An internship is a way to explore career options, network, and add some relevant work experience to your resume. The Career Development Center has hundreds of local internship listings. Linguist List maintains a linguistics-specific internship registry. Also, some businesses and organizations that do not offer a formal internship program may be happy to accept you as an unpaid intern if you approach them and volunteer.
Below are a few organizations that offer linguistics-related internships or volunteer opportunities. Please note that the Linguistics Department cannot vouch for them; these links are provided just to get you started on your search.
- The Institute for Creative Technologies, a research institute of USC, offers paid summer internships in Playa Vista. Usually a few are linguistics-related; some but not all require programming skills.
- The Natural Language group at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI), also part of USC, offers paid summer internships in Marina Del Ray. Programming skills are a must.
- Alelo is a commercial spinoff of ISI, located east of Marina del Rey. Their website says “Internships welcome!”
- The Center for Language and Speech Processing at Johns Hopkins has research workshops, including paid undergraduate positions, most summers.
- Other internships sometimes pop up on the Association for Computational Linguistics site.
- Lots of open software communities are interested in localization volunteers, such as Mozilla, Fedora, and Open Office. This can be a first step for someone with language skills but limited computer skills.
- The Linguistic Data Consortium offers part-time jobs in corpus development.
- One can occasionally find volunteer opportunities in corpus annotation, such as Quranic Arabic Corpus or Open Corpus (in Russian).
Language documentation / revitalization
- Living Tongues Institute
- The Rosetta Project
- Cultural Survival
- Language Hunters
- The Language Conservancy
- Where are your keys?
- Endangered Languages Project
- LEX America / Language Research Foundation
- Linguist List
- These nonprofits don’t specifically mention volunteer opportunities, but you could ask: The International Research Foundation for English Language Education, Institute for Language and Education Policy, LENA Foundation, Indigenous Language Institute, Endangered Language Alliance, Lakota Language Consortium.
- Appen Butler Hill recruits bilinguals for short-term freelance projects.
- The American Translators Association offers a mentoring program.
- The PanLex Project is building some kind of translation database, and recruits volunteers to work from home.
- The CIA has paid language and other internships (for which you must apply about 8-12 months in advance).
- The National Security Agency offers a paid Summer Language Program, for which you must apply by November 15.
- The FBI offers unpaid internships for language students.
- The State Department is another possible source of paid and unpaid internships where language skills could be useful.
- The Boren Awards fund language study and study abroad.
- The National Science Foundation has a program called Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), where undergrads do paid internships on NSF projects. Some years there may be linguistics projects. They would usually be in the category of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. Natural language processing projects would be in Computer and Information Science and Engineering..
A few university research labs offer their own internships programs, such as:
- The Harvard Laboratory for Developmental Studies
- The Yale Comparative Cognition Laboratory
- The Johns Hopkins Laboratory for Child Development
- The Temple Infant and Child Laboratory
- The Hunter College Language Acquisition Research Center
- The University of Texas Human Abilities in Bilingual Language Acquisition (HABLA)
Other labs may also accept interns if you ask them. Here is a good description of how to approach a lab about an internship.
Examples of companies that offer internships in brand-name creation:
There are also quite a few marketing companies in the L.A. area that do brand-name development; you could approach any of them about internships.
- Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington D.C. has interns work on a variety of projects.
- There are dozens, maybe hundreds of think tanks and institutes that focus on various areas of policy. A student interested in language policy issues (such as bilingual education or minority language rights) might intern at an organization like the The Migration Policy Institute, the Institute for Policy Studies, the League of United Latin American Citizens, or the Manhattan Institute (which employs linguist John McWhorter). A student with a more international focus might look at the Center for World Indigenous Studies, Organization of American States, Amazon Watch, etc. These are just a sampling; you can find longer lists at other sites. Find an institute whose politics agree with your own, and explain in your application what you can offer them as a linguist.