2. Travel abroad for work: Sure you’d love to travel to France, but can you afford it? If your boss is footing the bill, though, you can enjoy international travel without having to pay for it: your ability to speak the language is your real ticket.
3. Able to communicate with a broader network: You’ll get to move up in your field more easily if you can speak different languages and network or collaborate at the international level.
4. Bring international business to your company: Attract international clients and sales to your company by being able to communicate in their native languages.
5. Make yourself more indispensable: If you bring something extra to the table, like being the only one to speak Japanese or Portuguese, you’re more likely to get hired and less likely to be fired.
6. Show respect to international colleagues: It’s respectful to speak to a visitor or client in their native tongue, and gives you brownie points, too.
7. Relocation: You never know when the chance to relocate may pop up out of the blue, and if you already know the language, you may high up on the boss’ list to go.
8. Keep up with the rest of the world: If you want to stay abreast of the latest research or news in science, engineering, technology or business, you may have to read a Chinese newspaper or journal to get the info, not an English-language one.
9. Compete with the younger generation: More and more Americans are learning languages, studying abroad and/or are the product of bilingual households, so you’re going to have to keep up with them to remain competitive.
10. Be more sensitive to cultural differences: By studying grammar — for instance, the different forms of “you” and how they’re used in different languages — you’ll learn how and why to be more sensitive with business contacts who will appreciate your effort.
11. Cut out the middle man: Save your company — or yourself — the price of an interpreter.
12. Pick up on the subtleties: By learning more than just business travel-related words, you can pick up on memos, e-mails, jokes and everyday conversation that will help facilitate business relationships.
13. You’ll get paid more: With such a vital and profit-producing skill, you can command a higher salary.
14. Be a better advertiser: Whether you actually work in advertising or are just a freelancer, you can sell yourself and your services better if you have a solid understanding of your audience’s culture.
15. Compete for jobs abroad: Even international companies like the UN and NATO use other languages besides English as an official language.