Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Modern Foreign Language


A New York City taxi driver loses a fare because he does not know Spanish. A corporate president waits in silence while an interpreter closes a deal with important Japanese investors. A nurse in Maine cannot diagnose a complaint because the patient is French-Canadian. A government scientist learns about the latest breakthrough in solar energy a full year after it happened, because the news first came out in Russian. All of these people could do their work better if they knew a foreign language, yet none of their jobs would seem to require a language.

The connection between foreign languages and jobs may not be obvious to people who assume that foreign languages are used only by interpreters, translators, or foreign language teachers. But if a job applicant has another skill--almost any other "marketable" skill--plus a foreign language, his or her chances of finding an interesting job are good, and often a lot better than for someone who does not have any language skills at all. Today's job market is difficult. Employers can afford to be highly selective, and an extra skill often makes the difference. A good engineer who speaks German is more likely to be hired by a Swiss firm's American branch than an engineer with equivalent qualifications who speaks nothing but English.