Mastering languages such as German and French means higher pay and visits abroad

“Parken verboten was written on the board,” Suresh argued with the traffic police. “Yes, it means parking forbidden,” replied the cop with a smile on his face, leaving Suresh dumbfounded. He had no option but to pay a hefty penalty. This happened as he misunderstood the sign board, owing to his poor knowledge of the German language.

This is just an example of what happens in a foreign land when one has no clear knowledge of the local language.

Though the importance of mastering foreign languages is not so well acknowledged, there is a growing need for translators in multinational companies. And employees with a knowledge of foreign languages are guaranteed extra pay. Sumana Arun Kumar has been working for Swiss Reinsurance Company for the last five years. She has been given an additional salary package and opportunities owing to her fluency in French. She visited Switzerland four times in the last five years on official trips. “My knowledge of French has given me global exposure, besides a greater opportunity to learn and grow in different cultures,” she says.

Several students of Bangalore who are about to head to France for specialised courses had enrolled for French classes so that their communication is not handicapped. The students had realised that though the courses are offered in English medium, the locals may not know English, putting them at a disadvantage.

“Generally, the students are informed before time about the level of language knowledge they require, so that they have enough time to learn,” says Vidya Suresh, counsellor for Campus France, Bangalore office. According to her, knowing local language is an added advantage.

No barrier

Whereas Rajkumar Ranadev Singh, a candidate at the Goethe Institute, who learns German for fun, says “Someone who craves for knowledge should not be let down by the language barrier. After all, the world is your oyster. When there is so much to learn, why should one be constricted within the boundaries of one culture?”

Bangalore University is trying to meet the demand for foreign language courses. It has now introduced two new courses — Russian and Finnish. Already, the University’s Department of Foreign Languages is offering courses in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and Korean.

Jyothi Venkatesh, Head of the French Department, says the response has definitely increased of late. “But, a little more awareness is needed.”

The University receives application from all age groups and professions, varying from a Pre-University passed student to corporates and engineers, as the eligibility is II PUC pass certificate. The courses are offered four days a week, Monday to Friday between 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The tuition fees varies from Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 6,000, depending on the level of language applied. Alliance Francaise and Goethe Institute are also leading foreign language institutes.

For more details, contact Bangalore University at 22961280, Alliance Francaise: 41231340, 41231344, 4123145; and Goethe Institute: 25205205, 25205206, 25205207, 25205208.