She uses the Russian linguistic-statistical method which, at the most basic level, counts the occurrences of word-stresses in ictic (strong) and non-ictic (weak) positions in lines of verse. From these, "stress profiles" can be built, by which bodies of verse of different periods, authors, genres, and even languages can be compared statistically. In her 2014 book she used twelve parameters of verse analyses including syntactic structure of lines and the use of verse rhythm to emphasize meaning. Tarlinskaja successfully applied her methodology to defining the authorship of questionable Elizabethan poems and plays. Writing in 1981, T.V.F. Brogan called her English Verse: Theory and History "the most extensive and most important study of English verse structure produced in this century."  In 2005 she received the Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award. In "London Times Literary Supplement" Sir Brian Vickers called her "Shakespeare and the Versification of English Drama, 1561-1642" (2014) "the book of the year" .
Tarlinskaja was born in Moscow  and studied at the Foreign Language Institute, Moscow, receiving degrees of kandidat in 1967 and doktor filologicheskikh nauk in 1976, and teaching there from 1969 to 1981.
She emigrated to the United States in 1981, smuggling out a draft of her subsequent work Shakespeare's Verse with the help of her husband, L.K. Coachman. She currently is Professor Emerita in the University of Washington's Linguistics Department. Tarlinskaja is the author of five books and over 200 scholarly articles.
- Tarlinskaja, Marina (1976), English Verse: Theory and History, The Hague: Mouton, ISBN 90-279-3295-6
- Tarlinskaja, Marina (1987), Shakespeare's Verse: Iambic Pentameter and the Poet's Idiocyncrasies, New York: Peter Lang, ISBN 0-8204-0344-X
- Tarlinskaja, Marina (1993), Strict Stress-Meter in English Poetry Compared with German & Russian, Calgary: University of Calgary Press, ISBN 1-895176-17-4
- Tarlinskaja, Marina (2014), Shakespeare and the Versification of English Drama, 1561-1642, Ashgate Pub Co, ISBN 978-1472430281
- Gasparov, M.L. (1996), A History of European Versification, Oxford: Clarendon Press, ISBN 0-19-815879-3
- Brogan 1981, p 281.
- Tarlinskaja 1987, back cover.
- Gasparov 1996, p xi.
- Tarlinskaja 1987, p xiii.
- UW Faculty page  (link retrieved 2014-09-22)
- Brogan, T.V.F. (1981), English Versification, 1570–1980: A Reference Guide With a Global Appendix (Hypertext Edition, 1999 ed.), Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press