Knowledge of a language is vital in some specialist areas of the information, heritage and culture sector...
For example, if you work as a subject specialist for modern languages in an academic library or in the regional department of a museum. Otherwise, opportunities to use your languages are limited. You therefore need to do careful research to discover roles which would use your language skills frequently.
If your first degree is not in the field of librarianship or information management, you will need a postgraduate diploma for entry into this profession.
Librarians and information managers work in all sectors including public, academic, scientific, government departments, business, charity, law, schools and more. Throughout all these sectors, language competence can be useful in cataloguing and assessing foreign language materials and in helping users who do not speak English or do not speak it well. It also increases opportunities to work abroad in all sectors and to volunteer for work in developing countries.
Information scientists research and exploit information, so language skills enable them to uncover a greater wealth of resources. For more detailed information, see academic librarian, public librarian and information officer.
Major museums, such as the British Museum, have regional departments including Oriental, Western European, and more, where appropriate languages can be important. The Imperial War Museum and other military museums like some recruits to speak German, French, Italian or Japanese. Provincial museums, however, seldom have language requirements.
Museums run all kinds of education programmes and languages can sometimes be useful here, or for arranging to take exhibitions abroad or bringing exhibits to the UK. Museum knowledge and skills would always be essential for the limited and competitive opportunities available and many recruits hold postgraduate qualifications. See heritage manager and museum education officer.
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