One of my dream jobs

BBC has just issued the following recruitment advertisement:


We are pleased to announce a vacancy for a Pronunciation Linguist in

the BBC Pronunciation Unit. The vacancy is for a full-time fixed term

one-year contract to cover maternity leave.

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 28th July 2010. We

expect to conduct interviews on Monday 16th August, and would want the

successful candidate to begin work no later than w/c 13th September.

The BBC can only accept applications from candidates who are eligible

to work in the UK.

For full details of the job, including the specification, competencies

and application form, please visit:

job ref. no. 385939).

Please do circulate these details and encourage any suitable

candidates to apply.

Many thanks

Jo Kim

Pronunciation Linguist and Unit Co-ordinator

Pronunciation Unit, Information & Archives


I think I’ve written before that this is a job that I would be excited about: researching pronunciations and making recommendations to BBC announcers. With so many international channels to run, many of which are news-related , BBC announcers often have to pronounce personal names, place names, brand names, and special terms, from foreign countries. The Pronunciation Unit is responsible for that, and for finding out the pronunciation of new proper names. However, the Pronunciation Unit doesn’t prescribe ‘correct’ pronunciations. Instead, it investigates the pronunciation employed by (native) users or speakers of the term in question, and passes on the result of their investigation to their in-house announcers.

Obviously, they keep a record of the results of their investigations. A few years ago, they published a dictionary containing such results. The dictionary is called the Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation. It’s a very interesting guide to, not every foreign term or proper name in existence, but those that have appeared in its radio and TV programmes. You will even find “Donald Tsang” in this dictionary! If you’re interested in how the Brits say words like “Ikea”, “kung fu”, “Nokia”, “Shenzhen”, etc., this is the reference book to turn to.

For me, researching pronunciations used by people is interesting enough. Imagine a paid job which does exactly that!

Of course, I’m only daydreaming. I may not be eligible to work in the UK. I don’t have the actual experience. But if I volunteered to work for them as an apprentice for one month per year, totally for free, would they consider my proposal?


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