In this ever-globalised world, knowing multiple foreign languages, especially in the UK, could be of tremendous advantage. The transferrable skills gained from studying languages can be applied to a variety of careers, giving you a great selection of potential jobs. If you are planning, or are already studying for a language-related degree at university, and are asking yourself “What can I do with a Modern Languages degree?”, keep reading.

10. Broadcast Journalist

What can i do with a modern language degree
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A career in journalism can be really rewarding, although you’re likely to have work unsociable hours and adhere to strict deadlines. As a broadcast journalist, you will be expected to pitch ideas to editors, write and research the news stories and conduct interviews. It’s great for those with another language up their sleeve as it gives you an edge. You can easily translate people’s stories or present in another language.


Depending on location, entry salaries are between £15,000 to £24,000, As experience increases, salaries will be in the range of £30,000 to £60,000. High-profile broadcast journalists can earn in excess of £80,000.


Journalism is open to all undergraduates, however, if you come from a non-journalist background, a post-graduate in journalism is required. Also, work experience is essential. One way the experience can be gained is through writing for the university newspapers and working on their radio and TV station. You can also contact Unifresher, if you’re a student interesting in volunteering and gaining great writing experience.

9. Diplomat

If you’re interested in foreign affairs and different cultures, this is the job for you. Although most diplomatic posts are based in London, you’ll be expected to travel…a lot! Therefore, knowledge of multiple languages is a huge benefit. Responsibilities include liaising with embassies, updating travel information, and – if you work abroad – you could be responsible for assessing visa applications.


Entry salaries are on average £28,000. After five years experience, salaries increase to £45,000.


The route to becoming a diplomat is through the Civil Service Fast Stream, specifically with the diplomatic service scheme. You must have graduated with at least a 2.2, be a British Citizen and have been a UK resident for at least two and a half years. Graduates of any subjects are welcome – but modern language degrees are a huge advantage.

8. Logistics and Distribution Manager

jobs with a modern languages degree
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Being a Logistics and Distribution manager requires you to be a logical person that can communicate ideas clearly. Responsibilities are varied, but expect to set objectives, use IT systems to manage stock, delivery and costs, and use data to plan the next direction for the company. In terms of working hours it depends on the company, usually it would be around 60 hours per week.


Entry salaries are between £15,000 to £ 25,00. At managerial level, expect salaries to increase up to £35,000. As a senior manager, you could earn from £45,000 to £ 60,000. Also, depending on the size and location of the company, salaries could be higher.


Positions are open to all graduates, however doing a postgraduate in logistics could enhance your chances of getting hired.

7. Political Risk Analyst

This is another position where a keen interest in foreign politics is required to be successful, as well as being an excellent communicator. Responsibilities include collecting and analysing data in order to make an informed decision, producing risk assessments and keeping up to date with the area of interest. Working hours are usually Monday to Friday, however, the work is project-based so you’d need to allow for some flexibility.


Entry level salaries are between £25,000 to £ 32,000. With experience, salaries can increase up to £60,000. Salaries at managerial level are between £52,000 to £80,000.


Any degree in languages, humanities and social sciences are welcomed in this field. A postgraduate in a relevant subject is also needed to access better paid positions. Fluency in foreign languages could be a requirement in specific roles, giving graduates with a Modern Language degree an advantage. This is a sought-after career, therefore work experience is most likely necessary.

6. Marketing Executive

Marketing executive is a job for people with a modern languages degree
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As a marketing executive, expect to work on a 9 to 5 basis on weekdays, however when deadlines are approaching overtime might be necessary. Working in marketing is an exciting career, which covers a range of industries. You’ll be responsible for promoting new products or services, and can specialise in a range of areas. These could include: developing a brand image, producing promotional content, SEO writing, paid ads specialist, analysing data, and conducting market research.


Entry levels are between £18,000 to £22,000. Depending on the role and the company, marketing roles can reach as high as £60,000 – or even more for director positions. Also, it is important to note that sectors in entertainment, fast-moving consumer goods and beauty tend to pay higher salaries.


Roles in marketing are open to all graduates as employers usually look out for personality traits. A postgraduate could be helpful but not an essential, as could work experience. For example, blog writing or graphic design portfolios could be useful to stand apart from other jobseekers.

5.  Translator

A translator is usually the first job that comes to mind when asking “what can i do with a modern language degree?”. The role extends to different sectors, from legal services to healthcare. You might be involved in assisting translation memory software in order to deliver a better translation and consult specialist dictionaries to ensure translations are up to date. Languages that are in demand in translations in the UK are German, Spanish, French, Russian and Mandarin to name a few. As a translator, you’re likely to be office-based working typical 9-5, however this will vary depending on the role. If you freelance, you’ll pick and choose the hours accordingly.


In the field of translation, salaries tend to increase in relation to qualifications, experience and demand for a given language. Income is usually calculated depending on the word count of the translation, or project requirements.


Translation is a field open to any graduate as long as fluency in foreign languages can be proven. Furthermore, having a Master’s in field related to Translation Studies could be beneficial. Work experience is advised, and internships as well as translation projects at University are great options.

4. Interpreter

Interpreter is a role for modern language degree graduates
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Interpreting is a rewarding career for individuals with an excellent command of English as well as the target languages. As an interpreter, you will be expected to conduct research to make sure you’re up to date with what needs to be translated, reproduce what has been said in the translation and take notes to help with the translation. The working hours of an interpreter, due to its freelance nature are quite flexible, however expect to work unsocial hours.


Salary for interpretation work usually depends on experience, qualification and the demand for the language, as well as project needs. Overall, in interpreting, there are better paid opportunities in the private sector.


A degree in modern languages or interpreting is essential to enter this career. A Masters is required for specific forms of interpreting, such as, conference interpreting.

3. English as a Foreign Language Teacher

As an English as a Foreign Language or TEFL teacher you will be expected to prepare and deliver lessons, mark assessments and produce language learning resources. Many people use this an opportunity to travel and live abroad, however there are also lots of roles here in the UK or online. The freedom of this job is one of the huge perks.


Entry salaries are between £14,000 to £22,000. However, how much you earn will depend on where you are teaching (which online platform or school for example) and how many hours you do. You’ll probably be able to charge more per hour on some sites if you have a language degree.


A degree in modern languages is useful but not a strict requirement, however you will often be expected to have a valid TEFL qualification. Any teaching experience could be an advantage too.

2. Secondary School Teacher

Teaching with a modern language degree
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Teaching is an important job because you’ll be responsible for educating the next generations, whilst teaching a subject you are passionate about. Currently, teachers of modern languages are in high demand in state schools. The day-to-day tasks of a modern languages teacher are varied, but include preparing classroom and teaching materials, attending parents evenings and keeping up to date with the taught subject. Commonly taught languages in the UK are French, Spanish and German.


The entry salary depends on where you teach. In England the entry salary is £25,714, but it’s usually slightly higher in Wales and Scotland in the region of £ 27,000-27,500. In Northern Ireland, entry salaries are typically towards the £23,000 mark.


In order to become a teacher, a degree in the taught subject and a qualified teacher status (QTS) are essential.

1. Academic Researcher

Gaining a position as a academic researcher, particularly in modern languages, is very competitive as the positions are few and far in between. In spite of that, this career choice is extremely stimulating because you could be involved in generating new research and expanding knowledge on a specialist field of study. Common responsibilities outside of research include attending conferences, teaching and being able to meet deadlines on time.


This role varies, where some positions may be unpaid and some may be highly paid. If you go into teaching as a lecturer, you could earn beyond £50,000.


A degree in the area of study followed by postgraduate qualifications are essential. You’ll likely need some lived experience or a PhD.

If you are still deciding on what to study, or trying to figure out what options are available after university check our articles on what to do with a history degree?  and what to do with a Chemical Engineering degree ?