Linguist - Ontology

Seattle, WA 98109

Posted: 09/13/2018 Employment Type: Contract Industry: Software Developer Job Number: 22915

We are looking for linguists to help develop the data infrastructure for Natural Language systems. Our team is responsible for collecting language data, creating targeted labeling systems for a variety of downstream uses, writing clear guidelines for annotation, ensuring the quality of labeled data, and writing the software tools to process, evaluate, display, and distribute the data.

We need linguists who understand language as data, who think analytically and systematically, and who can develop and evaluate ways of capturing linguistic generalizations that are precise, concise, and implementable. 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, 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, can passionately argue a position without rancor, and quickly agree on the most optimal solutions to language data problems.

If you know that 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
  • 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 and author clear guidelines so that others can do the same
  • 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 create tools for data annotation, data storage, and quality evaluation with an eye towards the long-term
  • 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.

  • 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, computational linguistics, 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
  • Familiarity with version control, unit tests, and other programming best practices

  • Advanced degree and/or industry experience

Maxwell McIlwaine

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