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The Language Industry and Careers in the 21st Century: A Response to the Today Show

Wednesday, 31 October, 2012

ABC Today Show Airs Segment About Language Majors in the U.S. Job Market



The Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL), the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS), the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), and the Association of Language Companies (ALC) commend NBC and the Today Show on focusing on foreign language majors in Thursday's segment on the economy. The language services industry is vital to the 21st century, providing more than 200,000 full time jobs in the US, with $15b in direct economic activity, and leveraging $1.5 trillion in US trade, according to the Globalization and Localization Association. This industry has been growing at an average rate of 7.4% annually, well ahead of overall growth in the US economy. The language services industry, and the companies and government agencies it supports, depend on the American educational system to produce highly proficient, culturally literate professionals in more than 200 languages.


We respectfully suggest that Ms. Dierolf might well seek employment in this rapidly growing industry, which needs project managers, interpreters, and translators at every level of skill, and that such experience would help her prepare for the career goal she states, of being an interpreter at the United Nations. Moreover, the segment raises the question of how well Ms. Dierolf is prepared for the job market. In terms of language learning, expanding language learning in the early years and throughout the nation’s schools, providing meaningful opportunities to study abroad, and improving R&D in language would give students like Ms. Dierolf a better chance at attaining the professional levels of bilingualism and biliteracy required for the 21st century. Finally, the language enterprise in the US, which employs more than 500,000 Americans in the public and private sectors, needs to do a better job of raising awareness of the career opportunities and value of language in the 21st century.


The mission of JNCL-NCLIS is to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language, to advance the language profession in the US, and to raise awareness about the importance of language and international education to the national interest. We advocate to shape national policy for Foreign Language and international education and to raise the profile of the language enterprise. JNCL and NCLIS represent the language profession to the United States. As professional organizations in teaching, translation, interpreting, testing, research, and many other fields, we raise public awareness of language as an enterprise vital to national well being. The language enterprise employs 500,000 Americans who work to foster mutual understanding and who deserve continued public support. www.languagepolicy.org


About GALA
The Globalization and Localization Association is the largest global, non-profit trade association within the language industry, providing resources, education and research for companies working with translation services, language technology and content localization. GALA member companies are vendors and buyers of language services and technologies. They deploy sophisticated multilingual strategies and proven tools to take content and products to markets around the world. For more information, visit www.gala-global.org


About ALC
The Association of Language Companies (ALC) is the largest national trade association representing businesses that provide translation, interpretation, localization, and language training services. The ALC's mission is to promote the professional stature and economic position of its US-based member language companies through industry advocacy and professional development of language company owners and senior management. For more information, visit http://alcus.org


For more information:


William P. Rivers, Ph.D.
Executive Director
[email protected]


Hans Fenstermacher
Chief Executive Officer
Globalization and Localization Association
[email protected]


Craig Buckstein
Association of Language Companies
(212) 255-8400
[email protected]