Computational Linguistics (sometimes called Natural Language Processing) is the use of computers to study language. On the course, you will be able to study: • How to use Python and the well-established NLTK library to process natural language texts; • How to analyse real language usage; • How to automatically translate text using computer programs; • The use of computers to study features of language; • Translation tools such as translation memory systems; • Computer techniques for automatically classifying natural language texts; • Understand how Siri, Amazon Echo and Google Home etc. work; • How to design an experiment that will thoroughly test your research questions.
When studied full-time, this course comprises of three semesters worth 60 credits each. Three modules will be studied in semesters one and two. During the third semester, students will undertake their research project and complete a 15,000 word dissertation on any aspect of Computational Linguistics.
The course covers all aspects of Computational Linguistics in line with current and leading work in research and industry, and is divided into the following taught modules: 1. Computer programming in Python 2. Corpus Linguistics in R 3. Machine translation and other natural language processing applications 4. Computational Linguistics 5. Translation tools for professional translators 6. Machine learning for language processing 7. Research methods and professional skills
Translation Tools for Professional Translators is an elective module that may be chosen in the Second Semester to replace another taught module for those students who are interested in pursuing careers in Translation.
Assessments will include writing assignments on given topics, reports on practical work carried out in the class, portfolios, projects, oral presentations, and tests. The culmination of the study programme will be your 15,000-word dissertation, which will allow you to carry out an in-depth study of a chosen topic within the areas of corpus linguistics, language teaching, lexicography, or translation.
What skills will I gain?
The practical sessions include working with tools and software and developing programs based on the material taught in the lectures, allowing you to apply the technical skills you are learning. Some of the tasks are group based, feeding into the collaboration aspect of blended learning which enhances team-working skills, and some are done individually. Through portfolio building, you will be able to share your learning with other students. You will also be able to enhance your employability by sharing your online portfolio with prospective employers. Some assessments will require you to present your work to the rest of the class, enabling you to develop your presentation skills, which are useful in both academia and industry. Other transferable skills are the abilities to structure your thoughts, present your ideas clearly in writing and prepare texts for a wider audience. You will acquire these skills through assessed report and essay writing, and most of all through writing your dissertation.
Graduates of this course will be well-placed to continue their academic/research careers by applying for PhD positions within RIILP or at other leading centres for language and information processing. This degree will also enable graduates to access research and development positions within the language processing and human language technology industries, as well as in related areas such as translation, software development and information and communication technologies, depending on their specific module choices and dissertation topic. It should be noted that computer programming is a skill that is increasingly sought after by many companies from technological backgrounds and skills gained from this course will place graduates in a good position to take up such posts. Past graduates from this course have also gone on to successful careers specifically within the computer programming industry.
"This course allowed me to see all the potential of Natural Language Processing - my favourite topic was Corpus Linguistics."
"I would recommend this course to people interested in linguistics or languages in general to show them that linguistics can also be paired with Computer Science and to those interested in Computer Science, for it could show them a new application to Computer Science."
"I would recommend this course to the individuals who seek to increase their knowledge of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. People who want to understand how, say, SIRI works, should join this course."
"Thanks to this course, I know what I want to do in the future; I want to be a Professor of Corpus Linguistics. I have several opportunities for a PhD in the US. I also learnt how to use a few programming languages, which is of great importance nowadays if one wants to find a job."