Linguistics and English Language

What our students say

Find out what our graduates have to say

Simon Hammond

Simon Hammond

Graduated: MSc Speech & Language Processing (2010)

Occupation: Works for Appen Butler Hill, a company who provide corpora and training materials for speech and language technology

"An absolutely fascinating programme - a good mix of linguistics and computer science."

Programme reflections

The MSc in Speech and Language Processing was an absolutely fascinating programme - a good mix of linguistics and computer science, almost all of it aimed at direct practical applications, in contrast with some more theoretical research fields. Several of the courses were quite difficult for a linguist with no computational background, but the programme provided good support for these gaps.

Career path

The MSc gave me useful background to move from my position as a transcription supervisor to a more technical role working with language models and programming scripts for commercial use.

It provided me with valuable insights into how the data produced by my company are used, and gave me a solid grounding to take into industry.

Laura Jehl

Laura Jehl

Graduated: MSc Speech & Language Processing (2010)

Occupation: Researcher at the Department of Computational Linguistics at Heidelberg University

"I was really amazed at how much I had learned in just one year."

Programme reflections

The programme was a roller-coaster ride through the current technologies and issues in speech and language processing, never really slowing down. There was a focus on applications but the theoretical background was also not neglected. Assignments provided helpful hands-on experience. I was really amazed at how much I had learned in just one year.

The MSc opened up a new career path for me and has introduced me to an influential community of researchers, which has been very helpful in getting a PhD position.

Career path

Right after graduating from Edinburgh University I spent seven months working as an intern and later as a full-time employee for VICO Research & Consulting GmbH, a German agency offering market research as well as consulting with respect to social media/web 2.0.

As a computational linguist, my main task was to adapt and improve automatic text mining software. I was also involved in project management and customer relations.

In April 2011 I started work as a researcher at the department of computational linguistics at Heidelberg University, Germany. I will be working on a PhD dissertation in the field of machine translation and search technologies.

Noemie Guthmann

Noemie Guthmann

Graduated: MSc Speech & Language Processing (2006)

Occupation: Researcher at Verint, an analytics company

"The programme offers a plethora of courses and research directions which enable each and every one to follow his interest."

Programme reflections

This has been the most condensed, fruitful and inspiring academic training I'd ever experienced. It was both highly challenging and rewarding at the same time. Working with top notch researchers in the field while learning about state-of-the-art tools and methods provided a solid background and opened the door before me to working in the language technology industry. The programme offers a plethora of courses and research directions which enable each and every one to follow his interest. It is directed towards people coming from various academic and professional backgrounds, further enriching the experience from a personal perspective since much of the work naturally occurs in study groups.

Career path

I came across this programme as I wished to further pursue a career in Computational Linguistics after working as a Treebank corpus annotator.

Since the MSc, I have worked as a Quality Assurance Engineer and a Software Engineer in NLP R&D groups (first at Thomson Reuters, then at Verint where I currently work). I have been involved in the research and development of rule-based and machine learning based entity extraction engines, as well as various other NLP-related projects such as document classification and topic extraction.

Noemie Guthmann's LinkedIn page

Evia Kainada

Evia Kainada

Graduated: MSc Speech & Language Processing (2005)

Occupation: Post-doctoral researcher at the University of Ioannina, Greece and Teaching Fellow at the Technological Educational Institute of Patras, Greece.

"It is a degree that offers a feeling of great satisfaction and of personal achievement!"

Programme reflections

The advantages of this programme can hardly be described in a few words: it is interdisciplinary at its core (it belongs in two departments - Linguistics and Informatics), it is staffed by some of the best researchers/lecturers in the field who teach state-of-the-art modules, and it offers tremendous support to the students (academic and personal).

The MSc is demanding thereby ensuring high-level performance, and importantly it is an extremely exciting programme. Every module is interesting and new and there is not a single assignment that doesn't require new ways of thinking and working.

It has been great fun being part of the MSc in SLP! My classmates and I bonded very much and we are still (6 years down the road) in regular contact. Moreover, we are still in regular contact with the lecturers of the programme; my experience showed me that the commitment of the lecturers to support the students of the MSc in SLP extends beyond the 12 months of attendance of the degree, since they are always there for help and guidance. It is a degree that offers a feeling of great satisfaction and of personal achievement!

Career path

Immediately after finishing my MSc I enrolled for a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. After finishing my PhD I worked for a year as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Leeds, after which I moved to Greece where I currently work as a Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Ioannina, and as a Teaching Fellow at the Technological Educational Institute of Patras.

The MSc allowed me the opportunity to continue my career in ways I couldn't have if I hadn't attended it. First of all, after attending the MSc I was granted an ESRC scholarship, without which I wouldn't have been able to follow a PhD.

Secondly, the programming, research methods and statistical skills I gained during that year allowed me to pursue my career in Laboratory Phonology, meaning I could combine my theoretical background on Linguistics with the computational side of speech processing.

Importantly, however, it allowed me to exist in two research fields at the same time, i.e. theoretical and experimental linguistics.

Dr Evia Kainada's webpage

Gabriel Murray

Gabriel Murray

Graduated: MSc Speech & Language Processing (2004)

Occupation: Post-doc at the University of British Columbia

"It was an exhilarating experience and I probably learned more that year than any other year of my academic life."

Programme reflections

The MSc programme was certainly an intense year; the programme coordinator was telling the truth when he predicted at the beginning of the year that it would be like "taking a brief drink from a fire hose." It was an exhilarating experience and I probably learned more that year than any other year of my academic life.

The SLP programme was fantastic preparation for my PhD and my post-doc work. The instructors did a great job of making the material accessible to students from a wide variety of backgrounds. My MSc research project segued smoothly into my PhD research and I felt I really hit the ground running.

Due to the intensity of the MSc programme, the cohort of students became very close that year. Most of us are still in touch and I know that others have gone on to very successful careers.

Career path

I completed the MSc Speech & Language Processing programme in 2004. I then continued on at Edinburgh for my PhD in the School of Informatics. After finishing my PhD in 2007, I started a post-doc position at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where I am still working today.

Tim Mills

Tim Mills

Graduated: MSc Speech & Language Processing (2003)

Occupation: Research Associate at Northeastern University

"An essential foundation, both for my CV and for the on-the-ground skills I use every day"

Programme reflections

The programme was intense, but lots of fun. There was a good group spirit among the MSc students - we encouraged each other through the tough bits.

Career path

Now I'm working on a post-doc bridging linguistics, speech synthesis, and speech therapy. Much of what I've done since, including my current job, relies directly on what I learned in the MSc. It was an essential foundation, both for my CV and for the on-the-ground skills I use every day.

Tim Mills' LinkedIn page

Annika Hämäläinen

Annika Hamalainen

Graduated: MSc Speech & Language Processing (2002)

Occupation: Consultant at Loquendo, a leading speech technology company

"…fun and hands-on, with lots of coursework and practicals…"

Programme reflections

The MSc was hard work but packed us with the essentials of a wide variety of related topics. The courses were fun and hands-on, with lots of coursework and practicals to learn the necessary practical skills, as well.

Career path

After the MSc, I went on to do a PhD, for which the MSc and the five-month research project were excellent preparation. During and after my PhD, I worked for some of the market leaders in the field of speech technology, Nuance and Loquendo, in consultancy roles that built directly on the knowledge and skills that I gained at Edinburgh. I am now doing a postdoc at the Microsoft Language Development Centre.

Annika Hämäläinen LinkedIn page

Pepi Stavropoulou

Pepi Stavropoulou

Graduated: MSc Speech & Language Processing (2002)

Occupation: Head of Natural Language Research & Development at Omilia

"…a well organized, fascinating programme that helped me gain hands-on experience…"

Programmee reflections

I have always felt that Edinburgh was the place to be! State of the art modules taught by leaders in the field covering almost every key aspect in computational linguistics. Overall a well organized, fascinating programme that helped me gain hands-on experience on cutting edge technologies that proved extremely useful in my professional work. Definitely one of the best choices I've ever made.

Career path

After the MSc I worked for a few years as a research associate at the Department of Informatics at the University of Athens. I am now head of Natural Language R&D at Omilia, a company specializing in natural language spoken dialogue systems.

Pepi Stavropoulou's LinkedIn page

Christophe Van Bael

Christophe Van Bael

Graduated: MSc Speech & Language Processing (2002)

Occupation: Business Consultant

"The programme was challenging at times, but it was inspiring and rewarding throughout"

Programme reflections

I experienced the programme like a boot camp for the brain. It was hard for sure, but never before and never after have I learned so many things in such a short period of time. It was an inspiring experience throughout.

Above all, my year in Edinburgh has sharpened my analytical skills, my perseverance and my belief that anything can be achieved with hard work. It has helped me greatly with my PhD, and I still benefit from it in my consulting work today.

Career path

I started a PhD in Speech Technology at the Radboud University Nijmegen. Along the road, I got a teaching degree and I organized tutorials and classes on speech technology and computational linguistics.

Currently, I'm a business consultant. I help companies improve their customer service and customer loyalty by giving advice in the areas of customer experience management, social CRM, inbound marketing and contact centre optimization (with and without speech technology).

Christophe Van Bael's Blog

Dan Faulkner

Daniel Faulkner

Graduated: MSc Speech & Language Processing (1997)

Occupation: Senior VP at Nuance (Manager of Voice & Language Development)

"I don't think it would have been possible [to move into the speech industry] without the MSc."

Programme reflections

The Masters in Speech & Language Processing at Edinburgh University made it possible for me to move into the speech industry - I don't think it would have been possible without the MSc. The programme introduced me to many fundamental concepts in speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, speech processing, data analysis and problem solving that I use frequently in my work.

Career path

When I left Edinburgh I joined a small digital connectivity company as a Computational Spoken Language Scientist to create a concatenative diphone TTS voice for a new UK English TTS system.

From that job in England I moved to the USA and became Head of Core Technology for TTS at SpeechWorks. When SpeechWorks merged with ScanSoft (Nuance) I moved to Belgium, where I am now the Manager of Voice & Language Development.

Daniel Faulkner's LinkedIn page