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A bilingual secretary is responsible for being able to provide administrative service in both English as well as in one or more foreign languages.

The general duties, apart from the language skills, would include:

  • Arranging meetings and appointments
  • Answering and recording important phone calls
  • Acting as the manager’s personal assistant
  • Updating and maintaining computer databases
  • Performing photocopying, typing, and filing jobs
  • Arranging business trips and other travel

In addition to these general duties, a bilingual secretary also might be responsible for using their foreign language skills to:

  • Write letters, reports, and e-mails
  • Interpret meetings and lectures
  • Conduct interviews with persons who speak the language
  • Translate letters and documents
  • Translate journal articles

Requirements of Entry

A bilingual secretary is required to have good IT and administrative skills along with a certain fluency in a minimum of one other foreign language.

Depending on the employer, additional experience and qualifications may be required, such as a certain level of higher education. You may also be given preference if you obtained your degree in the foreign language in question.

Some employers may also require an administration qualification which would necessitate a college course. Many colleges offer appropriate programs including diplomas which may be obtained from Pitman, Education Development International (LCCI), OCR (RSA), and City & Guilds.

The majority of businesses prefer those who can speak European languages such as Spanish, Italian, German and French although other languages may also be required such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.

Required Skills in Knowledge

Depending upon your employer and the job which you have been hired to do, the following are a a series of skills which you may be required to possess:

  • Good oral and written English skills
  • Ability to write, read, and speak one or more foreign languages
  • Ability to multitask and organize
  • Skills with the computer
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to create priorities and to finish tasks according to these priorities
  • Ability to work as a team as well as individually
  • Ability to be discrete with confidential information
  • Ability to be personable with clients

Bilingual Secretary Income

The starting salaries for a bilingual secretary range from £18,000 to £20,000 a year with added experience resulting in higher salaries of £20,000 to £35,000.

In-Job Training

There are number of ways in which a bilingual secretary can expand on knowledge and skills. There are many programs available for a variety of languages. In addition, several universities and programs offer courses to improve necessary skills.

Business Opportunities

Bilingual secretaries are needed in a variety of different companies such as travel, sales, manufacturing, and international banking.

Further Help and Information

*The National Centre for Languages:

*The national information resource on careers with languages:

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