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Careers with Languages

What do German language graduates do next...?

Brian Melican: Author, Journalist, Translator

I studied French and German at Merton College, Oxford, and over five years after finishing, I still don’t have a job.

Not that I’ve ever needed one – and that is thanks in no small measure to the skills I developed during my degree. Competent translation into English, for instance, is in such high demand that I was already earning money with it before I left Oxford in 2007; that income was enough to keep my head above water as I decided to do something adventurous and move to Germany to become a journalist.

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Jamie Allen: Translator for the International Olympic Committee

Jamie Allen photo

After graduating with a BA honours degree in French and German from Leicester University in 1985, I ended up at the University of Kent for what was then called a ‘Diploma in Vocational Techniques for Career Linguists’, which as well as translating included a module on précis-writing.

In October 1987, I applied and, to my surprise, was selected for a job as an English translator at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Switzerland.

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Anna Shelley: Simmons & Simmons Law Firm, London

Anna ShelleyI studied Modern History and German at Queen’s College, Oxford, after studying German to A-level.  I spent a year abroad during my course, working as a language assistant in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany and then working at a law firm in Vienna over the summer.  I decided to apply for training contracts to be a solicitor and focused on applying to law firms with offices in Germany, as I really enjoyed speaking German and was keen to try to use it in some way.

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