Forensic Linguistics. What to do with your language skills? Part 2.

So, we’re back to this topic. After writing my previous article, I came across some interesting language-related professions that I just couldn’t help sharing with you. To those who loved watching CSI, NCIS and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, these jobs will definitely sound exciting!

Forensic linguistics: Also known as legal linguistics or language and law, this branch of applied linguistics studies the use of language throughout the legal process. Topics of interest include: dialectology, the study of slight lexical and grammatical variations in language based on geographical and cultural borders; discourse analysis, where linguists identify content, intent and consistency of a message in a given (forensic) context; forensic stylistics, the identification of patterns in grammar and vocabulary; and forensic phonetics, the analysis of tone of voice, intonation, pitch, and other speech traits. This way, the linguist is able to aid other law professionals by identifying or disqualifying someone as the author of a written or spoken piece of evidence. Forensic linguists also contribute to intellectual property cases, including plagiarism and trademark issues.

If you are interested in becoming a forensic linguist, be prepared for a long preparation period: this profession requires a Bachelor’s degree in Communication or Linguistics and a Master’s degree in Forensic Linguistics, with a total of 6 years of study. Knowledge regarding other languages is also an asset. The reward for all that studying: a paycheck of $70,000 to $100,000 a year, and the possibility of enjoying the benefit of being a government employee.

Court interpreter: If you are fluent in two or more languages, and you find helping others while being in a courtroom interesting, try this job on for size. Education requirements include a Bachelor’s degree and a specialized course or a Master’s degree in Interpretation, depending on the needs of each case or employer. Freelance and full time job opportunities are also available and the annual income comes up to an average of $51,000.

Legal translator: While the court interpreter is responsible for understanding and conveying a message orally in another language, translators are in charge of the (written) translation of legal documents. Since accuracy is very important, legal translators are required to have a working knowledge of legal terminology and an excellent command of both their native and second languages. A Bachelor’s degree is the most common education requirement and the average income adds up to $32,000 a year.

Do you know any other jobs that combine law and linguistics? Tell us about them!


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