The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page

Guten Tag (good day)! Danke (thank you)' Auf Wiedersehen (good bye). These are some of the well-known German words. The language as it is today, developed historically from West Germanic area and is spoken in modern Germany, Austria, part of Switzerland, etc.

German is the language of one of the most important countries within the European Union, an area of major economic as well as cultural significance. It is one of the top-ten languages in the world, spoken by approximately 98 million as their mother tongue and by approximately a further 40 million as a foreign or second language. German is also the major second language in many Eastern European countries, a market, which has become increasingly important since the fall of Communism. Access to German-speaking Europe ' politically, commercially and culturally ' depends on a good command over the German language.

What do i have to do'

The kind of job you get in this field depends entirely on how good your linguistic capabilities are. The degree of fluency in the language determines the range of options open to you. Teaching, interpreting and translating are some of the jobs open to those fluent in the language.

Translators transfer the meaning of written material such as correspondence, contracts, instructions, technical data, catalogues, sales literature, political documents and books from one language to another.

As a professional translator/interpreter you would require a thorough academic training in the language along with a good general education which would enable you to appreciate and understand writings on a variety of subjects. One has to be able to understand the subject and be able to translate/interpret clearly and lucidly, keeping in mind the idiomatic use of the original writing. The theme, mood, intention etc. of the original text should be faithfully reproduced without any bias or opinion from the translator/interpreter.

You may also work as a freelancer or with government departments on an ad hoc or permanent basis depending upon their requirements, or with agencies which handle different types of translating work. Generally, one's educational background determines what subjects one is entrusted with.

Travelling abroad is highly recommended to enable you to become familiar with the cultural environment of other languages. Additionally, you also benefit from reading magazines, advertisements, books and other material in that language.

What should i study'

For the diploma course, you need a Class XII certificate in any subject stream. However, for certain short courses there is no specific educational qualification required. For a masters degree in German, you should be a graduate with two-three years study in German. Learning German can be fun, fast, and uncomplicated. You can immerse yourself in German culture, self-correcting language exercises, and multimedia tools and games.

What are the prospects'

In today's world of rapid and effortless international communication, it is more important than ever that we understand each other's languages. Without foreign language competency, career prospects are limited.

There are varied opportunities for graduates with additional language skills seeking employment in the field of journalism, communication and public relations.

Translation of contracts, reports and other business documents has become a necessity with the entry of MNCs in India. Translators can expect to earn between Rs 300 and Rs 500 per page for common foreign languages such as French or German and up to Rs 750 per page for Japanese or Arabic. Languages like French and German command lesser rates than languages like Spanish, Chinese or Japanese.

You can get in touch with translation agencies, embassies, travel agencies, import-export firms, international corporations, international airlines and government agencies for translation work.

The Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre employs full-time and part-time translators for many languages.

Where can i study'

University of Calcutta, Senate House, 87 College Street, Calcutta 700073

Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Delhi.

CIEFL, Hyderabad

Max Mueller Bhavan, 3 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delh110001,

Indian Institute of Travel and Tourism Management, Jhansi Road, Gwalior 474002

Delhi University, Delhi 110007

University of Bombay, MG Road Fort, Mumbai 400032

Max Mueller Bhavan, 8 Pramathesh Barua Sarani, Calcutta 700019

University of Pune, Pune 411007

Benaras Hindu University, Varanasi


Teach: If you like to teach you could explore opportunities in schools, colleges and language institutes.

Translate: You could translate correspondence, contracts, technical data, catalogues, political doucuments from German to any other language.

Interpret: As an interpreter, you could work in embassies, travel agencies, international corporations, international agencies like the UN

Email This Page