Tuesday, 5 March 2019

The Ins and Outs of Starting a Career as a Linguist

The scientific study of language is defined as linguistics and it is considered a broad field that encompasses many specialties. There are some linguists who opt to work in academia where they teach and research different areas of a language such as syntax (word order), phonetics (sounds) and semantics (meaning). Some researchers opt to specialize in computational linguistics, which involves matching computer and human language capacities in a better way. There is also applied linguistics, which is focused on improving language education. Some linguists can also choose to work as language experts for advertising companies, governments, private enterprises such as dictionary publishers. You also have the option of working as freelance linguists.

With the widespread use of the internet, the demand for skilled linguists has grown as the world has gotten smaller and reaching people in far-fetched areas has become possible. Linguists have assisted tech giants and other businesses expand their businesses in different markets with the help of multilingual websites. Therefore, starting a career as a linguist is a good choice as it holds a lot of potential and there are numerous job opportunities available.

The term linguist includes interpreters, translators and language teachers, who take advantage of their expertise in language for facilitating learning and communication. This means that if you wish to have a career in linguistics, you have to embark on a lifelong journey of learning and use continuing education opportunities in order to stay updated about any developments in the field. The requirements for starting your career as a linguist can vary because the career paths in this field are quite diverse. A bachelor’s degree is the least requirement for every linguist, but some may also be required to have a graduate education if they are looking for positions in academia or research.

When you are an aspiring linguist, you can pursue a bachelor’s, master’s or even a doctorate degree in English or foreign language or literature, linguistics, computer science, anthropology and cognitive neuroscience. Specialized training or a professional certificate may also be needed. There is also industry certification available, but this is usually optional in most cases. The professional realm also values volunteer or internship experience amongst linguists. You should also know that English language skills are required for a career as a linguist as well as native-level fluency in one or more languages.

Additional requirements include sharp speaking and listening skills, strong writing skills in at least one language other than English. You should also be knowledgeable about the different techniques and tools of natural language processing, which include algorithms, programming languages, data mining and machine learning.

Having a career as a linguist can provide you with a world of benefits. Not only do you have excellent career prospects, but you learn about languages that can be great for improving your intellectual and practical skills. Some of the prominent benefits of becoming a linguist are highlighted below:

Teamwork Skills

Linguistics involve plenty of research and this entails talking to native speakers of different languages and working with a team for creating experiments. During the course of your work, you have to work with a group of people from diverse academic and language backgrounds, which will give your teamwork skills a solid boost.

Information Literacy 

Linguists have to go through large amounts of data, which includes texts, videos and audios and you are required to search for vital information from piles of data. This process can help you in developing intuition that can come in handy for knowing where and how to sift and approach information.

Oral and Written Communication 

During your career as a linguist, you will have to give presentations, write research papers and also create different projects. Participating in these activities will enable you to communicate effectively and efficiently with the use of arguments and evidence, enhancing your oral and written communication skills.

Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills 

 You are engaged in the scientific process of research when working in linguistics as your job is to find data, analyze it and then form conclusions after studying regulations and patterns. This enhances thinking and analytical skills considerably.           

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