Bilingual Secretary Hours and Environment Skills and Interests by dfhercbml

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Bilingual Secretary Hours and Environment Skills and Interests

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									Bilingual Secretary
Organisations with branches or clients in other countries often use bilingual or multilingual
secretaries to help them communicate in other languages. The work can vary a lot depending on
the employer and job role, but foreign language duties might include:

      translating incoming mail
      writing letters, e-mails and reports in a foreign language
      translating or summarising articles from foreign journals
      using a second language on the phone, or face-to-face with visitors
      interpreting at meetings.

Some bilingual secretaries use languages on a daily basis, whilst others may need to use their
language skills only occasionally.

Bilingual secretaries also have administrative duties which can include:

      acting as personal assistant to a manager
      organising meetings, making appointments and keeping a diary
      arranging travel and accommodation for business trips
      general clerical tasks like filing and photocopying
      updating computer databases
      basic accounting duties.

Hours and Environment
Bilingual secretaries usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. They may sometiomes need
to work at other times because of time differences between countries. Part-time work and job
sharing may be available.

Work is usually office-based. Some travel abroad may be required.

Skills and Interests
To be a bilingual secretary you must:

      have excellent spoken and written communication skills in English
      have reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in one or more foreign languages

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      be well-organised and efficient
      have good computer and keyboard skills
      work accurately and pay attention to detail
      be able to prioritise work and meet deadlines
      be able to work on your own initiative and also as part of team
      be discreet when working with confidential material.

Entry
You will need secretarial skills, a good general education, and you must be reasonably fluent in
at least one foreign language.

There are no set entry qualifications, but most bilingual secretaries have at least A
levels/Highers or equivalent qualifications a language, unless the language is their native tongue
or they have become fluent by living abroad. Employers may ask for some GCSEs (A-C)/S
grades (1-3) including English.

Many bilingual secretaries have a language degree. To enter a degree course you will usually
need at least five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) plus two A levels/three Highers or equivalent. For
a language degree, at least one A level/Higher should be in a foreign language. An Access to
Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. Please check
with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.

Some degrees combine foreign languages with business studies. However, language degrees do
not always cover business language skills, so you may need to improve your practical skills with
a postgraduate diploma or other further study in business or technical language skills.

You may find it useful to take a secretarial qualification before looking for work. Colleges offer
a wide range of full- and part-time courses. See the Secretary and Personal Assistant profiles
for more details about general secretarial qualifications.

The languages most in demand in business are French, German and Spanish, but you could also
earn a high salary with other languages like Russian, Arabic or far eastern languages. Bilin gual
Welsh/English speakers are in demand in Wales.




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Training
There are several courses which can improve business language skills, such as the
following qualifications from OCR:

      Entry Level Certificates in Business Language Competence for French, German, Italian,
       Japanese, Russian and Spanish
      Level 1, 2 and 3 Certificates in Business Language Competence for French, German,
       Italian or Spanish.

There are NVQ/SVQ Language Units for Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing at levels 1 -
4. Languages currently available are French, German, Italian, Spanish, Welsh, Irish and Arabic.

Many universities, further education colleges and private training companies offer short courses
in various languages for business.

Opportunities
Bilingual secretaries can work in all kinds of industries and companies, such as:

      multinational companies
      import/export companies
      banks and insurance companies
      freight companies
      the travel industry
      international law firms
      the Diplomatic Service.

There is a growing demand for workers with foreign language skills in all sectors. There are
often opportunities to work abroad - this can build up experience and fluency.

In large organisations, bilingual secretaries could be promoted to personal assistant and to a
senior executive level. Gaining more qualifications and learning further languages can increase
promotion prospects.

Bilingual secretaries could also move into sales and marketing, translation or office management.




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Annual Income
Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Bilingual secretaries could start on around £15,000 a year.
Experienced secretaries could earn around £18,000 to £25,000 a year.
An experienced bilingual personal assistant with a large international organisation could earn up
to £35,000 a year.

Further information
National Centre for Languages (CILT)
20 Bedfordbury
London
WC2N 4LB
Tel: 020 7379 5101
http://www.cilt.org.uk

OCR Information Bureau
Tel: 024 7685 1509
http://www.ocr.org.uk



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