Thanks for getting back to me...your additional information was very
helpful in understanding your situation.
I was quite intrigued by your question because computational
linguistics -- some aspects of it, anyway -- is a bit of a hobby of
mine. I've dabbled in something called corpus analytics, and have
some (as yet unrealized) schemes for creating web-based tools for
But...to your questions:
A) I need to have a better idea as to where this field is going in the
future, its possible future for development...
Many technical disciplines create a jargon of their own that is
difficult for anyone not steeped in the field to understand. This is
doubly the case with computational linguistics, since its
interdisciplinary approach combines not only the difficult-to-grasp
languages of both computer technology and linguistics, but also has a
deeply psychologic and philosophical bent that borrows even more
arcana from other fields.
A good place to get a brief overview of the field is the Wikipedia entry on CL:
Computational linguistics is an interdisciplinary field dealing with
the statistical and logical modeling of natural language from a
computational perspective. This modeling is not limited to any
particular field of linguistics. Computational linguistics was
formerly usually done by computer scientists who had specialized in
the application of computers to the processing of a natural language.
Recent research has shown that language is much more complex than
previously thought, so computational linguistics work teams are now
sometimes interdisciplinary, including linguists (specifically trained
in linguistics). Computational linguistics draws upon the involvement
of linguists, computer scientists, experts in artificial intelligence,
cognitive psychologists and logicians, amongst others.
The full article does a nice job of summarizing CL in plain-English
(or at least, close to it), so it's worth a careful read.
Note at the bottom of the article are links to "See Also" topics
elsewhere in Wikipedia, as well as external links to other
non-Wikipedia sites. As you begin to zero in on the aspects of CL
that are of the most interest to you, these links are a good starting
point for further exploration of the topics.
Another brief, excellent and accessible overview article on CL is this one:
WHAT IS COMPUTATIONAL LINGUISTICS?
Several of the sub-topics in CL are of tremendous interest outside of
academia, since the development of so many commercial products
revolves around a facility with understanding and using natural
language. In particular, the following areas have enormous commercial
NIST 2005 Machine Translation Evaluation Official Results
The list of participants here is a nice who's-who of academic and
businesses interested int his topic, including a Japanese research
Spoken Language Communication Research Laboratories
Applications Technology (AppTek), headquartered in McLean, Virginia,
is a U.S. company specializing in software development for human
Reflections of a Human Translator on Machine Translation
The history of machine translation in a nutshell
A good overview, once again, from Wikipedia.
NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING:
SPEECH and LANGUAGE PROCESSING:
An Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Computational
Linguistics, and Speech Recognition
Natural Language Processing
Japanese-German Workshop on Natural Language Processing 2006
[see the list of Japanese researchers working in this area]
Proceedings of the 2000 Speech Transcription Workshop
Japanese Speech Databases for Robust Speech Recognition
...a next-generation speech translation system is under
development towards natural trans-language communication. To
cope with the various requirements to speech recognition
technology for the new system, further research efforts should
emphasize the robustness for large vocabulary, speaking
variations often found in fast spontaneous speech and speaker
Although artificial intelligence isn't really a seb-set of
computational linguistics, it's closely enough related that you should
be aware of this as a concept as well:
WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?
Part of your question hinted at an interest in future commercial
applications of these technologies. A decent framework for
understanding these fields is simply to think of the type of computer
systems one sees in science fiction shows -- everything from Star Trek
and Star Wars, to 2001--A Space Odyssey. Machines that can understand
and talk to humans, 'comprehending' the spoken human voice, and
responding in a natural speaking voice.
This is a feature finding increasing use in computers, cell phones,
GPS systems, automobiles, and a host of specialty applications too
numerous to detail here.
There is also an enormous desire for improve translation tools that CL
scientists have tried to provide, thus far with only limited success.
Understanding the vagaries of different languages, and making
effective translations of text or speech from one to the other, is a
task that, so far, only humans seem be able to handle...machines are
still very poor at this fundamental task.
The second major part of your question focused using your abilities in
a way to fit them into a manageable research project in CL.
Here, my suggestion would be to follow-up on the very thrust of your
question, and formulate a research project on the Future of Commercial
Uses of Computational Linguistics in the Japanese Marketplace.
I think a research project along these lines would be an excellent
approach for the following reasons:
--Assessing the market requires a familiarity with the Japanese
culture and language
--There may well be a music connection, especially since the music
industry is on the forefront of many technological innovations in
Japan (and elsewhere). I'd be surprised, for instance, if Sony
doesn't have more than a few CL-types on their staff).
There is also specialty work in this area regarding voice recognition
technolgies as applied to singers (rather than only the spoken voice).
Here's two examples:
Singing Voice Analysis/Synthesis
...This dissertation proposes an analysis/synthesis framework
specifically for the singing voice that models the time-varying
physical and expressive characteristics unique to an individual voice.
The system operates by jointly estimating source-filter voice model
parameters, representing vocal physiology, and modeling the dynamic
behavior of these features over time to represent aspects of
LYRICS RECOGNITION FROM A SINGING VOICE BASED ON FINITE STATE
AUTOMATON FOR MUSIC INFORMATION RETRIEVAL
Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University
--Focusing on the commercial aspects of CL is a way to deeply involve
yourself in the topic without having to master the highly complex
computational or lingusitics fields that underlie the science.
The sort of overview provided here should give you a good background
to get started, but of course, it only scratches the surface.
If there's anything more I can do for you, don't hesitate to ask.
Simply post a Request for Clarification, and I'm at your service.
You have a fascinating opportunity before you...I wish you all the
best in your efforts.
search strategy -- Google searches on various combinations of:
natural language processing
Request for Answer Clarification by
19 Sep 2006 21:17 PDT
Thank you very much for all the information you gave me; it was very
helpful in understanding different directions I could go with
computational linguistics. I apologize for the delay in posting this
request for answer clarification, but as you said, there is a lot of
information on this subject and I wanted to get a better feel of where
I might fit within that field.
That being said, I found a professor of computational linguistics here
at the University of Kyoto from one of the links you sent me who is a
professor within the School of Informatics. I've been doing some
reading about informatics, specifically about the university's
department, and currently taking measures to find a place for me
As I'm sure you are already aware, it's a very diverse field that
combines many different sciences. Within the Department of
Intelligence Science and Technology are two fields which captured my
attention: Intelligence Information Processing and Intelligence Media.
(A link to the <a href="http://www.i.kyoto-u.ac.jp/English/index.html"
name="Kyoto University Department of Informatics">department home
page</a> if you'd like.)
To specify, I am interested in the Applied Intelligence Information
Processing field because I am intrigued by AI. However, within
Intelligence Media Processing, there is research being conducted on
sounds, spoken language, and music understanding which really
interests me as well. I feel there is more immediate commercial
potential in studying spoken language and music undertanding (the
Intelligence Media section), but I really don't know the background
needed to analyze the information in such research. And though I am
intrigued by AI, it seems there is a lot of skepticism about its
future and how far it can be developed (ex. Roger Penrose).
You are absolutely right in assessing that I was interested in the
commercial avenues for computational linguistics. I don't know if my
assumptions above are correct. I am reluctant in pursuing research in
the Intelligence Information Processing section if I am not able to
contribute much to this field and if that inhibits its potential for
Again thank you so much for your help ... I only hope this request for
clarification did not come too late. I would have felt hesitant to
post such a request if it didn't seem like the first answer you gave
me didn't seem so easy for you and in that regard, I wanted the
clarification to be appropriately related.