7 Languages That Will Make You Big Bucks

While English is the most widely used international language for business, academia and tourism, being a monolingual, native-speaker of English will actually put you at a serious disadvantage during your job search. English just won’t cut the mustard anymore!

The world and its businesses and industries are more tightly-connected than ever before, and successful businesspeople must be able to cross different cultures as well as different languages. Not only does knowing a second language provide many cognitive benefits, such as better brain function and decreased risk of Alzheimer’s, but it will give you a competitive edge over other applicants going for the same job. Learn one of these seven recommended languages, and start counting the dollars (or euros, pesos, yen…)

1. Mandarin — With the world’s second-largest economy and nearly one billion native speakers, knowing Mandarin will grant you tons of amazing opportunities in China and other Asian countries. It’s also one of the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn, which should raise a few eyebrows in a job interview or at a party.

2. Arabic — There are over 300 million Arabic speakers in the world, and this is definitely an “essential” language if you’re in the petroleum or defense industries. With a combined GDP of $600 billion in the Arab world, mastering this in-demand language will make your resume in-demand as well.

3. French – It’s not surprising that French is the language of love, but it’s often overlooked as a useful business language. But why would it be? French was the world’s most dominant language before English stole the spotlight. It’s spoken in over 40 countries in the world, including two G8 countries, and it’s one of the most common languages found on the Internet, only second to English. If you’re hoping to break into the European markets, say “oui” to French!

4. Spanish – Spanish has just as many native speakers as Arabic, but it’s also the official language in over 20 countries, which makes it suitable for international and domestic business in the US. It’s one of the more popular languages studied in American universities and one of the easiest, too. If you want más money and business opportunities, consider Spanish as your next language learning endeavor.

5. Computer Programming Languages – Okay, so people don’t exactly talk to their computers (unless it crashes at the absolute worst time and you start screaming at it!), but knowing a couple of programming languages can certainly improve your marketability, especially if you want to work for the many startups blooming in Silicon Alley. Whether it’s HTML, Javascript, Perl or C++, they’re fairly easy to learn and you don’t have to worry about having an accent.

6. German – Unlike Mandarin, French, Arabic or Spanish, German is not an official U.N. language. However, it is an official language in three economic powerhouses in Europe. And while some may say it sounds harsh and gritty, it’s part of the same language family as English, so it has many striking similarities. Plus, Germany has a long history of art, literature…. and beer! Who says going corporate has to be a bad thing?

7. Japanese – Although it is considered a super difficult language to learn for native English speakers (it has three alphabet systems?!!), having working knowledge of Japanese is a must if you want to break into Asia’s cutting-edge robotics scene. With a long history of producing the world’s most innovative electronics, unique style of animation and endless literary and cinematic contributions, Japanese is where it’s at.

Thanks to the good folks at Online Business Degrees for sharing this content.

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6 thoughts on “7 Languages That Will Make You Big Bucks

  1. Bill Chapman says:

    Consider learning Esperanto. It won’t make you big bucks, but it will help you to establish contacts and make friends all over the world.

  2. Philippe says:

    What about Standard Hindi?. With “Globalization”, I would also suggest learning any language from the “BRIC” countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China)

  3. Sako B. says:

    Good news about Romance languages are that once you know one, especially a more difficult one like French, the others become a joke to learn. I was lucky enough to grow up as a second generation Armenian in an English and French speaking province (Quebec– And no, I don’t have a Quebecois accent:) ) thus, I found learning Spanish to be an absolute breeze. Just learn either Span/French/Italian/Romanian, and you will be able to learn all the others under 1 year.

  4. James says:

    I’m a professional translator, and when I was running the Michigan chapter of the American Translators Association, I looked around to see who was doing well and who was struggling. From the translator’s point of view, the most lucrative languages are those that cannot be outsourced to native speakers in low-wage countries, which would mean languages like German, Japanese and French.

    Also, don’t give your English short shrift, because, while much of the world knows English, the ability to write in perfect English is rare, and the skill can be worth a lot of money overseas.

    It also pays to learn to speak what some call “Globish”, which is English limited to about a 2,000-word vocabulary and with no complex sentences. Many foreign companies that claim they operate in English actually operate in “Globish”. In international business, you often need to be able to speak in the kind of reduced English that these people can understand — and make no mistake, sometimes that means the CFO of the whole worldwide company!

    A few years ago, I asked the head of a language training company which languages were most in demand for their employees, and she said the languages the companies most wanted their people to know were (1) Spanish and German tied for first place, (2) Japanese, (3) Chinese, (4) Portuguese.

    One thing the author of this blog post forgot to include is that French is useful because France is the world’s second largest agricultural exporter after the United States. They have plenty of diverse industry and lots of high tech.

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