Career

What can you do with a linguistics degree? – 8 Jobs for linguists

Are you fascinated by linguistics like J.R.R. Tolkien? Can you master foreign languages easily and speak with ease? Do you happen to be bilingual or trilingual? Then a linguistics degree might be the right choice for you.

Today, many employers are looking for individuals who are able to speak more than one language.

Increasing globalization means that the demand for people who can communicate across borders is growing.

There are several amazing career prospects for people with a linguist degree. We have listed 5 different opportunities for those who have majored in various languages or have a special affiliation for linguistics.

1, Lexicographer

Lexicographers are your common language and literature enthusiasts. They write, compile and edit dictionaries for native speakers and learners of different languages.

You have probably seen each year, there are new editions of the same language books being published. That is because lexicographers monitor and record new words to keep lexicons and dictionaries up-to-date and check the accuracy of their own texts. 

A degree in linguistics, modern languages or classics might be needed. Fluency in a foreign language is an absolute plus for aspiring bilingual lexicographers. 

2, Forensic linguist

Forensic linguists might be a more exciting profession than it sounds. It is the application of linguistic knowledge to the forensic context of law, language, crime investigation, trial, and judicial procedure. Forensic linguists perform language analysis on emergency calls, suicide notes, threat communication.

They also work on legal proceedings for law firms, criminal investigations, find employment in the government on matters of national security. 

sticky notes

3, Translator

This is an obvious one. Working in translation might be a demanding work where you translate verbal or written speech. It is not easy, because you’d be expected to churn out 2,000 to 3,000 words on a daily basis. However, translators are in high demand.

An example is the European Union, where the 28 member states require consistent translations. If you would be interested, you can apply here.

Typically a career in this field will involve liaising with clients, consulting specialists on legalities and using reference books to find precise translations for industry jargon.

Whether freelancing or work for a company, you would be expected to specialize in a specific field like law, education, policy, international affairs, trade, commerce, literature or science. 

4, Foreign Language Teacher

We are familiar with teaching. After all, we all spent years in school learning languages. As a foreign language teacher, you’ll probably do what your teachers had done for you. Spend your days preparing lessons, marking exam papers, instructing pupils, liaising with parents and attending teacher meetings. There are plenty of well-paid jobs in teaching foreign languages (mainly English) in South-East Asian countries.

5, Speech-Language Pathologist 

This career prospect is somewhat closer to the field of healthcare, but language skills do play a major role. A speech-language pathologist is someone who is qualified to evaluate, diagnose, and treat a broad range of communication and swallowing disorders in patients. 

There are plenty of other job opportunities related to linguists like Data Scientists, language professors, audiologists, and/or sign language experts.

6, From a linguistics degree to become a linguistics professor

preparation for school

You can actually try and become the next Tolkien and teach the art of languages. But to enter an academic role like this, there is a long path of studies spent in the library. You’ll need to complete a master’s degree and Ph.D. to be eligible to be a professional, certified professor.

7, Proofreader

If proper grammar is your thing, you can always become a proofreader for a magazine like Forbes, a blog like Huffpost, or a publishing house like HarperCollins. 

8, Communications

If you are interested in a bit of marketing and the business world, a linguistics degree can always help you enter into the field of communications. In this field, you try to influence, entertain, and inform your clients by creating the best possible media content.

This is more a media and advertisement area where the market is more competitive and you might find yourself in a corporate world. But the salary is also relatively higher, depending on the company and your role.

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