English for Science Students

Although English may statistically not be the most commonly spoken language in the world, it is still one of the most widely spoken languages in the world after Mandarin and Spanish. In the scientific community all across the world, English is the language which is being used. Even in the non- English speaking countries, the number of people utilizing scientific literature in English is much more than people using similar literature in their own native language. Almost 80 % percent of scientific journals over the past years have been published in English language only. People referring or reading scientific literature in languages other than English are really low in number. These facts emphasize the importance of English language even in the world of Science. More and more people are not only beginning to teach and publish their works in Science, the number of people studying Science today prefer English over other languages.

The importance of English in the world of Science and technology has been on the rise continuously. The growing popularity of English even in the non- English speaking countries can be attributed to the fact most scientific publications like journals and papers are globally read by most people in English only.

Learning good English becomes extremely important in this scenario. To understand even the very fundamental principles of Science one needs to have a good understanding of English. Sometimes even in the famous works that have been translated from other languages to English, the technical words are all in English. They cannot be translated into any other language and can be used in context in English only.

Due to major influence of the British Empire in modern India, English is not completely a foreign language to a large number of people. However, for most people English is the second language, so even though in many schools the medium of teaching is English, people do find it difficult to converse or understand English proficiently. However, as far as higher education is concerned, in almost all Science colleges the medium of teaching is English only. Therefore knowing and being proficient in English can help a student not only understand the concepts of Science better and more clearly, but also help in future career growth also. Most experiments, theories etc. of Science are in English only. Internationally, all reputed universities conduct all courses related to Science in English. A Science student has to spend countless hours studying theories and conducting lab experiments, the concepts and principles of which are mostly explained in English. As English is now evolving to be a universal language, a person who knows English can converse and interact better as he goes out for professional or personal reasons.

Once a Science student goes out to apply the hard earned Science degree in a professional setup, slowly the importance of English comes to life. In order to work together as a team in various organizations, one has to be proficient in English and this is applicable to Science students as well.

Science students are often asked to prepare reports as well as make presentations at the college level. Even as they go out for their job they are expected to perform a lot of tasks apart from the ones they are qualified for, which may include leading teams and communicating with people from other organizations. Good English will come in handy at all these stages. Science graduates who proceed on to study for their theses know the importance of English for sure, as everything to achieve a doctorate has to be read and studied in English.

Today, students as well as professionals make use of Internet in addition to their books to study for their subjects. On the Internet most of the information related to Science subjects is available in English. Here, people may argue that pages on the Web may be translated. Though it is true to some extent, one must also understand that not everything can be translated in content with ample relevance.

The world of Science and Technology which is taking big leaps practically every second, heavily relies on English language as a means for greater understanding and propagation. Even if we try to ignore or underestimate the importance of English, the fact that all leading innovations and inventions are being talked about in text or speech in English only is enough to reinforce its importance. Though any language may be considered to be nothing but a mere vehicle used to communicate by two people, its role cannot be considered to be passive in nature.

So, if you are a Science student, you must understand that it is not just your qualification or degree in Science that will make you successful; your ability to use English with expertise will also play a great part for your bright future.

Dr. Mitalee Shome is a top English Language Expert, based in Mumbai, India. Dr. Mitalee is a PhD in English literature, with over 30 years of rich and varied teaching experience.