Options and avenues for linguists

DishaBy Disha Bharti

It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together. And for a linguistic his language is his passion. The field of linguistics is extremely diverse, intersecting with many areas such as anthropology, computer science, engineering, foreign language study, neurology, philosophy, psychology, sociology. As a result, a degree in linguistics can provide the foundation for a wide range of jobs and careers  As a student of linguistics you will become familiar with many different languages and cultures and, as a result, also develop cross-cultural skills. Each of these skills are useful in many careers that may not otherwise seem related to linguistics.

Students with an undergraduate linguistics degree have a variety of options to choose from, both within and outside of the field. Students pursuing graduate degrees in theoretical linguistics are likely to find jobs working at universities or research labs. Graduate degrees in applied linguistics can lead to jobs in education: teaching foreign languages, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), working in a bilingualism program at elementary or high school level. Or it may lead to jobs in other areas, such as translation, research and documentation of endangered languages, or working for religious organizations to research lesser-known languages, for the purpose of developing grammar books, teaching materials and Bible translation.

Linguistic knowledge and skills are an asset in many jobs. Some jobs require additional training or skills. There are many career options open to students without a graduate degree as well. For example, several students become lab coordinators at large research labs. Others have decided to work abroad teaching English in countries like France or Brazil. Several have gone to work for publishing companies, either in editing, or developing educational materials such as textbooks and classroom materials for language arts and foreign language texts. Still others decide to become teachers, and earn their certification to teach at the elementary school or high school levels.

Linguists study structural and stylistic differences between languages, which is helpful in developing translation skills. Thus, wecan adopt the field of translation and interpretation which is becoming very demanding these days. As tourists and affluent people very often require such translators.

Marketing is one such area where a person from any field can be engaged. Thus, linguistics being people of special importance due to their skills of communicating in different languages and conveying company’s message. Companies such as Lexicon Branding, Strategic Name Development, Nomen, and Igor use linguistics to create brand or product names, and test how these work across different languages.  Linguists can also work on market research, international marketing, and other aspects of corporate communications.

Linguists with a theatre background may do voice coaching in the entertainment industry, helping actors with the phonetics of particular languages, dialects, and foreign accents. Others may offer accent reduction lessons for professionals. Thus, getting employment opportunity in linguistic voice coaching which signified its importance because of increasing bollywood influence and craze among our newer generations. Teaching and imparting their knowledge is one of the greatest arts of language experts. More than half of the people learning language is of the aim of becoming a professor or teacher in that language. Thus either becoming a primary school teacher or a professor in a university is opted by most of the people. 

In short, with a degree in linguistics, students gain the basic skills and experience needed to prepare their entry into a variety of professional opportunities. The career choices of students pursuing a degree in linguistics are numerous, and are only limited by the student’s imagination.

Disha Bharti was French Language and Translation Intern for the summer of 2016 at Modlingua, India's No1. certified translation service providers in New Delhi, India




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