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Languages Information and Culture

There is a wide variety of careers that involve working with languages, information and culture. They may be concerned with understanding and interpreting history, organising and providing information, using languages or researching different cultures.

  • Language work may, for example, involve helping people from different countries and cultures communicate by interpreting or translating one language into another.
  • Library and information science work may mean organising, storing and retrieving information so that users can access it quickly and easily.
  • Cultural work may involve discovering, researching, identifying and recording historical and artistic artefacts. Other relevant work includes preserving artefacts for future generations to enjoy, and interpreting and displaying them so that others can learn more about history and culture.

Some evening and weekend work may be necessary, especially for people providing information and facilities for the public. Part-time work is available in many job areas. Jobs are based in a wide range of settings, including offices, conference centres, workshops, public libraries, museums and historic buildings. Archaeologists may spend large amounts of time working outdoors.

Employers include local authorities, government departments, universities, publishing houses, heritage organisations, auction houses and businesses offering specialist services in these fields. Self-employment is possible in some jobs.

In England, approximately 50,000 people work in the cultural heritage sector, a further 50,000 in libraries, archives and information services, and there are approximately 7,000 professional linguists. There are opportunities throughout the UK, although competition for vacancies is often intense.

Many of the jobs in this sector require good communication skills. Research and organisational skills, patience and attention to detail are often important, as is an interest in culture and heritage. Some jobs require technical skills, such as ICT. Others may need practical skills, such as those needed in conservation work. Many require an in-depth knowledge of a particular subject; languages for example.

While many careers in these areas require specific qualifications at degree and postgraduate level, there may be some job opportunities open to people with no formal qualifications. However, as this is a highly competitive sector, qualifications such as GCSEs, A levels, Diplomas or equivalent may be an advantage.

On-the-job, in-house and external training may be available, as well as Apprenticeships.

There may be opportunities for continuing professional development or to study for professional qualifications. Work-related qualifications, such as NVQs, are available in some areas.

Not all careers in this area have formal promotion structures, but some organisations may offer suitable opportunities for experienced workers with relevant qualifications who are looking for more senior positions. For self-employed people, progression depends on their business development skills. In some careers it may be possible to work overseas.

Why not have a look at other career family articles as they may hold information on related jobs.

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