Linguists in tech: closing the skills gap

The second Swiss multiplier event – 21-22 April 2023

Picture of Carouge, Geneva

Image by Emilie Berthouzoz


The Geneva multiplier event is the second event organized in Switzerland by the UPSKILLS project. Its goal is to bring together members of academia and companies across Switzerland to work on improving employability of language and linguistics students.


Many companies, including technology giants, work with language data and the demand for research skills in language-related domains is constantly growing. Language and Linguistics students, however, are generally excluded from this lively job market due to the fact that the relevant University curricula do not provide adequate training in a narrow range of technical domains. After the identification of these gaps in the educational system, the UPSKILLS project created an open source repository of didactic material designed to bridge the mismatch between what the job market needs and what is currently offered to Language and Linguistics students.

The event will present the needs analysis that led to the planification and design of the didactic material and an overview of the contents and games created by the UPSKILLS consortium. The event will revolve around several social moments to favor informal exchanges between guests from the industry world and the academic community.


The event will take place on the 21st and 22nd of April 2023 at the University of Geneva. The event will start at lunchtime on Friday, with registration from 1pm to 2pm, and will end at 4pm on Saturday.


The event is hosted by the UPSKILLS Movetia teams, the University of Geneva (Margherita Pallottino, Genoveva Puskas) & the University of Zurich (Tanja Samardžić, Marie Berthouzoz). The event is organised in collaboration with CLARIN-CH, which is the national node of European CLARIN.

Contact details: and


Geneva, Uni Mail building, room M 2160 (second floor). From Cornavin station (main train station), take tram number 15 towards Grand-Lancy/Palettes and get off at Uni Mail (5 stops, about 10 minutes).


The application is free of charge and is now available via the following link:


Anyone is welcome to take part in the event, regardless of whether they are part of academia, the private sector, or simply interested in the topic.


21st of April 2023

13:00 – 14:00   Registration (University of Geneva, Uni Mail building, M 2160)

14:00 – 15:15   Welcome session

Presentation of the Upskills Project and of the program of the event, by Genoveva Puskas and Margherita Pallottino, University of Geneva.

Presentation of the Needs Analysis: language, technology and the future of linguistic professions, by Tanja Samardžić, University of Zurich.

15:15 – 15:45   Coffee break

15:45 – 17:15   Communities and resources

An introduction to CLARIN-CH, by Cristina Grisot

“Lives in Transit” and other tools for gamification, by Leyla Feiner.

The DSI community gaming at the University of Zurich, by Hiloko Kato.

17:15 – 17:30   Coffee break

17:30 18:30   Talk Breaking into industry with a non-STEM degree, by Caterina Bonan.

19:00   Social dinner (the venue will be announced at the meeting)

22nd of April 2023

08:30 – 09:00   Introduction to the UPSKILLS learning material and how to use it, by Genoveva Puskas, University of Geneva.

09:00 – 10:00   Presentation of the learning blocks 1/2

“Start programming with Python in 10 steps”, by Marie Berthouzoz, University of Zurich.

“Collecting data from human participants”, by Marko Simonovich, University of Graz and Tihana Kras, University of Rijeka.

10:00 10:30   Coffee break

10:30 – 11:30   Presentation of the learning blocks 2/2

“The essence of machine learning for linguists in tech”, by Marie Berthouzoz, University of Zurich.

“Upskilling your Introduction to Language variation course”, by Margherita Pallottino, University of Geneva.

11:30 – 12:00   CLARIN-EU for UPSKILLS, by Iulianna Van der Lek.

12:00 – 13:30   Lunch break

13:30 – 14:30   Talk  “From theoretical linguistics to ML engineering”, by Aleksandra Vercauteren, Head of NLP, METAMAZE.

14:30 – 15:30   Round table: What does it take to work in tech today?

Participants: Effi Georgala, Manager II NLP Research at Nuance Communications; Janine Aeberhard, Linguistic Director, TextShuttle; Lonneke Van der Plas, Group Leader at IDIAP, Associate Professor at UM.

Moderator: Caterina Bonan

15:30 – 16:00   Chats and goodbyes

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