What Does A Computational Linguist Do?

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A computational linguist is in charge of developing and building machines that process human language and perform tasks such as speech recognition, machine translation, grammar checking, and so on. What does a computational linguist do?

What is computational linguistics?

Computational linguistics is a branch of linguistics that deals with the analysis and  computational modelling of natural language

This interdisciplinary field of study requires expertise in machine learning, artificial intelligence, programming, deep learning, cognitive computing, and linguistics. 

Role Overview: tasks, skills, background and salary of a Computational Linguist
Role Overview – Computational Linguist

Linguistically competent computers greatly facilitate our interaction with machines and software of all sorts and also make textual and other resources of the internet readily available in multiple languages.

What are the responsibilities of a computational linguist?

As mentioned above, computational linguists develop and design computers that deal with human language. They build systems that can perform tasks such as speech recognition, text mining and other “Big Data” applications, and also create and correct data for language modeling.

These linguists build, test and enhance language models and also evaluate, assess and monitor speech data in order to improve software quality. They review tests, and identify any potential fixes.

Responsibilities Of A Computational Linguist
Responsibilities Of A Computational Linguist

Some computational linguists are also in charge of creating, updating, and reviewing phonetic transcriptions for speech dictionaries while others are required to create systems to extract content from databases.

They develop and maintain tools for the support of linguistic tasks, write scripts to convert data to internal models, and implement algorithms and any related software on hardware platforms.

Responsibilities of a computational linguist:

  • Develop and design computers that deal with human language
  • Build systems that can perform tasks such as speech recognition and text mining
  • Create and correct data for language modeling
  • Build, test and enhance language models 
  • Evaluate, assess and monitor speech data in improve software quality
  • Review tests
  • Identify any potential fixes
  • Create, update and review phonetic transcriptions for speech dictionaries
  • Create systems to extract content from databases
  • Develop and maintain tools for the support of linguistic tasks
  • Write scripts to convert data to internal models
  • Implement algorithms and any related software on hardware platforms

What are the skills of a computational linguist? 

Computational linguists have extensive experience working with large quantities of natural language data and Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms and tools.

They have knowledge in structural aspects of language such as syntax, semantics and phonetics and have experience with programming languages such as C++ and Java. They are familiar with object-oriented analysis and design and have experience in ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) and TTS (Text to Speech).

Skills Of A Computational Linguist
Skills Of A Computational Linguist

Computational linguists have strong mathematical skills and are familiar with embedded systems hardware. They are also knowledgeable in information retrieval and have experience with one or more version control systems.

They are able to analyze complex problems, have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and are able to concentrate for long periods of time. 

Skills of a computational linguist:

  • Extensive experience working with large quantities of natural language data
  • Knowledge of Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms and tools
  • Knowledge in structural aspects of language such as syntax, semantics and phonetics
  • Experience with programming languages such as C++ and Java
  • Familiarity with object-oriented analysis and design
  • Experience in ASR and TTS
  • Strong mathematical skills
  • Familiarity with embedded systems hardware
  • Knowledgeable in information retrieval
  • Experience with one or more version control systems
  • Ability to analyze complex problems
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to concentrate for long periods of time


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How do I become a computational linguist?

To work as a computational linguist, you need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree. This needs to be in Computational Linguistics, Speech Technologies, Computer Science or a related field. Some employers may also require you to have a Master’s degree.

You can also boost your chances of being employed by completing online courses and achieving certifications. Check out options for these down below:

How much can I make as a computational linguist?

How much you make can vary depending on your personal qualification as well as the specific responsibilities of the job. Linguists who are just starting out can expect to earn around $54,000 per year whereas those in more senior positions can earn up to $106,000 per year. The average salary, according to Payscale, is $80,000.

In Germany, the salary range is €40,000- €63,000, whereas in the UK, the range is £27,000- £32,000. 

Junior$54,000
Average$80,000
Senior$106,000

Salary of a freelance computational linguist:

$46: average hourly rate of a freelance computational linguist

According to Zip Recruiter, the average hourly rate of a computational linguist is $46 per hour. Considering an 8-hour work day, linguists can make up to $368 per day.

Find computational linguist jobs here

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Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

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