• Question: what different languages can you speak and are they useful for your job?

    Asked by Grace Bat to Yuri - ESA Team, Trevor, Stephen - ESA Team, Paul N - Engineering Team, Paul M - Engineering Team, Leila - ESA Team, John - Planetary Team, Joe - ESA Team, Divya M. - PanCam Team, Craig - PanCam Team, Coralie - ESA Team, Andrew - PanCam Team, Andrew - ESA Team, Alex - Engineering Team, Adam - Planetary Team, Abbie - Engineering Team on 20 Jan 2020.
    • Photo: Divya M. Persaud

      Divya M. Persaud answered on 20 Jan 2020:


      I only speak English but I studied Latin for a long time in school. It has been really helpful in understanding scientific terms, a lot of which come from Latin and ancient Greek, and also understanding European languages that came from Latin (like Spanish and French), which is useful since many of my colleagues are from Europe.

    • Photo: Stephen Durrant

      Stephen Durrant answered on 20 Jan 2020:


      I can speak two languages, English and Dutch {or three if you ask my partner as I speak nonsense as well :-)}.
      At ESA we have two official working languages French and English.
      English is very useful and is the main working language because it is taught and spoken in all European countries.
      However, because I travel so much I do pick up a little bit of other languages which helps when going to Restaurants or in shops etc. A lot of words are quite similar across languages as well, as Divya says.
      Russian is very difficult though as it has a different alphabet!

    • Photo: Craig Leff

      Craig Leff answered on 20 Jan 2020:


      I speak English and a *tiny* bit of Spanish. Language skills would be VERY useful for this job, as I have colleagues that speak Spanish, French, Italian (rover mission control will be in Torino), German, and Russian. Knowing any one of those would be great (and I’m jealous of the people who speak 2-3-4 languages.)

    • Photo: Abbie Hutty

      Abbie Hutty answered on 29 Jan 2020:


      I speak English, a fair bit of French, a bit of German and a few words of Italian.

      The French and German have been useful to me when I’ve travelled around Europe for work (or holidays) but just to get around and talk to hotel staff and shop keepers or read menus in restaurants or things. Even in other countries all of our meetings tend to be in English so you don’t actually need to speak the local language to do your work. It’s nice to use it if you are able to though! 🙂

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