Russian in Your Career
Is Russian a marketable skill? The answer is of course, yes, but in an increasingly complex world it is sometimes difficult to identify opportunities where vocational demands are constantly changing. Teaching used to provide employment for the largest number of Russian language majors, and government was the next most productive source of jobs. With the growth of trade relations and cultural exchange agreements between the United States and the countries of the former Soviet Union, the demand for Russian majors is more diverse. US-Russian trade agreements have opened new areas of employment in banking, manufacturing, sales, technical consultation, contracts, negotiations and office management, to say nothing of the necessary work of interpreting and translating commercial documents (from contracts to sales brochures). It is generally recognized that Russian language skills are best practiced in conjunction with some other professional training. Thus, a student planning on a career in business should aim for a degree in economics, business administration or accounting. Those interested in government careers should combine Russian language training with political science. Students in science, technology, engineering and computers should keep in mind that knowledge of Russian opens the way to employment opportunities strictly closed to complacent monolinguals.
Opportunities in scientific, technical and business translation also have increased in the past five years. With the opening of a number of private translation firms, a general background in sciences, economics or engineering plus knowledge of Russian are keys to employment in the field. There are also vacancies in the area of machine translation and artificial intelligence.
A recent study conducted by the National Foreign Language Center indicates that the need for Russian language competence in governmental, business, professional, and private contacts is expanding rapidly, and there is every indication that it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.