Pacific Rim Culture

Learn more about Pacific Rim culture, which includes countries that have Pacific Ocean shorelines. Discover a few of the many related jobs that are attainable after earning a degree in this field. Get details about career and education options below.

Is the Study of Pacific Rim Culture for Me?

Career Overview

To obtain an understanding of Pacific Rim cultures you'll study the history, language and art of the diverse nations that lay along the edges of the Pacific Ocean, including South Korea, Japan and China in Asia, and Chile and Mexico in Latin America. If you're good with languages and have excellent listening and speaking skills, then the study of any of these cultures could lead to a career as an interpreter of spoken communication.

Your employment opportunities could include interpretation between two or more languages at international conferences, such as meetings of the United Nations or global corporations, work as an escort to foreign visitors to the United States or assistance to non-English speakers as a court or healthcare interpreter. Similarly, as a literary translator you could rewrite books, articles, poetry and other documents from the original language into English. With an aptitude for technology or business, you could become a localization translator and adapt services, products and marketing communications to mesh with foreign cultures.

Employment Information

The career outlook and earning potential for jobs in this field vary by type of position, employer, location and experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of interpreter and translator jobs is expected to increase significantly faster than average from 2012-2022, a rate of 46%. The median annual salary for this career field was $42,420 as of 2013 (www.bls.gov). Although information for specific Pacific Rim countries is not available, the BLS predicts that jobs for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives (except of technical and scientific products) will increase 9% during the 2012-2022 decade; this occupation paid a median annual salary of $54,410 as of May 2013.

Career opportunities at United States embassies and consulates are available through one of four federal agencies that participate in international negotiations, handle diplomatic concerns and promote American agricultural and business interests. Entry into the diplomatic corps of the U.S. State Department is difficult; however, the rewards include the opportunity to live and work abroad. The annual pay for this occupation varies by education, years of experience, and domestic or overseas assignment (www.state.gov).

How Can I Work in Pacific Rim Culture?

Education and Training

To become an interpreter or translator, a bachelor's degree is generally required, with coursework in specific techniques or training outside the university setting. For conference interpreters or translators in business or technical occupations, a master's degree is required. To enter the field, you could work for a translation company, find an internship or volunteer at a hospital. Because these opportunities tend to occur among self-employed, freelance professionals, you would benefit from finding a mentor.

As a college student, you could earn undergraduate and graduate degrees or a certificate in Pacific Rim studies, available from select colleges and universities. In interdisciplinary programs, your coursework could apply to your country of interest, its language and the career you want to pursue. Topics covered may include trade, the global economy, international relations, regional ethnography, local history and literature. Study abroad programs, including internships, can provide you with firsthand experience in the culture or language you choose to study.

If you are interested in working at a consulate or embassy, student internships are available but difficult to obtain. These positions require a written exam, an oral assessment, medical exam, background check and security clearance. Once you clear those hurdles, you're ranked on a register of candidates. Foreign language proficiency can improve your ranking. Permanent employment may require specific professional experience.

Certification

Certification is not required; however you may want to establish your expertise by obtaining a translator license or certification through the International Association of Conference Interpreters or the American Translators Association. Certification as a court interpreter is available through the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters. You could also become a Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR) or a Certified Sales Professional (CSP) through the Manufacturers' Representatives Education Research Foundation.

Required Skills

The kinds of skills that would serve you well in a job related to Pacific Rim culture can vary depending on your career. Employment opportunities in international business or international relations require skill in negotiating through cross-cultural understanding. For instance, listening skills as a sales representative would involve determining the needs of your potential client as you seek to increase business for an American company in Pacific Rim countries. If you have tact in communication and keep a level head under pressure, then the study of a Pacific Rim culture could lead to employment as a foreign service officer or diplomat.

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