Linguist - Phonetics

Seattle, WA 98109

Posted: 10/03/2018 Employment Type: Contract Industry: Data Analyst, Other Area(s) Job Number: 23014

We are looking for linguists to help develop the data infrastructure for ASR and TTS systems. Our team is responsible for collecting speech data, evaluating and implementing labeling and transcription systems, preparing and editing scripts for recording sessions, and writing the software tools to process, display, distribute, and ensure the quality of the data.

We need linguists who understand language as data, who think analytically and systematically, who are familiar with waveforms and spectrograms, and who can develop and evaluate ways of mapping between spoken and written forms. Candidates should understand the basics of computer programming, have at a minimum written code for processing text files, and be willing and able to learn new programming languages and techniques.

We value expertise in any sub-field of linguistics (knowledge of phonetics is required), expect a passion for the scientific study of language, and require research experience that includes an understanding of the scientific method and experimental design. We are seeking new colleagues who work well on teams, are open to different viewpoints, and can quickly agree on the most optimal solutions to speech data problems.

If you know that speech and language data is the underpinning of all current language technologies, if you love practical language analysis as well as theoretical, and if you are ready to adapt your unique skill set to a diverse range of products and problems, then this may be the job for you!

The successful candidate will be engaged in general responsibilities and at least one specialized role.
General Responsibilities
  • Evaluate speech data for dialectal variation
  • Phonetically transcribe speech data
  • Determine quality standards for annotation
  • Collect phonetically balanced data sets
  • Build and/or pilot software tools for data evaluation and management

Specialized Roles
  • Phonetics Lead to manage projects with varying team members, coordinate project requirements across customer needs, organize work to meet deadlines, thoroughly evaluate design choices, integrate projects with  codebase, and disseminate results to improve team visibility
  • An ASR Phonetician  to create and perfect both text normalization and inverse text normalization processes from start to finish, including data cleaning, mapping, and ensuring appropriate casing and punctuation
  • TTS Phonetician  to ensure high-quality label alignments, oversee POS tagger results, manage quantitative user research studies, acquire and evaluate corpora for TTS modeling
  • Voice Designer to prepare dialect-targeted scripts for data elicitation, coach and record voice talent, review speech files for quality, accuracy, and consistency
  • Tools Developer  to create tools for data annotation, data storage, and quality evaluation with an eye towards the long-term
  • Data Quality Engineer  to monitor data collection, compile statistics, and ensure data quality

  • Academic degree in Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Speech Science, or related field
  • Interest and experience in various areas of linguistics, especially phonology, phonetics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, computational linguistics, and field work
  • Proficiency in transcription and annotation systems such as SAMPA, IPA, and  ToBi
  • Ability to analyze waveforms and spectrograms for phonetic features
  • 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 and platforms such as Praat, Python, SQL, PHP, Hack, JavaScript, and React
  • 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
  • Familiarity with version control, unit tests, and  other programming  best practices


Preferred Qualifications
  • Advanced degree and/or industry experience
  • Fluency in two or more natural languages
  • Familiarity with version control, unit tests, and  other programming  best practices
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