I start this introductory chapter with a reflection on the social meanings of ‘wordsmith’ before situating the volume vis-à-vis critical discourse scholarship and critical sociolinguistic scholarship on the political economies of language/s and the often-exploitative practices of language work. The current volume, I explain, offers a valuable new perspective by surfacing the language work of elite, often more privileged language workers – many of whom have received little or no attention to date, or whose core wordsmithery has been overlooked. Here, I also include linguists as academic language workers. I offer a more extensive academic framing along these lines, touching on the commodification of language in contemporary life, the centrality of language work, the limitations (in terms of scope and analysis) of much workplace discourse research, and the potential for a more reflexive engagement by linguists with other professional language workers. I then offer a potted overview of the volume – its three parts and twelve substantive chapters. In finishing, I consider the documentary film Being George Clooney which surfaces the often fraught, unstable work of international dubbing artists. I use this film to point to two issues: the limitations of too-neatly demarcating language workers; and the semiotic ideologies by which language itself is appraised and language work thereby (de)valued.