Learning a language has lots of benefits, such as helping you to progress in your career and find new opportunities. So we are starting a series called ‘World of Work’, where we will speak to people who use languages every day.
Let’s meet Daniel Soto from Spain
Hi Daniel! Thanks for talking to busuu. Could you tell us what you do?
I am the Reception Manager at Hotel Samos in Mallorca. It’s an independent hotel, where I work as part of a small, hands-on team who share responsibilities. I started here as a receptionist in 2002 and was already the department head by 2008.
Why are languages necessary for what you do?
Most of our clients are British, as Mallorca is a popular destination for the UK. We also have many guests from Portugal, Italy, France and Russia, and some from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
Thanks to the internet, we now have clients from all over the world and who book rooms directly. English is absolutely essential, from talking to travel agencies to dealing with the people staying here.
Could you tell us about the languages you speak and how you learnt them?
My mother tongue is Spanish and I studied English in school and at university, as well as using it every day at work with both clients and suppliers.
I speak fluent Italian, which I have learnt on the job from speaking to clients over 10 years. I also speak intermediate Portuguese – learnt in the same way – and know some German from studying for 2 years at local language classes.
Which language have you found most challenging to learn?
The most difficult has been German because of its grammar, such as the way certain words change their form depending on their role in a sentence. Also, I can’t practise it much at work as we do not have many clients from Germany.
And which language was the easiest for you?
English has always been the simplest and most intuitive for me, being the language of the music I listen to, the early internet and the tourism that I have mainly dealt with.
As a native Spanish speaker, the Italian that I have picked up through my work is also intuitive to me. I guess this is due to the two languages’ similarities in grammar and how they sound.
In your opinion, what’s the next important language for you to learn?
We are in a major tourist destination in Spain and the Russian market is growing quickly. Being able to speak Russian will soon be a big deciding factor in finding work and local classes are already overbooked. In fact, I downloaded busuu’s app for Russian.
Which learning materials or methods have helped you most?
As well as speaking to clients who are native speakers, audio-visual materials have always seemed to me the most natural way to learn a language. It’s the closest to learning in a real environment.
Do you have any tips for anyone who’s learning a language or would like a job like yours?
I would say to anyone who is starting to learn that it’s absolutely worth the initial effort – it becomes much easier in a short time. We were born to communicate with each other, so we have all the tools needed to learn a new language.
In the case of roles like mine, English is essential. It’s the language of business, communication and the internet. Any extra language is a plus – it’s another skill on your CV and will make you stand out in job interviews.
Daniel, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to busuu!
What did you think of this interview? Do you do a similar job to Daniel? Are there other occupations you would like us to consider for future posts? Let us know in the comments!