Why Being Able to Speak Spanish Will Get You Far
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, with about 460 million people living in 31 countries speaking it as their first language. Ethnologue says that about 42.7 million people in Spain are L1 (first language speakers) of Spanish and across Spain, a total of 46.4 million are Spanish speakers. Worldwide, 534.3 million speak the language.
Some Interesting Things about the Spanish Language
Spanish is of worldwide importance in many aspects, since it is an old language that used to be the main language used for diplomacy in the early days. Spanish speakers are very protective of their language. In fact, it is one of the few languages that have a governing body that determines its use officially. The Madrid-based Royal Spanish Academy regulates the language in the various language schools in Spanish-speaking countries. It has been doing so since the 18th century.
Although Spanish came from one source, it has several nuances that are different from one another based on the location where the language is spoken. The differences can be discerned when you hear speakers from Spain and Latin America, as the type of Spanish they speak was affected by how their version evolved. The Iberian Peninsula for example, was conquered by the Arabs in 711, thus many Arabic words are now included in the Spanish vocabulary.
If you are thinking of learning Spanish, the one you must learn is Castilian. If you are visiting Spain, the language may be referred to as Castellano or Español. You might also encounter Catalan, especially if you are in Catalonia where Barcelona is located. Catalan is a distinct language, just as Basque and Galician are. Catalan is much more similar to Provençal in France, so it is not mutually intelligible with Spanish.
Why the Spanish Language Still Matters Today
While some people and even entire nations believe that you can get by in the globalized society and industry with English, which is still the main language of business, speaking and understanding Spanish is still considered an exceptional skill. Why? Because it increases your employability.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in 2017 reached 58.9 million, representing 18.1 percent of the total U.S. population.
In fact, several industries need a multilingual workforce and Spanish is one of the top languages needed. If you live in the United States, you'll find that several industries require Spanish-speaking employees. Surprising as it is since people in the U.S. primarily speak English, one cannot deny the fact that the Hispanic population in the country is rising steadily. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in 2017 reached 58.9 million, representing 18.1 percent of the total U.S. population.
Because of this, almost all economic sectors need bilingual employees to accommodate and serve these demographics. International business with Spanish speaking countries is thriving, with the U.S. heavily trading with Mexico, Panama, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Industries Where Knowledge of Spanish is Vital
Even if you do not leave the United States, there are several industries where it is possible to find employment and where your ability to speak English and Spanish will be advantageous. Multilingual staff members promote better communication and understanding, not only among colleagues but business clients as well. Employment wise, here are some of the most viable industries where knowledge of Spanish can make a big difference.
Given that almost 59 million people in the United States speak Spanish, chances are most of the schools around the country have Hispanic students. If you are a teacher, your ability to speak Spanish will be beneficial. It's not only about becoming a Spanish language teacher, but there are several schools offering bilingual education, thus a Spanish speaking teacher is needed in the various schools offering bilingual programs.
2- Healthcare Services
You can work as a translator or interpreter. Healthcare is a major industry sector that can greatly benefit from the skills of Spanish speakers. With the increasing number of Hispanics in the U.S., what is lamentable is that many of them only have limited English speaking skills. It is one of the primary reasons why many older Hispanics often do not seek medical services or attention because of their inability to properly communicate with their healthcare providers.
Healthcare providers and institutions now require the provision of English translators and interpreters as the nation's language access program is strictly implemented. This ensures that patients and healthcare providers clearly understand each other during consultations and treatments. Many hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations employ bilingual staff as well, to ensure proper communication between colleagues and patients are facilitated.
In the U.S. it has become common for Spanish immigrants to have brushes with the law. Due to their limited English proficiency, it is difficult for them to understand how and why they broke the law. In many courts across the country, Spanish interpreters are the most requested. Many legal firms now seek Spanish speaking employees to extend their services to the Hispanic communities.
While Hispanics are seen as a minority in the U.S., they are considered a dominant minority. It is essential to understand that their spending power is sizeable. Since it is vital to reach them through a language they truly understand to gain their patronage, a job in marketing would be beneficial to you. There are many jobs in the marketing industry sector that are open to Spanish speakers. One option is to work in sales or advertising.
5- Finance and Banking
If this is your expertise, you will find it beneficial to seek employment in banks and various financial institutions. Spanish entrepreneurs and businessmen should be able to understand the banking system in the United States. You can explain to them in their own language how the investment process in the U.S. works, how to apply for loans and how to manage their investments and finances. It's essential for them to understand business insurance, contracts and other financial documents.
So many industries in the U.S. require staff members who are bilingual. The ability to speak Spanish is a very in-demand skill right now. So if you're an English-Spanish speaker, find the right industry that fits your capability and skills, to ensure success in your chosen career.