22 karmaJoined Dec 2020


One major thing that I think you missed in this analysis is the impact of the song "Don't You Want Me?". Arguably massive.

Hi, I posted this question on the subreddit recently ( https://www.reddit.com/r/EffectiveAltruism/comments/ju4ok5/request_for_career_transition_thoughts_advice/ ), but would like to see if there are any fresh perspectives here: 

Quick profile of me: I’m a 31-year-old British translator (working languages French, German and Spanish, plus beginner’s Mandarin) working for a language learning app. Have been interested in EA for ~8 years but always been daunted by the prospects of changing careers and not sure what I would be best suited to. I quite enjoy my job but don't think the company has a particular positive impact on the world.

I had a short, general EA careers advice call a couple of months ago and have since been trying to research jobs which would make use of my language skills first and foremost. For now, I’ve slightly changed my thinking from “I’d probably have to learn new skills in order to find an effective career” to “perhaps I can apply my specific skills as a translator somewhere more effective”.

So far, from looking at job boards and so on, my impression is that my language skills could come in useful in quite a lot of roles, but roles which focus primarily on language skills are going to be extremely rare or hard to find. I see language abilities (mostly just in English, occasionally in foreign languages) mentioned or implied in role descriptions such as copywriters, customer service, operational support, marketing / communications.

I wonder if I’m missing anything. Can anyone think of better applications of language skills than what I’ve mentioned above? (Foreign policy stuff was suggested to me on the Reddit thread.)

The discussion on another comment here about trying to do more networking and chatting to people, rather than limiting myself to jobs which are advertised on job boards, also seems relevant to me; and someone commented on Reddit that I might also try emailing various organizations I'm interested in asking if they have a need for a translator. My main stumbling block in that regard currently is that I don't have strong opinions about cause prioritisation or specific areas that I want to work in, so feel like I don't know where to start. When I look at lists of problem areas, they strike me as all very important. Do you think getting a clearer answer to that question for myself is an important step for me?

Also, I wonder if I’m limiting myself by mainly looking at English-language organisations and job boards. Perhaps I need to find the equivalent resources (to 80k, Animal Advocacy Careers, things like that) in French/German/Spanish-speaking places and look at those, since they are probably more likely to value linguists with English as a native language. (I have found some initial resources in French, though they are fairly limited.)

Following, as I'm also a linguist about to post a question!