What it means to be a Career Linguist

imageThis post is written by guest blogger Patrick Goodridge a linguist, language teacher, and writer based in Philadelphia, PA. Read more about Patrick below or on the Career Linguist guest bloggers page where you can also learn about being a guest blogger for Career Linguist yourself!!


Career Linguist is a truly unique creation, designed to organize professionally-minded linguists, to represent and actively advance their interests. The site is the brainchild of Dr. Anne Marie Trester, whose pioneering vision is of linguists adopting a greater role in the modern world, especially within domains beyond academia. This is a vision that has resonated with me since I discovered Career Linguist around this time last year, and I feel fortunate to have happened upon it at such a decisive juncture in my own career. I look forward to many others being similarly inspired, perhaps even as a result of my own work on the site.

The notion of a “career linguist” is a unique concept. So much so, in fact, that its definition is remains open, subjective in the mind of every linguist who wishes to apply her or his linguistic knowledge in commerce, government, and public affairs. The more I’ve written for the site and learned from my colleagues’ content, the more I’ve begun to discover the “career linguist” in me, and the potential of this idea to transform the lives of language enthusiasts everywhere. Ultimately, the idea can transform the world. That is why I am proud to call myself a “career linguist”, and why the term has taken on a distinctly profound meaning in my life.

To me, being a career linguist means committing myself to applying my linguistic expertise for the benefit of the world. It means thinking like a linguist in whatever professional position I find myself, and drawing on my theoretical knowledge of language to tackle real-world problems. Career linguists are a special breed, shaped from traditions of both technical finesse and verbal art. Our uniqueness serves us in finding uniquely creative contributions to humanity. In sum, being a career linguist means sharing linguistics with the world through professional outlets. It is indeed being a linguist, but with a little something extra, an edge, a pragmatism about our craft.

The reason Career Linguist and its mission mean so much to me is because I have never felt that critical analysis of language should be limited to academia. It should be applied, whether such application be to human problems or to human enrichment. I think Dr. Trester would agree that our world is one with communication at its core, fueled by global advancements in technology and interconnectedness. We at Career Linguist recognize the primacy of linguistics in such a world, and the site represents a significant step forward in advancing the lives of career linguists everywhere.


Thank you Patrick for sharing your vision and your passion with the Career Linguist community!! I know that I was inspired by the post, and I hope that others will be as well (do let us know, we love to hear these kinds of stories!)


Join us for stories around the Campfire series Fridays at 1pm PST / 4pm EST, starting this week – Friday September 1st – where we will pose the question: “What pressing questions are we/ should we linguists be addressing in the world?”

Here’s our schedule so far:

September 1 – Abby Bajuniemi: Research, Design, Strategist, Speaker, and Linguist (recently profiled on Superlinguo)

September 8 – Nick Gaylord: Data Scientist (see his blog at PhDeli)

September 16 – Greg Bennett: UX Researcher (find him on LinkedIn)

September 22 – Kathryn Ticknor: Linguistics Researcher focused on Health (find her on Twitter at @ticktalkco )

September 29 – Serena Williams: Localization, Data Quality manager at Avantpage