Job NameBilingual secretary
Job DescriptionBilingual secretaries provide administrative services in English and one or more foreign languages.
Salary Low£18,000 Starter
Salary high:£35,000 Experienced
Typical hours:37 to 39 a week
Typical Hours per Day:evenings
How to become a bilingual secretary
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
It could help you if you have a degree in modern languages or languages combined with business studies, although this is not essential.
You'll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
Completing a recognised qualification in administration or office skills may improve your job prospects. Colleges offer a wide range of full-time and part-time courses. Relevant subjects include:
- business administration
- audio transcription
- computer skills
Entry requirements for these courses vary.
You can get into this job through a business administrator advanced apprenticeship and combine it with your language skills to find work.
You'll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You can apply to companies directly if you have some of the relevant skills and knowledge required for this role.
You'll need at least one A level or equivalent in your second language unless it's your native tongue or you became fluent by living abroad.
Employers may also expect you to have GCSEs or relevant office skills and experience.
Most businesses look for bilingual secretaries who can speak a European language like French, German, Spanish or Italian.
Other languages like Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic are also growing in demand.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the Chartered Institute of Linguists for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
You'll get more advice about working and training in languages through the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- administration skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- to be flexible and open to change
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- knowledge of English language
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you'll do
Your day-to-day duties could include:
You may also have general administrative duties, including:
- translating documents and letters
- writing letters, emails and reports in a foreign language
- translating or summarising articles from foreign journals
- speaking in a foreign language on the phone or face-to-face
- interpreting at meetings
- acting as a personal assistant (PA) to a manager
- organising meetings, making appointments and keeping a diary
- arranging travel and accommodation for business trips
- filing, typing and photocopying
- updating computer databases
You could work in an office.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could be promoted to personal assistant or office manager.
You could move into translating or interpreting, or international business, sales or marketing.