In 1985, an evidently exasperated Fred Jelinek exclaimed “Every time we fire a phonetician / linguist, the performance of our system goes up”. While linguists working in tech may have gotten off to a rough start, big tech companies are now actively recruiting linguists, and not just computational linguists! But how can linguistics graduates compete for such positions? This talk addresses how academic approaches to linguistics translate to real-world, ongoing work in industry. From the syntactic and semantic underpinnings of Natural Language Processing to the statistical foundations of Machine Learning, linguistics has clear applications for ubiquitous language technologies. The talk will also provide concrete steps that linguistics students can take to make themselves competitive for enriching, well-paid jobs in tech.

Presenter: Chris Stewart (Google)