5 Steps to Becoming a Linguist
Linguistics is a broad stream for scientifically studying different languages. It has got a big scope in further studying with many specialities. There are even broader aspects in the fields of professionals and researchers. Some linguists’ works include several academic works, researching and teaching in various areas where languages are a priority, like phonetics, semantics, and syntax.
Other specialist researchincludes computational linguistics. Other works include language experts in governments, dictionary publishers, various other private companies and even advertising companies. There is even scope for many to work from home as freelance linguists.
Linguists are also required in various fields such as translators, language teachers, interpreters, who expertise the languages to facilitate learning and communication.
Professionals in these fields tend to continue their learning and educations on a lifelong basis to stay connected with the modern world and develop the knowledge and needs accordingly. There is a vast diversity in the careers of linguists, so the requirements vary considerably.
Only a bachelor’s degree is sometimes enough for being a linguist but graduate educations are necessary for research and academic fields.
Aspiring linguists can opt for bachelors, masters or doctorate degrees in sub-fields like anthropology, foreign languages and literature, computer science and cognitive neuroscience.
Professional certificates, specializedtraining, and internship experiences are a plus to flourish in this profession. For more information oncareer and specialization, you can go through“7 ways to identify the reason of disinterest in your child’s study habits”.
More importantly, one must have native language skills in one or more languages, fluency in English and strong writing skills along with sharp speaking and listening skills. According to data from 2015, the median salary for linguists was found to be $44,190.
Steps to becoming a linguist
Step 1: Choose a suitable linguist career
Translators and interpreters working for federal agencies such as the FBI may not have a degree but must have a strong skill in English language or any other native languages. Aspiring teachers who wish to teach English as a second language must their required degrees that may include a bachelor’s along with masters or some special training in language pedagogy.
Analysts and language researchers working in multinational tech companies and various other firms hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in linguistics. Professors and advanced researchers of linguistics always hold a Ph.D degree but may not be fluent in any language.
Moreover, the students from bachelor’s degree must have knowledge of any foreign language. Foreign language is an important aspect that is taught in high school which provides a good base for further studies as well as for teaching, translating and interpreting those languages.
Step 2: Be a graduate and get a bachelor’s degree
There are some translating and interpreting jobs that do not require a degree but most career options based on linguist do. Every time there are may not be capable personnel to judge a linguist, then the degree and grades come in help.
Majors in linguistics can pursue further courses in semantics, phonology, grammatical analysis and even teaching foreign languages. Those who sorted their way out to work in thespecialized area as translators and interpreters, such as healthcare, law, finance or science must take up courses relating to these.
For the rest who wish to work in language section itself, combined education on language and linguistic coursework would be a better option.
Linguistics combined with related subjects like anthropology or psychology with a double major is likely to enhance the job options and prospects. An interdisciplinary approach with several other fields broadens the range of different careers and also enhances the chances and demand of a graduate in other respective fields. Added skills and degrees are a boon to the graduates to prosper in the professional fields.
Specializing in computational linguistics is also a great addition. It is a rising subfield that has many scopes. It merges linguistics with computer science developing speech recognition and machine translators. They must also be accustomed to programming languages, algorithms, and other tech tools. Aspiring computational linguists can complete the combined courses including maths, stats, computer science and linguistics.
Staying abroad and getting accustomed with foreign languages helps those who are seeking to achieve fluency and jobs in foreign languages. There are scholarships for aspiring candidates to live abroad and gain such experience and fluency.
Step 3: Gaining experience and building a portfolio.
The best way to gain experience is to volunteer and intern in different companies to build a strong portfolio. The American Translators Association and Red Cross work jointly to intern these linguists by placing them as translators in crisis situations. They may also get opportunities in hospitals and other organizations.
In computational linguistics, job ads include some specific information which is best known and learned through internships which also helps in broadening your contacts in the real world.
Step 4: Certification
Being an interpreter or a translator, certification is not mandatory, but it helps and benefits in several ways. The American Translators Association offers certifies for 24 different languages to those who pass an exam conducted by them and has a minimal experience on the jobs certified.
Excluding this, there are even some government organizations and non-profit firms that offer these certifications. These certificates help you to be a step ahead of those who are not yet interned or certified.
Step 5: Complete the master’s degree
The programs in master’s degree in linguistics are strictly designed to give a professional outlook and a rough experience on the jobs offered. Rather than focusing on the academic details, they tend to focus on the practical applications of sociolinguistics or computational linguistics.
Some of these even tend to complete within 12 months rather than 2 years. The short term degree mainly focuses on the job market preparations, networkings, placements and other career-related skills.