Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Which EU language to learn

If you are working for an EU (European) MNC, it is an added advantage to learn any of the EU languages to grab an onsite opportunity quicker; but which EU language to learn?

You might tend to say French; so was I thinking. A little statistical analysis about the most spoken EU language comes handy now. This might sound useless for a few, but learning a new language is not an easy task. You are going to spend your time, memory and cost on it. How would you feel when you passed out a particular language certification and then come to know that there are no much opportunities for that particular language? That hurts big time!

I am not sure if you know it or not, theoretically, Europe has nearly 30-40 major languages out of which 23 are official languages.

The seven most natively spoken languages in the EU ordered by the percentage of total European population:

  1. 18% German
  2. 13% French
  3. 12% English
  4. 12% Italian
  5. 9% Spanish
  6. 9% Polish
  7. 5% Dutch

The list below shows the top eight European languages ordered by total number of speakers in the EU:
  1. 51% English
  2. 33% German
  3. 28% French
  4. 16% Italian
  5. 15% Spanish
  6. 10% Polish
  7. 7% Russian
  8. 6% Dutch

This makes German the most frequently spoken native language and English the most frequently second spoken language overall in the European Union.

So, if you are ever planning to learn any of the EU languages go for German. It has a huge scope when compared to other languages. You might ask me, “What if my company does not have any clients from Germany at all?” Let me tell you something, despite of the onsite opportunities in Germany, it needs huge number translators next to Japanese. FACT!! So, if not as an On-site coordinator, you sure have an opportunity as a translator.

So what are the German Certifications available in the market?

There are many Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD), the Großes Sprachdiplom (GDS), or the TestDaF. Do research a bit before you join one. However, Zertifikat Deutsch is a standardized widely accepted test and it has proven its validity over the years and is recognized as certification in many situations. Also, both the BULATS and the Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf (ZDfB) test a high level of language competency for business German.

German Coaching Classes:

Google - not for learning German as such but to find the German Coaching center at your nearest location. (You very well can learn German via Google. Google has it all but then humans might not be that capable)