2012 and Languages: How can the Olympics work for you?

2012 and Languages: How can the Olympics work for you? Olympic Cupcake by clevercupcakes

This article was written by Chloe Hibbert, published on 22nd March 2010 and has been read 12509 times.

With so many people arriving from across the globe in 2012, we will be shaken out of our complacent notion that the only language we need to speak is English. The two official languages of the Olympic movement are English and French, but games have recently become more multilingual. Language skills will therefore be vital for the Olympic Games. The good news is that they'll be recruiting in two years time - those of you studying languages right now will be precisely the kind of people they'll be on the look out for in 2012.
Even if you have not graduated by 2012, language students can still be called upon to volunteer before, during and after the Olympics, for everything from car parking to working in the media. If you fancy working at the Games, why not apply to be one of the stewards or marshalls? As a marshall you will have to direct spectators and athletes from place to place, and make sure everyone is where they should be. Language skills will help mediate stressful situations, especially in a competitive multinational crowd. As a volunteer you will gain invaluable insight into a wide range of jobs, and will make useful contacts for the future (not to mention a lot of friends in the process).
Check out London2012.com to see a full range of volunteering opportunities.

London 2012 Olympic logoInterpreters and translators
Interpreters and translators will be in high demand for the Olympic Games. Before 2012, translators will be required to revise and update official documentation, sports glossaries and rule books. During the Olympics, linguists will be needed to communicate with the International Olympic Committee, the press, and even the athletes themselves. Language expertise will also be essential for press conferences, live updates and ceremonies. Multi-linguists are already being called upon to assist in the international sailing events in Dorset, so make sure you check this out if this sounds up your street. 

The London Underground has expressed interest in transport workers with language and cultural skills. GoSkills, the Sector Skills Council for Passenger Transport, predicts that language training should begin in advance of the Olympics, to cater for the rise in international customers. If you fancy gaining experience in customer services, this might be an option for you.

The government tourist strategy for 2012 states that training in foreign languages will have to be given to improve customer service skills, and People 1st are already highlighting the demand for employees with more than one language. Therefore, as a language student, you will immediately be a leg above the rest if you decide to apply for something in the tourism sector. Hundreds of companies in tourism will already be preparing for the upcoming Games, and they will benefit from employees with foreign language skills. A second language can also help you in retail, as communicating with foreign customers will add a personal touch to customer service. If you fancy being a tour guide, your language skills will be very useful when showing foreign visitors around London. Working as an information advisor in a visitor centre is another opportunity to put those languages to good use. And you never know, you might just find your career calling in tourism...

Other options
If you don't want to get directly involved in the Games, you should remember that many businesses supporting the Olympics will be searching for linguists to help with any communication problems that may arise. The public sector (emergency services, police, security) and professionals (lawyers, caterers) will all be looking for employees with language skills to benefit them in 2012. Have a look at the list of sponsors to see if any might suit your career aspirations.

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