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Computational Linguistics.

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Computational Linguistics

Brian Junker

Computational linguistics is a highly advanced and up-to-date profession. The occupation, around for nearly sixty years, has focused on many things, including machine translation and other types of natural language computer processing. Today, computational linguists pilot forward new technologies, allowing humans to more effectively communicate with machines as well as other people. Straight out of high school, linguists must begin on an extremely rigorous academic preparation. A four-year Bachelor of the Arts degree in college and a Ph. D. in graduate school are essential. The job serves as a bridge between the typically academic career of a linguist and that of a computer scientist. The combination yields high salaries, interesting workplaces and a bright future.

In 1946, first endeavors were made at using computers to process human speech. During the cold war, when there was much tension between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, each country wanted to find a quick, non-man-requiring way to translate one language to the other (Baucher).

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When one chooses the career of a computational linguist, he devotes himself to a meticulous education. Starting from high school, future computational linguists should take as many foreign language and English classes as possible (University of Virginia). In college, frequently a major in linguistics with some sort of a computational focus is taken along with a minor in computer science (University of Zürich). However, the opposite sometimes holds true as well; a student might take a computer science major and a linguistics minor. Most of the time, one of the subjects is more strongly focused upon. “Generally, computational linguists have a background in [either linguistics or computer science], and develop skills in the other one through additional studies and professional experience.” (Vanallesmeerch). After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree, graduate school is the next step. A masters and then Ph.D. in linguistics or computer science are vital to becoming a successful computational linguist (Columbia University). However, working in the field during school is also a good idea.

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Works Cited

Ball, Catherine. “About Computational Linguistics.” 3 Sept. 1998. Georgetown University. 19 March 2004. <www.georgetown.edu/faculty/ballc/ling361/ling_361_aboutcl.html>

Baucher, Julien. “Computational Linguistics” 19 Apr. 2004. <http://www.harmful.org/homedespot/newtdr/NEWtdrARCHIVE/interviews/linguistics.htm>

Jurafsky, Daniel and James Martin. An Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics and Speech Recognition. New York: Prentice Hall, 2000.

“Linguists.” University of Virginia. 19 March 2004. <www.ccps.virginia.edu/career_prospects/briefslk0/linguists.html>

Vanallemeersch, Tom. Personal Interview. 29 April 2004

“What is Computational Linguistics.” Columbia University. 18 March 2004. <www.cs.columbia.edu/~radev/nlpfaq.txt>

“What is Computational Linguistics.” University of Zurich. 18 March 2004. <http://www.unizh.ch/cl/CL_Faq.html>

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