When we came across this story at Euro London, we couldn’t help but read on. A British student winning the French X Factor?! It sounds absurd, but Matthew Raymond-Barker touched the European nation’s hearts with his renditions of pop classics in the native language. Although admitting being less than perfect at the language when he arrived in the country, with the X Factor winner’s crown at stake Matthew quickly found his fluency with French.
The story is a perfect example of how language learning can open up opportunities that you may never have dreamt possible. Ok, this is a rather exceptional example but nonetheless illustrates that you do not need to let language be a barrier to your ambitions.
Learning a language may just be the X Factor you need to find your dream job!
The future of policing?
Ever had your purse pinched? Well fear not, the police’s latest weapon in the fight against crime is here: the bilingual officer. The recruitment of overseas officers is a police initiative set up to crack down on foreign gangs, many of whom target the Westfield shopping centre.
French-speaking officers have been used in an undercover operation to infiltrate an Algerian gang. Although this may read like a James Bond script, the use of bilingual policemen has led to the arrest of ten individuals responsible for theft.
Inspector Dan Stobbart claims that such measures are necessary to tackle the growing number of foreign gangs in the area, especially at a time when the police are experiencing Government cuts.
Only time will tell whether this is an effective and sustainable approach to policing gangs, however, in the mean time foreign criminals better watch out for those who may be listening in…
We recently featured in an article in the Guardian discussing how learning a new language can really boost your career and that it is never too late to learn. To see the article and our comments in full click here. But here’s a summary of the piece:
- Speaking to people in their own language for business purposes will yield results; people are far more likely to speak freely and openly if you are speaking in their own language
- In jobs in sales, marketing or technical support, languages can really open doors. In fact it is estimated that having an additional language on your CV can add between 10% to 15% to your salary.
- For those looking to boost a career, and in particular the graduates that are currently facing a tough time getting work, learning a language is very beneficial.
- Most countries may speak English, and whilst some business may very well be completed in English to accommodate parties from across the globe, if you are seen to know a language and demonstrate this it can help to retain business. It is form of courtesy to show someone you can and are willing to speak to them in the native language.
- Cultural knowledge is just as important as being able to speak another language. If you know the way of life of the country you are doing business in or with it will really prove beneficial.
- The five most useful languages to learn currently are as follows: French, Spanish, Swedish, German and Russian.
What’s your experience? Can you relate with the points in this article or are you thinking about learning a language to boost your career? Let us know!
If someone phoned you or your organisation asking for information in a foreign language what would you do? Would you be able to communicate with them? The Times recently featured an article titled ‘Parlez vous any other language at all?’. The article followed up a study they carried out whereby they phoned several public service bodies and asked varying questions in several different languages. The aim we suppose was to see how well front line staff could cope when faced with unpredictable situations.
Whilst the article was funny it was shocking to see how many organisations do not have staff equipped with basic language skills. The first example was with NHS Direct – the Times phoned them up asking for information on free bottom transplants on the NHS in Brazilian Portuguese! An odd topic some might say but it was clearly designed to show that it doesn’t matter what you might be asking for – the reality is you probably won’t get very far! As so it was true – NHS Direct couldn’t understand and rather than try and find someone that did or try and say I don’t understand the person on the other end of the phone just repeated what he/she was saying louder and louder (in English of course!) before slamming the phone down! You would think that the NHS might have some staff with foreign language skills – not the case here! Continue reading