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Linguist - “Phonetics"

The World's Largest Social Network

Seattle, WA and Menlo Park, CA

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Expected Salary
$50 - $53 per hour
Job Description

HireArt is looking to hire a Linguist - “Phonetics" specialist to work on-site at our client’s Menlo Park offices on a contract basis. There is also potential for this position to be based in Seattle.

In this role, you’ll help develop the data infrastructure for text-to-speech (TTS) and automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems. You’ll work closely with a team responsible for collecting speech data, evaluating and implementing labeling and transcription systems, preparing and editing scripts for recording sessions, and writing the software tools to process, display, distribute, and ensure the quality of the data. 

We’re looking for Linguists who understand language as data, who think analytically and systematically, who are familiar with waveforms and spectrograms, and who can develop and evaluate ways of mapping between spoken and written forms. 

Candidates should also 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. 

Expertise in any sub-field of linguistics is valuable (knowledge of phonetics is required), along with a passion for the scientific study of language, and research experience that includes an understanding of the scientific method and experimental design. 

If you know that speech and 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: 

  • Evaluate speech data for dialectal variation.
  • Phonetically transcribe speech data.
  • Determine quality standards for annotation.
  • Collect phonetically balanced data sets.
  • Build and/or pilot software tools for data evaluation and management.

Current need for specialized roles:

  • A Phonetics Lead to manage projects with varying team members, coordinate project requirements across customer needs, organize work to meet deadlines, thoroughly evaluate design choices, integrate projects with the Facebook codebase, and disseminate results to improve team visibility.
  • An ASR Phonetician to create and perfect both text normalization and inverse text normalization processes from start to finish, including data cleaning, mapping, and ensuring appropriate casing and punctuation.
  • A TTS Phonetician to ensure high-quality label alignments, oversee POS tagger results, manage quantitative user research studies, acquire and evaluate corpora for TTS modeling.
  • A Voice Designer to prepare dialect-targeted scripts for data elicitation, coach and record voice talent, review speech files for quality, accuracy, and consistency.
  • A Tools Developer to create tools for data annotation, data storage, and quality evaluation with an eye towards the long-term.
  • Academic degree in Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Speech Science, or related 
  • Interest and experience in various areas of linguistics, especially phonology, phonetics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, computational linguistics, and field work
  • Proficient in transcription and annotation systems such as SAMPA, IPA, and ToBi
  • Able to analyze waveforms and spectrograms for phonetic features
  • Experience with basic programming techniques and platforms such as Praat, Python, SQL, PHP, Hack, JavaScript, and React
  • Collaborative and solution-oriented attitude
  • Eagerness to learn new skills and adapt to a changing environment
  • Enthusiasm for detail work and ability to focus for significant portions of the work day
  • Strong problem-solving and analytical skills

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

Commitment: This is a full-time, 12-month contract position based in Menlo Park, CA or Seattle, WA. 

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