Some of the most common foreign language services are second language courses and translation services. A foreign language service is any service that individuals can use to learn about a language that they do not primarily speak. For example, an individual whose first language is English may choose to take courses in French to gain a greater understanding of that language. Likewise, an individual who needs to translate a text written in a language that he or she does not understand can use a translation service to learn its meaning. Foreign language services may include free online tutorials and translation programs as well as courses and translation services that users can access for a fee.
Individuals interested in using foreign language services to learn a second language often do so by enrolling in foreign language courses. Courses that offer students potential to earn academic degrees or certification are normally offered by colleges or universities. In these cases, it is common for students to take a number of classes in other disciplines and to have to sit for proficiency exams and other assessments. These tend to be some of the most expensive foreign language services, though students in degree programs may apply for funding in the forms of grants and scholarships.
A person who would like to learn a foreign language but who does not want to pursue an academic degree may take courses in the language of his or her choice. These classes may be housed in colleges and are not taken for academic credits. Some organizations that are not academic institutions also can offer foreign language training. Individuals who enroll in these courses normally must pay a fee. In some cases, students might have to pass proficiency exams to place in intermediate or advanced courses.
Foreign language services that individuals can use for translation may be offered online. Many Internet translation programs can be accessed free of charge. In these instances, users can submit text written in a foreign language and receive that same text in a language that he or she understands. While these services may be valuable for individuals who would like to translate simple or basic texts, many users find that these services are not ideal for longer, more complex passages.
A live translator might be a better choice for individuals who are interested in translating full books and other complicated texts. These services are generally more costly. Individuals traveling to countries where they do not speak a primary language can hire translators to accompany them.