There are many ways to get language work experience. Among them are volunteering to work as an interpreter or translator for a charitable organization, or seeking a related internship. You might also create opportunities by spending a significant amount of time abroad and gaining temporary employment while you are there. Additionally, you can use freelance projects and entry-level jobs to build the work history you need.
One way to get language work experience is by volunteering. Many charities work with individuals who speak foreign languages, and you can help by translating or interpreting for the organization. By doing so, you can gain valuable experience and references while also enjoying the satisfying feelings that might come from helping others. If the charity ever decides to hire an interpreter or translator, it might even consider employing you.
Internships can also provide language work experience. You can look for internships with language-based organizations, embassies, government agencies, and translation and interpreting businesses. Looking for internships with educational organizations that have language departments in which you can work might also produce desirable results. Additionally, organizations that work with clients and customers who speak foreign languages might need your help.
Since internship opportunities can be limited in some places, you might also consider creating your own opportunity. You could benefit, for example, from spending a significant amount of time in a foreign country and getting a job while you are there. Many college students take jobs in foreign countries during their summer vacations from school or while studying abroad, for example. Through speaking with your coworkers, employers, clients, and customers, you can gain a good deal of related experience.
Freelancing can provide yet another way to get language work experience. You can advertise your services, for example, as a freelance interpreter or translator. Freelance tutoring projects can provide work experience as well. In such cases, you may do well to ask for reference letters and testimonials right after you complete a project. This way, you can use the references to get other freelance projects or regular employment, even if you lose contact with the client.
Entry-level positions can also provide a good way to get language work experience. While you might want the most attractive position with the highest pay, it may be necessary to work your way up to the job you want. Many companies promote from within, and even those that do not can provide references that might help you land your dream job.