Lucy Beney, Writer and Researcher

Lucy Beney is a Freelance Writer and Researcher.

Using a language other than English only occasionally, Lucy still believes that there are massive benefits to speaking another language.  Find out how she uses foreign languages at work below.

Could you give us some examples of when you have used foreign languages at work?

Attending conferences where some of the content is delivered in a foreign language.  While translations are available, some are not full translations.  Also, it is much easier to catch the real meaning from the original language.

Working in collaboration with other from different countries.  For example, books to appeal to an international market, checking that the translation conveys the real meaning, particularly where slang or local words are used.

Reading foreign press releases and articles on the internet.

Would you say that speaking foreign languages is advantageous in your sector?

Yes – it gives much more insight into a culture than merely making use of translations.

How proficient would you say people need to be for language skills to be useful at work?

Any knowledge is useful, but an intermediate level should be acquired for a language to start to become really useful.

What would you say to a young person about the benefits of speaking at least one other language when entering the workplace?

I would say that there are huge benefits.  Apart from a particular skill, speaking another language – and understanding how it works – gives an insight into culture and society in other countries.  Once you have learnt one language, learning another becomes easier.

What helped you to learn languages effectively?

I took French, German, and Latin for O Level (1982).  I continued with French for A Level and took O Level Italian alongside it (1984).  I read history at university, but studied Spanish for a year as a subsidiary subject.

Later, I moved abroad and lived in various countries where I tried to learn as much of the language as possible – Dutch in Holland, Arabic in Oman, and Portuguese in Brazil.  Undoubtedly, immersion in the language, country, and cultures is the most effective method of learning.  I am most fluent in Portuguese, through necessity, after living in Brazil for a total of seven years.

A huge thank you to Lucy for sharing your wonderful story and providing us with insights on language learning.

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