Marines fluent in a foreign language could earn extra pay based on that skill.
The U.S. military relies on linguists for operational missions and has for decades. Notably, Navajo Code Talkers helped relay information during World War II.
Several jobs in the military require fluency in a foreign language.
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Whether Marines use another language for their work, or they just speak it on occasion, the military provides foreign language proficiency pay for that ability to those who are available wherever and whenever they’re needed to use their skills.
To receive foreign language pay, a Marine must first take the Defense Language Proficiency Test. The test is comprised of three parts: reading, listening and speaking, and is available at most base education centers.
Scoring ranges from 0 to 3. Normally, the speaking portion of the test is omitted as service members only need to pass two portions of the test to be certified.
In preparation for the test, Marines can familiarize themselves with different language materials.
“One can study a number of ways,” said AnneMarie Guthrie, test examiner at Joint Base Fort Myer Henderson Hall, Arlington, Va. “From visiting the Defense Language Institutes site and using their study guides, to using foreign language software provided by the Marine Corps.”
If a Marine doesn’t already speak a second language, he can take the Defense Language Aptitude Battery, a test designed to see how easily he can learn another language.
“This test is used to gain admittance to the Defense Langue Institute and to see what languages one might be able to learn,” Guthrie said.
The range of Foreign Language Proficiency Pay depends on Marines’ test scores. Most foreign languages pay $200 to $400, and Marines can receive pay for multiple languages.
“A Marine can speak a million languages, but they can only get up to $1,000 a month,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Lower, administrative specialist at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
Qualifying in a language can provide Marines increased opportunities and income as long as they are available wherever and whenever needed.
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