Podcast Episode 42: Could Language Make You Money?

language money

Today's episode returns to the topic of making money with languages. We ask if that's something you should be doing and how it can work.

In this episode, you get a look behind the scenes of our own careers, the jobs we've had and those that may be yet to come. All I'm saying is "flower lab!" 🌷

Three Reasons You Should Work With Languages

1) If you love it and you're passionate, it's a great way to bring excitement to your work
2) Working with languages will make you better at languages
3) You get to make great new connections with other speakers of your language

Our sponsor for this episode is Lindsay's new course, the Online Teaching Starter Kit. It's a complete guide to becoming an online teacher in five different parts. Check it out at www.fluentlanguage.co.uk/otsk.

Modern Languages students often look at the list of "related jobs" for their degree and ask "Is that all?!"

What you will hear:

  • What does it really mean to have a passion for something?
  • You're not meant to be good enough (not perfect) at languages when you go for a job interview
  • The disappointing list of "jobs related to a Modern Languages degree" on a leading careers website
  • The weird and wonderful list of "jobs where your Modern Languages degree would be useful"on the same website
  • How to bring languages into your career without applying for a new job
  • Our stories from applying for and working in the following jobs: translator, tutor, interpreter, teaching assistant, video game tester, export sales assistant, international recruitment manager
  • Why we work online and for ourselves, but we're not digital nomads
  • How to get started as an online tutor in particular, and the fantastic concept of timeboxing

"Self employment is self improvement." (Lindsay does soundbites)

Links From This Episode

Podcast Episode 26: Language Careers, Language Events, Language Inspiration

In this episode, Lindsay and Kerstin discuss a good bunch of topics around the topic of language learning in person.

This episode is brought to you with support from Other Cats to Whip, a cute French book that you can buy for 10% off using the code FLUENT.

  • What was language learning like before the internet?
  • What’s so great about an event like the Language Show?
  • Our ideas for Langathon and Language Speed Dating
  • Language and Careers: What’s out there beyond Teaching and Translating?
  • Lindsay’s passionate explanation of “Primary Languages” in the UK, and how to instil a language passion for life in younger learners
  • Our appreciation of multilingual actors and subtitles in TV and movies

Our podcast also featured a short interview with Dan McIntyre from the University of Huddersfield and our discussion around what fluency involved.

Tip of the Week

Lindsay chose Tip 2 as the winning tip for this episode and added more great ideas on how you can present to people, even when they are not learning your language.

1) Draw a trilingual vocab chart to practice vocab divergence

2) Prepare a presentation for your tutor or buddy

3) Swipe in two languages using the Swiftkey Keyboard app

Links and Interesting Stuff from This Show

Language Learning Events around the World

Language Show Live

Polyglot Gathering

Polyglot Conference

Polyglot Workshops

Creative Language Learning Podcast 26 language show

Language Show Live: What's New In Language Learning?

Last weekend I made my way down to Southern England to hang out with Lindsay and visit the Language Show Live in big London. Lindsay and I visited the big exhibition and ran into a whole bunch of other language bloggers, friends and people from the language learning world. If you couldn't make it, here are my impressions of the show.

language showlive

What is it?

The Language Show Live is Britain's biggest language-focused event, a sort of trade show about all things language with talks and taster sessions mixed in. It's held at the Olympia in London (such a stunning venue!).

Who was there?

language show live recap

The first stand I headed to was one entitled Welsh for Adults (exciting!), where I met a few wonderful people from Aberystwyth and Bangor who introduced me to the Learn Cymraeg app. At this stand, we learnt that the word “penguin” in English actually comes from Welsh (pen means “head” and “gwyn” means white).

Stand-out stands (hah!) for adult learners were our friends at Flashsticks and HelloTalk, along with Bien-Dire whose magazine I’ve reviewed here on the blog.

We got to take a close-up look at Linguisticator’s absolutely beautiful language maps, printed on light fabric and displaying an entire language’s grammar, essential vocab and rules. They’re a great thing to behold, so good-looking in fact that Lindsay was excited and wanted to put one up over her sofa. You can buy these from their online shop - the German map is here.

And my highlight of the exhibition was the discovery of Babel and Lingo Magazines. These magazines are not about language learning and other languages, they’re about linguistics. It’s my favourite academic topic, and I have never seen such a fantastic approach to writing about linguistics for a non-academic audience. In other words: This is a flipping interesting magazine!

Careers in Languages

The walk around the recruitment section is motivating and surprising each year. I met representatives of BAE Systems, SC Johnson, the British Army and the European Union. They all have standing vacancies for language graduates and represented the careers that are open to you very well. There was even a CV clinic so you could have your CV polished to perfection to get all those multilingual vacancies.

The Language Show Website has more information and a full list of all exhibitors for you.


Only one place to go after all that: THE PUB! Lindsay and I got ready for our little language learners’ meet-up. We were joined by Sionaid from Perfect English Grammar, Angelika from Angelika's German (get to know all about Angelika on Podcast Ep 15), Gareth from How to Get Fluent and Emma the Incidental Langauge Learner. It’s a great pleasure to be able to meet the people I see through Twitter all year long and I really hope that you can make it too next year.

At one point during our meet-up, one of England’s happiest families bounded through the door, greeting us all with lots of joy. They were Lingotastic, a UK-based company working on teaching languages to parents who have very young children. What a joyful bunch, check them out!

More For Adult Learners

Sadly, the neglected bunch were the group of adult language learners in the UK. There are a few courses that look really interesting, but most of them require a lot of travel, either to London or to in-country classes. It was very obvious that Welsh really stands out here as a government-backed initiative with affordable courses and universities offering free apps. Good on them!

If adult courses aren’t so popular anymore, then online study is proving the solution to our problems - are language classes dying for adult learners? What do you think?

In Conclusion

The Language Show Live was a great event as ever. I always love seeing the many products and new ideas out there. Creativity is definitely not dead in language learning and I saw some amazing products to put on my Christmas list. And as an online tutor, it's so awesome to see all the products out there for the classroom and for groups of kids.

The language diversity wasn't as big as last year, when compulsory languages had just been introduced in primary schools. This event was mostly aimed at the everyday language teaching world in schools, and the language diversity reflected that. Lots of Spanish and French, some Chinese, surprisingly little German, and a tiny but visible presence for Russian, Welsh, BSL, and Arabic.

Were you there?

Did you come to London this time? Have you been to the Language Show before? I'd love to hear what you enjoyed the most and which talks you attended.

Next year, the exhibition is coming up to Scotland for the first time.

New Podcast Episode: Chilled out Success with Language Surfer Ron Gullekson

““Languages are ultimately designed to bring people together.””

This episode of the Creative Language Learning Podcast is brought to you by Flashsticks - use code KERSTIN for 10% off vocabulary aids in French, German, Italian, Spanish or BSL.


Welcome to episode 19 of the Creative Language Learning Podcast, featuring a current article of the week and an inspiring interview with one of my favourite language bloggers: Ron Gullekson from Language Surfer. His relaxed language learning attitude will make you so comfortable. 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why Ron's blog is called Language Surfer
  • How formal language learners all know what "drawing a line down the middle" means :)
  • How Ron structures his on curriculum for language learning
  • Which level of language learning you might be at if you studied Arabic for 8 hours a day..for 64 weeks!
  • Free listening, and how soon you can start doing this in your own study routine
  • How to create your organic SRS system
"I want to get used to the idea of being lost as soon as possible."

Tips of the Week

I had secretly expected Ron to choose tip 3 as a music fan, but his own choice was tip 1: Get out and talk to people.

1) Meet up in conversation groups offline

2) Find local podcasts by switching itunes to the country's store

3) Learn with music on Spotify

Tips and Links from this Podcast

If you loved this podcast episode, don't forget to check out the other episodes in the Archive and visit our sponsor Flashsticks to use your KERSTIN10 coupon code.

Podcast Episode 17: Discover a Travel-Loving Lifestyle with Gabby Wallace

In this episode, I giggle my way through a football reporter’s discovery that German is a useful language - live! You will also hear my interview with Gabby Wallace, a friendly and experienced teacher who has made the whole world her office.

gabby wallace

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Where in the USA they still had a queen in the 1950s

  • Why Discipline and Sharing are the two most important techniques in language learning

  • How to combine the best of Japanese learning traditions with the best of the American classroom

  • How real language learners improve through videos

  • And best of all: How to become location independent, and how to have an immersion trip

  • How I flounder when I’m actually asked to explain Memrise

“The bottom line: It always comes down to motivation.”

— Gabby

Article of the week

Tips of the Week

As our video girl, Gabby didn’t hesitate to choose tip 3 for this episode, so go ahead and try it out.

1) Try some gist reading: Skim through an article quickly and try to get the gist

2) Bulk add your excel or word lists to Memrise

3) Get smarter about video with Yabla

Tips and Links from this Podcast

Support the Creative Language Learning Podcast on Patreon and I’ll send you a nice card.

Gabby Wallace

Laptop Teacher

Go Natural English

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix - they have subtitles and audio in German, French, Spanish and Portuguese

Jeremy Ginsburg teaching Vietnamese on Youtube

Please don't forget to head over to the Flashsticks Sponsor Page to support this podcast.

A Glimpse into the Translation Industry

Today we have a guest post from Aniello. Aniello comes from Pagani, Italy, and now works as a professional translator and project manager at London based for translation agency Language Reach. He speaks fluent Italian, English, German, French and aims to learn Swedish in the near future.

His guest post is about a topic really close to my heart: Careers in the Language Industry!


As a seasoned translation wizard, I’ve seen a lot. In fact I think I could possibly write a manual in English, title it ‘all things translations’ and translate it into my native Language (Italian). This spur- of- the-moment brainwave probably shouldn’t have been mentioned! Nevertheless, as I commence writing this enlightening blog post, my mind activates numerous thoughts. Subconsciously, I begin by exploring the translation and language industry, its advantages, disadvantages and lastly the changes and trends of living and working in this growing culture pot.

Working as a translator

I was always interested in languages and began my career in the translation industry. Prior to my current job I worked as a freelance translator and after a number of years, changed my career and moved on to working as an account manager for a London based translation agency, Language Reach.

For many, the idea of working in the translation industry is often a daunting one, perhaps because of clichéd hearsay. But as glad as I am to have experienced the translation industry first hand, I certainly didn’t wake up one morning thinking “how about a career in the translation industry.” Like many, I was tired of being stuck in a mind-numbing job, so when plan ‘A’ didn’t go accordingly plan ‘B’ became the next best thing.

I was sceptical at first which seemed perfectly normal. More than anything I was really sold on the idea of working when it suited me best and while having the benefit of earning a reasonable wage. It was only a matter of time before I began exploring my options and soon after, I took a risk which in effect was a risk worth taking.

What industries need languages?

Language Reach has noticed a real growth in the language services industry in recent years. The most obvious factor is growth of the internet, which has prompted interaction on a whole new level. In fact, now more than ever we are networking with people in all parts of the world. The internet has made interaction simpler and has in effect made global business more accessible.

But which industries utilise language services?

  • The legal sector
  • The medical sector
  • The financial sector
  • The technical sector

In March 2013, the Ministry of Justice disclosed data highlighting the growing demand of language services in courts and tribunals. The study which was recorded from January 2012 until January 2013 indicated that there were 131,153 requests for language services covering 259 different languages. This figure demonstrated the real demand for linguists in the legal sector.

Although the above figures seems promising, the growing market here in the UK is proving very competitive in many other sectors. Here are a few reasons for a rise in competition:

  • More Europeans are better prepared to work in foreign languages which shows that proficiency in languages such as English and French is becoming widespread. This means that more and more people are better suited in the translation industry.
  • The development of modern technology, computer stimulated language tools and vocabulary resources could be triggering potential threat.

A recent report shows that 55% of all online content is in English but only 27% of users speak English. In Russia, 6% of content is in Russian whereas 3% of users speak the language. The latter figure shows an overall balance, in contrast to the amount of content available for English speaking recipients which is widely imbalanced.

Freelance VS employment

Not all speculation is untrue, in fact for the most part translators work as freelancers and for agencies. A recent report, which you can find here, shows that the number of freelance workers has increased from 1.39 million to 1.56 million which shows a rise of 12 %. But working as a freelance translator or interpreter isn’t as easy as it may seem, in fact such roles require time management and being able to build a brand around the services you have to offer.

Other translators choose to take the opposite route of employment. Translators generally work in-house for a solicitor or even for a bigger company such as Amazon. Working as an employed translator proposes a greater chance of stability, which can be a major factor influencing decision making, not only in the translation industry, but as many of you probably know, also any other field.

Demand for languages in the UK

There is a growing demand of many language services here in the UK, with European languages unsurprisingly remaining the most popular. A very interesting infographic prepared by the Business Insider shows the second languages of countries across the globe. The graph proves very effective and foreseeably reveals that English is the most popular second language and with French coming in second.

[Note from the editor: The infographic is very large, so I do advise you click here to view it in its full glory.]

You can see there's real demand for language translation and interpretation for businesses in Britain, and certainly we notice that at our agency. Interestingly, I have also noticed a growing trend for African languages such as Amharic and Swahili, resulting in many translation agencies such as ours seeking African speaking translators. But more than anything, what the infographics have presented is the occurrence of languages developing outside of their native country, proving that globalisation is still at its best and so is the need for translation services, which makes today a really exciting and busy time to be a part of the industry! 

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent - The Language Learning Blog. Don't forget - if you sign up to our newsletter, you will receive a free Guide to the Best Language Learning Resources!

What's the bigger world language - Mandarin Chinese or English? by Teddy Nee

In today's blog article, I'm proud to share a personal account from the other side of the world. Teddy Nee is from Indonesia, studies in Taiwan and has high ambitions to be speaking 6 languages: Fujianese, Indonesian, English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and Esperanto. Teddy says on his website that learning languages mostly requires discipline and commitment, and in his article today he'll talk more about how English and Mandarin compare.

English and Mandarin from Personal Experience

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “English”? You may recognize it as an international language.

What will you think about “Mandarin”? Is it the second international language?

International Languages

Mandarin has the world’s most speakers, followed by English. Nevertheless, most of the resources
on the Internet utilize English as the content language. W3Techs conducted a survey and showed that more than 55% of websites use English. Moreover, about half of research journal publications in the world use English.

English has also been the most utilized foreign language for international events – conferences, business meetings, etc. The number of English as foreign language speakers has surpassed 700 million people.

English and Mandarin rank top two of the list of international languages – most spoken and most utilized. The importance of English and the recent popularity of Mandarin have made both of them the most highly demanded second languages.

The Benefit of English and Mandarin

I came to Taiwan to pursue my study in Applied Computing at the International College of Ming Chuan University in 2008. After my graduation in 2012, I received a scholarship to pursue IMBA studies in the international program at National Taipei University of Technology, Taiwan.

Having the opportunity to study in these international programs, I noticed that students from around the world use English as the common language. However, Chinese students and students of Chinese ancestry (also known as “overseas Chinese”) will tend to use Mandarin in communicating among one another although Mandarin may be their second language. They mainly come from Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Macau. Thus, knowing both English and Mandarin would give you the highest chance to socialize with people of different language backgrounds. Understanding the culture is also important because it complements the socializing manner.

Furthermore, numerous companies have made English and/or Mandarin ability one of their employment requirements. Therefore, knowing them absolutely makes the job seekers, including me, more competitive in the job market.

Personal Learning Experience

I have learned English for more than 10 years at school, just like most of the students around the world. I love reading very much and it is one of my language learning methods. One of my favorite English magazines while I was in school was Reader’s Digest.

Reader’s Digest covers a wide variety of topics, including jokes and games.

Mandarin shares similarity with the Minnan language that I speak as one of my native languages. Thus, speaking Mandarin has been easier than writing or reading. Mandarin has been the compulsory subject of foreign language in the school that I attended while I was in the third year of junior high school.

I also took a summer Mandarin course at National Taiwan Normal University in 2011. You can find numerous resources on the Internet about Simplified Chinese (Mainland China) and Traditional Chinese (Taiwan). Apart from using the learning materials that I found on the Internet, I also practice by reading Chinese articles on websites.


The speaker of English and Mandarin definitely get an abundance of advantages. The difficulty and ease of learning them depend on the learners’ language background. Discipline with the language-learning schedule and commitment to learning the language form two most important principles in my language learning.

Note from Kerstin

Hope you enjoyed today's guest post from Teddy - you should absolutely go over to his blog and check out the wealth of free resources he shares over there: neeslanguageblog.com.

I love how Teddy cites reading as one of his favourite things to do in a foreign language, and hadn't even thought of Reader's Digest as a resource for it. Is there a version in the language that you are learning?