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Languages, Information and Culture

Jobs?

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CULTURAL HERITAGE

This sector includes museums, historic houses and sites, galleries and arts organisations. Jobs include:

  • Archaeologists preserve, record and analyse any material remains excavated on archaeological digs - including fragments of bone or pottery, buried structures or microscopic organisms - to help us understand the past.
  • Art exhibition organisers plan the programme of exhibitions - which may be permanent or temporary - in a gallery or museum, and mount and maintain displays.
  • Conservators/restorers carry out preventative or remedial work to keep works of art or other historic objects in good condition or working order. They may look after a range of objects, or specialise in a particular area such as furniture, paintings, textiles or books.
  • Museum assistants/technicians are mainly responsible for the specialist handling, movement and display of artefacts such as paintings or sculptures in museums and galleries. They mainly do practical work or, if they have technical ability, may also do carpentry, lighting and maintenance work.
  • Museum visitor services assistants work in museums and art galleries and are mainly responsible for customer service, but also for the care and security of museum artefacts and exhibits.
  • Museum/art gallery curators manage and care for collections of objects of artistic, scientific, historical and general interest, helping to bring these collections to life, in a way that's both educational and appealing to the audience.

INFORMATION

This sector includes the collection, storage and retrieval of information in a range of formats and jobs include:

  • Archivists manage and maintain collections of books, papers, maps, plans, photographs, prints, films, tapes, videos and computer records. These items help the work of researchers, providing a record of how people lived in the past.
  • Information Scientists are specialist researchers who produce often highly technical reports for commercial organisations, government departments, the education sector and research institutes. The reports are often used to help plan business strategies and keep track of competitors.
  • Librarians organise information in libraries and keep it available for access. They update their collection by choosing new materials and clearing out the old, advise users about available resources and materials, organise outreach work, such as school visits, creative writing workshops or readings by authors and manage the library, train staff and keep accounts within the budget 
  • Library assistants are part of a team who help in the day-to-day running of a library. They spend a lot of their time dealing with enquiries and helping people to find the information they need.

LANGUAGES

There are only a limited number of specialist jobs involving languages but the ability to speak foreign languages would be an asset in many work sectors, from tourism and hospitality to business (especially companies which export abroad). Specialist jobs include:

  • Interpreters convert one spoken language to another, to help people who do not speak the same language understand what is being discussed e.g. during a business meeting or at a police station. Many interpreters are freelance (self employed) and go where the work is but others are employed 'in house'. As well as the language, interpreters need to know about the culture of the country or countries where the language is spoken.
  • Language service professionals (LSPs) facilitate communication between people who are deaf or hard of hearing and people who can hear. They may work with people who use British Sign Language (BSL) or other communication systems. Some specialise in working with people who have both a hearing and a visual impairment.
  • Translators transfer written text from one language to another. This is normally from a foreign language into their own mother tongue. Translators have to ensure the new text matches the original as closely as possible. They need a thorough knowledge of the subject as well as the languages involved. They may use the internet, reference books and specialist translation software to aid their work.

The most commonly used languages are the major European ones. There is also increasing demand for translators skilled in Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Japanese and Eastern European languages. There is also work for translators in the UK using Welsh or languages from countries such as Pakistan and India.