This webinar focuses on the skills necessary to make the switch to tech, the linguistics subfields that are in demand currently and the sometimes surprising ways in which linguists use their training in related tech fields. Speakers include both trained linguists and computer scientists who work with linguists, lending a practical lens from which to view the utility of linguistics in the world of tech. Participants will learn to see their training, skills and shortcoming through the lens of the tech world and, in so doing, better understand how to effectively pursue meaningful work therein.

View a recording of the webinar.

View handouts from the webinar (to come).

This webinar was organized by the LSA's “Linguistics Beyond Academia” Special Interest Group. Past webinars on the subject, like this one, have aimed to show the professional possibilities afforded by a linguistics degree.

The webinar took place on Friday, May 31 from 3:00 - 4:30 PM U.S. Eastern Daylight Time.



Cristopher Stewart of the LSA"s Linguistics Beyond Academia Special Interest Group organized this panel and will moderate it. Stewart earned a Ph.D. in French Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009. He spent 4 years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas-Arlington, then worked at Nuance Communications Text-to-Speech R&D in Belgium for 2 years. After two stints as a Senior Data Scientist, he is now at Google working as an Analytical Linguist in the Ads Human Evaluation and Experimental Design team.


Nancy Chang (Senior Research Scientist, Google)


Nancy Chang is a research scientist seeking meaningful ways of making natural language technologies more natural, currently in the context of intelligent assistants with conversational interfaces. More broadly, Nancy aims to bridge gaps between theory and practice by building models of language structure, use and learning that draw on insights from the study of (natural and artificial) cognition, language, knowledge and learning.



José Miguel Montoro Costela (Computational Linguist, Apple)

José Costela works in language engineering at Apple working in the Siri team. His background in Linguistics allows him to solve text and voice-related challenges for a product that is used worldwide. He is passionate about technology, and especially about the intersection of language and emerging tech. He previously operated an online language learning business at, for which he developed and launched original course content, designed and delivered one-on-one training and built a community of 300+ language enthusiasts.


Justin Rill (Linguist, Facebook)

Justin Rill is a linguist currently working at Facebook within the Assistant ENG team. His work focuses on the areas of natural language understanding (NLU) and machine learning.


Kenia Cubias (Computational Linguist, Apple via WeLocalize)


Kenia Cubias is a Computational Linguist at Apple with a focus on localization projects for Siri's Latin American and US markets. She works with building and curating lexicons for speech recognition and text-to-speech systems. She has previously worked as a translator while in graduate school and her background has served her in understanding user intent when investigating and debugging linguistic errors. While new to the tech industry she can attest to the immense growth that one experiences when transitioning from one area to the next, and she's keen on encouraging others to not shy away from doing so as well. 




Letânia Ferreira (Customer Success Engineer, Rollbar)


Letânia is currently a Customer Success Engineer at Rollbar. After over a decade working as an academic researcher and professor focusing on Romance Linguistics, she decided to invest some time to improve her coding abilities. Initially, she did this to facilitate data extraction and analysis for her research but she soon fell in love with programming. She sees many commonalities between programming and linguistics and she is currently working toward becoming a full-fledged Software Engineer.