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Knowing Arabic Leads to Many Exciting Careers

posted on: Dec 26, 2018

By Amy Hensler/Arab America Contributing Writer 

Today, as many as 420 million people speak the Arabic language. It is the fifth most spoken language in the world, and many people have decided that learning this important language will help them in their careers. Knowing the Arabic language can help individuals succeed in many ways. Speaking Arabic allows you to connect with many diverse individuals that can open up the workforce surrounding the Arabic language.

Many people who pursue careers relating to the Arabic language go into translation. Arabic is a complex language to translate because it has two varieties: formal and spoken. To be a translator, one must know both the Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and the dialect or spoken varieties. For this reason, Arabic translators are sought after in both professional and personal settings. Arabic has over twelve million unique words in the language and numerous ways to say the same thing, so translators must be deeply knowledgeable in all forms of Arabic. Getting a correct translation is important for every single language, but especially in Arabic just due to its complex nature. It is for this reason that becoming an Arabic translator is a high paying job, with an average salary of $74,794 per year.

Another important field for those studying the Arabic language is government work. Various different national security sectors in the United States’ government look for intelligent and skilled Arabic translators and intelligence officers. This is because of the increased interest in the terrorism and counter-terrorism field of study. Arabic is an exceedingly important language that has proved itself useful to the U.S. government time and time again. Intelligence departments like the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are just two examples of careers you can pursue with Arabic. You can also get government jobs in the international community by knowing Arabic. For example, the United Nations provides many opportunities for those who know the Arabic language.

Along with jobs in the intelligence community, Arabic can lead you to jobs within the research world. Becoming a research analyst involves collecting and interpreting data that can lead to important discoveries and conclusions. Arabic is important in this career because the Middle East is a turbulent and constantly changing place that involves research to better understand. It is also important because knowing multiple languages can open an analyst up to many sources that can create a better and more well-rounded result.

Non-profit and humanitarian jobs are also opportunities that Arabic speakers can take. These jobs include working with private companies that aim to have more Arab representation and protection. Working in the non-profit sector is rewarding work because oftentimes it is done to help the lives of others. This can take the form of many different projects, and two examples would be working with the Arab American Institute and Islamic Relief. Unfortunately, there are many refugees in the Arab world, so humanitarian work has opened up sectors to help these people. This opens up opportunities for Arabic speaking people to find careers that don’t just pay the bills but also work to help rebuild communities.

Working in the media is also a career field that Arabic speakers can pursue. Many careers open up to Arabic speakers who want to be journalists because of the many newsworthy topics that come out of that region. Journalists who know Arabic can help break barriers in the media that traditionally paint Arabs in a negative light. By being able to speak to Arabs, journalists can open up media to a completely new source of people.

Lastly, those who know Arabic can teach others this useful language. Arab teachers have jobs that are constantly gratifying because they help students of all ages learn new languages. Arab teachers provide many with knowledge of Arab communities and cultures, which help break stereotypes surrounding the language.

Of course, there are many other jobs one can pursue Arabic. Jobs in the STEM and medicine fields are always open to people of multiple languages, and Arabic can be incorporated here as well. Arabic is a multi-faceted language that not only opens up careers but makes people ideal candidates for many positions. The work involved with Arabic is meaningful, important, and necessary in a world that continues to become interconnected.