Business

Spanish, Chinese, and ... Swedish? These languages can get you hired in Charlotte

People retraining for a new career who have an interest in foreign languages may want to consider studying another language to help them stand out in their job hunt.
People retraining for a new career who have an interest in foreign languages may want to consider studying another language to help them stand out in their job hunt. MCT

When it comes to the job search, there’s a popular opinion that speaking more than one language certainly can’t hurt.

And that seems to be the case especially in Charlotte, home to a global workforce.

A large number of foreign-owned firms call Charlotte home – more than 1,000 companies that employ 66,000-plus workers, according to a report from the Charlotte Chamber. Germany leads the way, with more than 200 firms employing more than 17,000.

Check out job-search sites Indeed and Glassdoor, for example, and you’ll see Charlotte-area openings for speakers of Polish, Swedish, German, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, French or Chinese.

French-owned firms offer employment opportunities in finance, engineering, hotel service, retail and more, according to Suzanne Marcoux of the foreign languages division at Central Piedmont Community College. Spanish speakers can find opportunities in banking and business, healthcare and social services, she said.

“Knowing a second language makes a candidate more competitive in our Charlotte global market,” Sylvia Nikopoulos, CPCC’s foreign languages division director, said via email.

Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau
Knowing more than one language is “an extra skill that makes you so much more valuable on the job market,” according to Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau, associate chair of language and culture studies at UNC Charlotte. Courtesy of UNC Charlotte

“If you have a language on your skill set, it just makes you more unusual,” said Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau, associate chair of language and culture studies at UNC Charlotte. It makes you stand out.”

Here’s a sampling of recent job postings:

From Glassdoor:

▪ English-Polish Interpreter for the Charlotte area for Waynesville, N.C.-based Verbatim Language Services.

▪ English-Spanish Medical Interpreter for Carolinas Medical Center’s Northpark location.

▪ Spanish Translator, Digital Translations support role, for Bank of America.

From Indeed.com:

▪ For the Patent Counsel position for Husqvarna Group: “Working knowledge of other languages is a plus but not in any way a requirement (e.g., Swedish, German, Japanese).”

▪ Bilingual Chinese/English, Management Trainee, Keer America Corporation in Fort Mill, S.C.

▪ Lecturer in Spanish at UNC Charlotte.

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