Forensic Linguist

Scrutinize writing to find clues to criminal cases.

Quick Stats


Outlook
Good

Salary Range
$43,000 – $116,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Forensic Linguists do?

According to the court system, a suspect is innocent until proven guilty. Lawyers, Prosecutors, and Police Officers are all in charge of creating a case that will hopefully allow the truth of the crime to come out. While creating a case, they often use the help of experts, like Fingerprint Technicians or Handwriting Experts, who can tell them more about one specific piece of the case. A Forensic Linguist is one of those experts whose work helps solve crimes.

As a Forensic Linguist, you’re obsessed with words, whether written or spoken. If there’s ever a question about the way things were said or worded, a Forensic Linguist is called in to offer expert opinion and help make sense of it all.

The purpose of your job is to analyze and examine the way words are used by the accused or victim. For example, you may listen to a 911 call to verify who called and judge whether or not they were as upset as they claim. Or, you can analyze the syntax of a suicide note to see if it was truly written by the victim rather than someone who wants to cover up the crime.

You can be involved in any type of criminal case you can think of. For example, you may explain the meaning of a word in a labor contract, clarify the intentions of a will, or examine key phrases to determine forgeries. You can detect plagiarism of a written work, or even interview victims to determine the validity of their story.

When not in court, many Forensic Linguists work as Professors at local colleges or universities. You can also provide general education to police departments, Lawyers, and other professionals in the legal field.


Should I be a Forensic Linguist?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Metaphysicist

    How to become a Forensic Linguist

    We recommend at least a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's. Check out these schools offering Forensic Linguist-related education!
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