Bilingual Secretary Careers

How to become a Bilingual Secretary

What does a Bilingual Secretary do?

Organisations with branches or clients in other countries often use bilingual or multilingual secretaries to help them deal with communications in other languages. The work varies greatly depending on the employer and job role, but foreign language duties might include:

  • translating incoming mail
  • composing letters, e-mails and reports in a foreign language
  • translating or summarising articles from foreign journals
  • using a second language on the phone, or face-to-face with visitors
  • interpreting at meetings.
Some bilingual secretaries use languages on a daily basis, whilst others may need to use their language skills only occasionally.

Bilingual secretaries also have general administrative duties which can include:

  • acting as personal assistant to a manager
  • organising meetings, making appointments and keeping a diary
  • arranging travel and accommodation for business trips
  • maintaining filing systems and databases
  • using office equipment such as photocopiers and faxes
  • converting foreign currency prices into sterling.

What's the working environment like working as a Bilingual Secretary?

Bilingual secretaries usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. They may be required to work at other times because of time differences between countries. Part-time work and job sharing may be available.

Work is usually office-based, however, some travel may be required, possibly abroad.

What does it take to become a Bilingual Secretary?

To be a bilingual secretary you will need:

  • excellent spoken and written communication skills in English
  • the ability to read, write, speak and listen in one or more foreign languages
  • excellent organisational skills
  • good computer and keyboard skills
  • efficiency, attention to detail and the ability to meet deadlines
  • to be able to work on your own initiative
  • discretion when working with confidential material.

Bilingual Secretary Career Opportunities

There are opportunities for bilingual secretaries in multinational companies, import/export companies, banks, insurance companies, freight companies, the travel industry, international law firms and the Diplomatic Service.

There is a growing demand for workers with foreign language skills in all sectors. There are often opportunities to work abroad; this can build up experience and fluency.

In large organisations promotion to personal assistant and to a senior executive level may be possible. Gaining more qualifications and learning further languages can increase promotion prospects.

There may be opportunities to move into sales and marketing, translation or office management.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Bilingual Secretary that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

National Centre for Languages (CILT)
20 Bedfordbury
Tel: 020 7379 5101

OCR Information Bureau
Tel: 024 7685 1509

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