile:

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Y’know, I’m something of a scientist, myself …

… or, at least, that’s what I studied att uni before I became a boring programmer like everyone else.

Anyhow, I did spend a few years working in the student union and later in the college administration, particularly directed at international students. This did give me some opportunity to be around other languages (mostly for making polite conversations, but also sometimes when investigating suspicious documents).

That being said, unless you count speaking in English (which you can do in just about any line of work), working with other languages probably only took up about 1% of my working hours, so it’s not exactly a perfecr solution.


Japan has a lot of tech companies, and those companies have technical sales reps in other countries. If you’re working with large enough companies and clients, part of your job would be to accompany the customers from your country to Japan to complete sales. A translator is on hand, but your role is to understand the tech so well that misunderstandings can’t slip through, and smooth over cultural differences.

I was on the customer end of this which was great for eating more expensive foods in Japan than I’ll ever buy myself. Pros: The sales reps had a great deal if they enjoyed traveling. If you’re good at sales you’ll make good money. Cons: But the traveling is a lot and could be brutal if you’re not careful. They were also expected to take customers out in the evening for entertainment which could make you uncomfortable depending on, well, let’s just say what kind of situations that presents and how far you go along with it and identify with it. But I’m sure you can influence the choices or avoid it entirely if you’re aware and make up a good excuse.

Disclaimer up front that I’ve never seriously tried to get a job using Japanese, so this is very definitely second hand advice to take with a big pinch of salt. That said, I think this gets at a point I’ve heard elsewhere, which is that “English plus Japanese plus some specialism” is easier to find a job with than just “English plus Japanese”. After all, there are a lot of people out there who grew up bilingual. But not all of them have the tech expertise to do patent translation or the product knowledge to make the sales visit successful, or whatever it might be.

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hey i remember you from that vocaloid post i made! i, uh… don’t have any advice, sorry. but i think no matter what job you get, your passion is admirable!