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Computational Linguists : what's that ?
Thread poster: nordiste

nordiste  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:37
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Oct 23, 2007

An agency is looking for "Computational Linguists" with a background in Morphology for a e-commerce project.

I am not discussing the ad, but I'd be interested in knowing what it means exactly :
a translator working with CAT tools ?
Or an academic linguist researcher ?

Thanks for sharing your understanding of the matter.

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United Kingdom
Local time: 09:37
English to Italian
+ ...
An academic linguist Oct 23, 2007

specializing in Computational Linguistics

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Local time: 10:37
English to German
Neither fish nor fowl Oct 24, 2007

Worked with 2 "Computerlinguisten" and felt they were neither computer literate nor linguistically competent, so to speak. Insufficient sample size, though, for generalizations.

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Irene Schlotter, Dipl.-Übers.
Local time: 10:37
English to German
+ ...
... are the ones who try to make rules for machine translation ... Oct 24, 2007

I got to know a few, and the hands-on work of a 'human' linguist specialised in translation cannot be compared to their field.

However, when it comes to analysing languages and breaking them down into mathematical rules that can then be used for programming (i.e. Logos) that's where they enter the game.
As far as I understood at least.

Example: In English, it is common to say 'In 1940, ...'. Now, in German, you cannot just copy that structure. It has to be the preposition (im) + Jahr + 1940. That can be expressed in rules so that a machine based translation does not make the error 'In 1940' but correctly puts 'Im Jahr 1940'.

So, language can be broken down in rules, and computer linguists usually search for patterns in one and then other languages, establish relationships between the rules and then program. They should not be mistaken as purebred translators nor as purebred programmers. BTW, this is a very generic and superficial effort to describe that field of work. There are good sources in cyberspace (as LuciaC pointed out).

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