What is language technology?
Language Technology (LT) is the late 1990s outgrowth of 40 years of research into natural language processing (NLP), a subfield of artificial intelligence. LT is concerned with the computational processing of human language, whether in spoken or written form, and with the dual aims of easing both interaction with machines and the processing of large amounts of textual information. This translates into applications such as spoken language dialog systems, intelligent Internet search engines, machine translation and automatic text summarisation.
Language Technology is widely recognised as constituting the next major challenge for computing:
- With the business desktop saturated, the ability to communicate easily with intelligent handheld devices and appliances in the home becomes a priority. This requires sophisticated natural language processing as well as speech recognition.
- At the same time, business desktop users need language technology too: for example, the explosion of information on the Internet requires sophisticated techniques for processing text and documents to extract meaning.
These drivers make language technology a critical technology for the 21st century.
To find out more about Language Technology, a good place to start is by browsing this site. You can also consult the following:
- A leaflet about Language Technology, its applications, and the undergraduate units on offer by the Centre for Language Technology.
- The site of the Australasian Language Technology Association (ALTA). It contains a mailing list and further information about language technology in Australia and New Zealand.
- A Survey of the State of the Art in Human Language Technology. You can get a feel for the broad range of issues addressed in language technology research by browsing the contents of this online survey.