Also known as
- Dictionary Editor
As a Lexicographer, you will be writing dictionaries for online use and for publication.
You will do a lot of research into the meaning of each word by looking at:
- the internet
For each word in the dictionary, you will make sure that it is still the correct meaning. You will also look at any new entries from the English language and use your expertise to decide whether it should be a valid entry into the new dictionary.
Once you have these new entries, you will enter them into a database keeping the most up-to-date records. You might also have to translate these entries into different languages.
Lexicographers also write for:
- specialist textbooks
- specialist journals
- dictionaries for people learning English as a second language
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Lexicographer, you will need to be:
- to be confident and enthusiastic
- able to understand ideas and express them clearly in writing
- able to keep up to date with new media
- prepared to accept criticism and the frustration of having your work changed
- able to work under pressure to meet deadlines
- good at English grammar, punctuation and spelling
- good with IT
- researching new entries and ideas
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate:
- Starting: £22,500 - £24,500
- With experience: £25,500 - £27,500
- Senior Lexicographers earn £29,000 - £31,000
Hours of work
Lexicographers usually work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, long and irregular hours are often required as deadlines approach. Self-employment or freelance work is possible for experienced Lexicographers.
Where could I work?
- Oxford University Press
Opportunities for Lexicographers occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Experienced people could work independently as self-employed, freelance Lexicographers.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, in magazines such as Campaign (available online), on job boards and employers' websites, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
Generally, you need a degree to become a Lexicographer. Some entrants have a degree in a subject like English language and linguistics.
Many employers prefer to hire a team rather than an individual Lexicographer.
Training is usually provided on-the-job.
If you would like some more training, then Lexicom offer a course in lexicography and lexical computing. By the end of the course, you would have learnt:
- introduction to lexicography and lexical computing
- translation and bilingual issues
- how to write and evaluate definitions
- effects of digital dictionary policies
- how to use key word extraction
This course could give you that great first step into Lexicography!
Other courses could be available in your area.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
Previous experience working for a publishing company such as a Proofreader or Editor would be really useful for this career.
Some Lexicographers start their own agencies where they are self - employed.
Many Lexicographers have a degree in English language or linguistics.
For entry to a degree course, the usual requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
Alternatives to A levels include:
- BTEC level 3 qualifications
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
An excellent standard of English is normally required.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI)
Address: 8 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 01 6765991
Publishing Training Centre (PTC)
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844