Assistant Linguist

Seattle, Washington 98109 | Contract

Post Date: 01/08/2018 Job ID: 21138 Industry: Other Area(s)

Job Title: Assistant Linguist


We' re looking for linguists to develop data infrastructure for Natural Language Processing systems across products. You will work collaboratively with linguists and software engineers to create a language analysis pipeline. Diversity is an asset; we' re looking for people who can articulate their positions and intuitions while seeking common ground with others. 

We' re looking for expertise in all subfields of linguistics. No matter your experience, you should be passionate about your area and arrive ready to describe your favorite research project. You should have experience developing/evaluating theories that capture linguistic generalizations while also being precise, concise, and implementable. 

You are open to programming and data processing techniques; you have written some code and are willing to learn more. You should understand basic programming concepts: you know what a variable is and the purpose of functions. You don’ t have to be a wizard, but at a minimum, you can write scripts for manipulating text files. 

You know that language data is the underpinning of all current language technologies. You love practical language analysis as well as theoretical. You understand basic statistics and experimental design. You understand your experimental variables and how to control them. You know what statistical significance is and you can find the right test to evaluate your results. You bring a unique skill set to the table and are eager to adapt it to a diverse range of products and problems.
The successful candidate will be engaged in general responsibilities and at least one specialized role:
  • General Responsibilities
    • Collaboratively develop complex and consistent linguistic analyses
    • Pilot new label sets to test their feasibility
    • Determine quality standards for annotation
    • Annotate language data with linguistic information
    • Curate large amounts of annotated data by analyzing annotations, comparing annotations to guidelines, and building gold analyses
  • Specialized Roles
    • An Ontology Manager to create and revise hierarchical label sets for natural language based on the needs of the product team
    • A Tools Developer to generate tools for data annotation, data storage, and quality evaluation with an eye towards long-term development
    • A Data Quality Engineer to monitor data collection, compile statistics, and ensure data quality.
    • A Technical Writer to distill complex concepts and group consensus into accessible guidelines
    • A Grammar Developer to write regular expressions and Context-Free Grammars for data validation, named entity recognition, information extraction, etc.
    • A Dialog Generator to conceptualize and create systems for Natural Language Generation
    • An Assistant Designer to connect linguistic analyses and system APIs to provide a smooth user experience

  • Academic degree in Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Language Technologies, or related field
  • Interest and experience in various areas of linguistics, including pragmatics, semantics, syntax, morphology, phonology, phonetics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and field work
  • Ability to formulate, articulate, and describe concepts and hypotheses that are broad enough to capture high-level concepts and specific enough to formalize as rules
  • Collaborative and solution-oriented attitude
  • Eagerness to learn new skills and adapt to a changing environment
  • Strong problem solving and analytical skills
  • Enthusiasm for detail work and ability to focus for significant portions of the work day
  • Experience with basic programming techniques and familiarity with languages such as Python, PHP, Perl, and C++
  • Ability to speak and write in English fluently and idiomatically
Preferred Qualifications
  • Advanced degree and/or industry experience
  • Fluency in two or more natural languages
  • Experience with Python
  • Experience working with large ontologies and label sets
  • Familiarity with version control, unit tests, and other programming best practices


Academic degree in Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Language Technologies, or related field (Required)

Advanced degree and/or industry experience (Preferred)
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