Job profiles

Foreign language correspondents

Jobs are usually office-based and require a very good knowledge of foreign languages and a sound understanding of the basics of business management, together with competence in the use of modern media.
Typical tasks might include taking care of correspondence in German and other languages, translating less complex items from a normal business day, looking after guests and customers from abroad and, in particular, dealing with international phone calls. Written and spoken communication with business partners is without doubt a major element.


With management assistants now being required to react to the globalization and internationalization of economic activitiy, the FIM has, since 1993, been making BFS vocational school graduates ‘ready for Europe’ in an extra (third) year of study.

Euro-correspondents are trained to take on more demanding linguistic and business tasks. This follow-on course focuses on improving your minor foreign language, economic subjects and polishing up your communicative skills.

The success of a company in the international marketplace is not only a function of economic factors. It also depends on the communicative faculties of its employees and their knowledge of foreign values and norms as well as their appreciation of the expectations and customs standard in other cultures. To be as keenly aware as possible of how business people in other countries operate, company staff must open themselves to foreign ways, gather information from as many export-based companies as possible and talk to experts and people from European institutions.

For each staff member, this means putting in a lot of effort, being able to handle large workloads, learning to act and react confidently, solving problems competently and being perfect team members at decisive moments.


Translating involves the written transfer of content from an original written source into a target language.

What is required of good translators –

  • a reliable command of both the native language and the foreign language(s) in question, delivering a totally accurate transfer of meaning; style and tone should be appropriate
  • knowledge of the cultural idiosyncrasies of the language areas in question
  • methods for dealing with complex translation problems
  • a wide general knowledge
  • specialist knowledge relevant to the text being translated
  • sound research skills, including the efficient use of the internet, and the ability to acquire expertise in new areas swiftly
  • a thorough acquaintance with modern word-processing software and electronic translation tools as well as
    the entire range of aids to translation, including dictionaries, works of reference, current publications,
    terminology databases, electronic media and so on
  • the ability to work in a team
  • working at speed and fulfilling translation commissions exactly


Interpreting involves the oral transfer of spoken material from one language to another.

What is required of good interpreters –

  • a first-class active command of both their native language and the other language(s) involved
  • a good short-term memory
  • sound cultural awareness
  • an excellent standard of general knowledge and the willingness to improve it constantly
  • the ability to prepare oneself promptly and precisely for the topic to be interpreted, such that the
    deployment of appropriate research skills can ensure an effective understanding of the subject matter
    and an accurate use of specialist terminology
  • familiarity with the various types of interpreting equipment and how they function
  • a polite, self-confident manner conducive to a convivial atmosphere for discussion
  • a particularly tactful style and precise knowledge of what behaviour is expected, such as neutrality,
    attentiveness, knowledge of and consideration for cultural differences and idiosyncrasies
  • the ability to work in a team
  • a willingness to travel
  • a resistence to stress