A serious talk about career choices in your child’s future doesn’t usually come up until it’s time to start applying to universities or colleges. However, the decisions that you make about your child’s future in their early youth can be some of the most impactful.
When you decide to put your child in a French immersion or extended French program, you are opening up a plethora of job opportunities in their future. There’s no doubt that speaking more than one language, especially French, is an enormous advantage in the Canadian employment market. Considering that it’s the official language of 29 countries and multiple other important regions, it’s an advantage in the international job market as well!
Here’s a list of 15 jobs that require French speaking skills:
This might be the most obvious one. A translator translates written pieces of work. Whether it’s a website, a book, a newspaper article – companies often need someone to make their texts available in both languages. In Canada, any jobs for the government are a great example of this! You may think that with all the automated translation systems online, this job would be obsolete by now. Ask any French teacher and you’ll find out that those online translations are often very, very inaccurate. Even we at Camp Tournesol use a translator for some of our documents!
Similar to a translator, the job of an interpreter involves translating oral French speech. Imagine a speech being given in French at the UN headquarters: there needs to be interpreters galore making sure that every other diplomat and ambassador is understanding the speech in their native language. If your child speaks more than English and French, this gives them even more of a competitive edge. Jobs of this sort are commonly found in governments, NGOs, and organizations such as the UN. In fact, French is one of the 6 official languages of the UN.
If your child loves reading and writing fiction and non-fiction, this job could be a perfect fit for them down the line. Imagine being able to read a fantastical story and getting paid to edit it. This is what publishing editors. Here in Canada, there is an enormous amount of books and other pieces of writing that are either written in or translated to French and are in need of editing before they can be published, Think of all the books sold in Canada that are written by Quebecois or Acadian writers or that need to be translated from English to be sold in those regions. These are all opportunities to put forth French reading and writing skills as well as a love of literature.
A proofreading job is similar to that of an editor. Though your child may be unenthusiastic about French spelling and grammar now, it could be a serious advantage in the future. There are websites, articles, product labels and books galore that need to be proofread for mistakes. Just as with editing, these jobs can be located anywhere in the world, since it is usually possible to work from home.
If you have a traveling spirit, there are plenty of beautiful locations in Canada that need a French speaking tour guide. You can also travel to France, Côte d’Ivoire, Switzerland etc, and be a tour guide there! French skills would be very helpful in finding a job that involves touring a historical landmark or a natural tourist site. Even in countries where French is not spoken, French speaking guide and interpreters are needed to service Francophone tourists!
If you’d prefer to work at a beautiful vacation destination, how about working as resort staff in a French speaking country or region? Imagine all the beachside or ski resorts all over the Francophone world that need bilingual staff to service the tourists! There is a variety of jobs in this category that would allow for a lot of French speaking practice with the staff and with locals, including chef, ski instructor, or lifeguard, etc.
It’s definitely an advantage to airline companies to have flight attendants that speak multiple languages – and for Canadian airlines it is required. Your French could be put to good use while flying across the globe to and from French speaking regions.
If your child has shown an interest in justice and politics, maybe a job as a diplomat would be something they could strive for. Of course, diplomats need to speak multiple languages. As a Canadian ambassador or diplomat, French speaking skills would be very necessary.
Similarly, if your child has shown an interest in civics, perhaps a job in government could be fulfilling for them. Whether this job is a political scientist, economist, minister, or politician, there’s no doubt that French knowledge would be a huge competitive advantage.
This is another obvious one. French teachers, especially, in Ontario and the rest of Canada have an enormous advantage in the job market. As French school programs continue to expand, there is a growing need for teachers who are qualified to teach the language. Being a French teacher does not necessarily mean being a language teacher, there are plenty of opportunities to teach math, science, or social studies in French. Maybe one day your child would enjoy passing on the love of French to their future students!
If your child loves traveling, maybe they would enjoy being an ESL teacher one day. This means that they could be stationed in many different French speaking regions of the world and teach English to native French speakers. The chances to practice their French would still be plenty, considering that they would live day to day life immersed in French.
Voice over artist
Perhaps your child has great French pronunciation, this could be a great advantage if they would like to be a voice over artist! Many shows in English or other languages need to be dubbed in French. If your child loves drama class and French, acting out movie scenes with their voice could be a fun career.
Does your child have a passion for helping others? A job for an NGO or an international organization would be perfect.. And it could be an opportunity to put French skills to good use. For example, working for International Red Cross or Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) would involve travelling to French speaking regions and working with local French native speakers.
Working in a French speaking country/region
If none of the above jobs sound like a good fit, being able to communicate in French means being able to find a job in any field in any Francophone region. Maybe Quebec, or France, or the French Polynesia? The possibilities are endless.
Working for any French company or a company servicing French customers in Quebec
There are plenty of French companies (like Camp Tournesol!) that would prefer to hire employees who speak French over those who don’t. We at Camp T provide employment opportunities for people who want to be camp counselors, coordinators, office workers, and even our graphic designer is Francophone! How about working at a French bakery? Or directing French theatre shows? Maybe even a company that needs to provide customer service in French to clients in the Québec region. There are so many ways in which French skills can expand the amount of experiences and job opportunities that your child can have in the future.
Beyond this, being bilingual is always better than speaking only one language when it comes to having a competitive edge in the job market. Especially here in Canada, where the official languages are both English and French, any company could need someone who is able to speak both. For example, jobs in customer service, healthcare, social services and many more are always in need of workers who can speak both languages or who can speak multiple languages.
There’s no doubt that learning both French and English (and maybe even more languages) is a tremendously rewarding process that will be fruitful not only in the present, but definitely in the long run. In addition,, Canada is probably the best place to harness and use your French skills., Keep encouraging your child to practice “le français”… it’ll be nothing but beneficial for their future!
Written by: Magda Snioszek
About Magda: Currently working towards her B.A. in Political Science and Sociology at McGill University in Montreal, Magda has long enjoyed research and writing. Attending French immersion schools throughout her adolescence allowed her an opportunity to learn French as a third language, which ultimately led her to Camp Tournesol. Magda has enjoyed working at the Camp Tournesol main office for 3 consecutive summers and continues to work remotely for the camp, which includes writing occasionally for this blog.