European Centre for Modern Languages

Language for work gallery


Statements from participants in the Language for work network meeting (Graz, Austria, 25 October 2018)

Show videos

Raising awareness of language for work

‘¡Esto es un robo!’ ‘This is a robbery!’

This short video clip comes from the 1969 US cowboy film, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as bank robbers. On moving to a new country, the two must learn to rob banks in a new language. An amusing introduction to work-related language learning that serves to illustrate how essential specialised vocabulary is in every field of work!

Mayday, mayday! We are sinking!

This humorous video clip, advertising the Berlitz chain of language schools, features miscommunication between a ship at sea and an emergency services trainee who is monitoring distress calls. An amusing introduction to work on listening skills, particularly in the context of language for professional purposes.

Miscommunication in a market: goûte / good

Lack of language skills and intercultural competences can be detrimental to business, as this lively African market scene illustrates. It features humorous miscommunication between a French-speaking market seller and her English-speaking customer.

Danish is difficult - even for Danes!

Humorous video (in Danish and English) showing how even Danes find Danish challenging. It features miscommunication in a shop between a shopkeeper, a customer and a man selling milk. The video stresses the importance of face-saving strategies in selling/buying encounters, in Denmark and anywhere else. An amusing reminder that communication difficulties are not limited to L2 speakers.

How Danish became difficult!

This short video explains (in English) the evolution of Danish pronunciation. A useful reminder of how language evolves over time. A neat follow-up to the video, "Danish is difficult, even for Danes!"

Example of training programmes

Preparing migrant students for work. A training programme of the Further Education and Training Centre, Limerick Ireland

The video celebrates the achievements of migrant students of the LCETB, Further Education and Training Centre, Limerick City, Ireland. The centre offers a variety of courses to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people within the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, funded by the Department of Education and Science and the European Social Fund. The short video illustrates the key principles inspiring the work of the centre, demonstrated via key words such as "creating”, “diversity”, “exploring”, “collaboration” and “partnership”.

Fast Lane to the Labour market & VET. Video about the EU project Fastlane
This informative video in English or with English subtitles presents the Erasmus+ project ‘Fast Lane to the Labour Market & VET’ for newcomers and refugees aged 18-30.  

The video explains how the Fastlane model combines language learning, social and cultural integration and the acquisition of vocational qualifications, drawing on Work-Based Learning (WBL), the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET), and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL).

It also points toward additional materials for trainers, teachers, VET schools, training centres, employer organisations and others.

Photo galleries

Gallery 1: When you don’t understand, it feels like your eyes are shut

Portraits of migrants at work with their eyes shut illustrate strikingly just how vital communication is – for the individual and those around them. The gap between feeling you can’t communicate and feeling helpless is a small one.

Veit Mette took these twenty photographs for the project‘komma‐NRW – Kommunikation am Arbeitsplatz’ / Workplace communication, funded by the Förderprogramm Integration durch Qualifizierung (BMAS).

The project aimed to develop the work‐related language skills of migrant staff. It was carried out by the AWO and the Internationaler Bund in Bielefeld, by the VHS in Duisburg and by Bildungswerk für Friedensarbeit in Bonn. Migrant workers could improve their work‐related language skills through special courses, tailored to meet their language needs at work.

Thanks to the course participants, who agreed to feature in these photographs.

Gallery 2: Educational cards from France circa 1930, illustrating 14 different jobs


Gallery 3: Taxi drivers

Taxi drivers in Frankfurt photographed by Mara Monetti and Xenia Drebes.


Note: Where applicable, we gratefully acknowledge permission from copyright holders to display these images. For permission to reproduce any of the images presented here please contact us.

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We are always on the look‐out for new images to add to our gallery. Please contact us if you have images to contribute.