Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing technology consist a wide range of technologies that enable computer to handle both spoken and written natural languages. It lies within the frame work of information communication technology and is also a strong interdisciplinary field. NLP processing technology largely involves in the development of algorithms and models for language processing and various linguistic phenomena. NLP work began more than sixty years ago. It holds great promise for making computer interfaces that are easier to use for peoples since people will be able to take to the computer in their own language, rather than learn a specialized language of computer commands. NLP techniques can make possible the use of natural languages to express ideas. To achieve this great promise the NLP research group at ICT4D research center will study and develop appropriate tools and techniques to make the computer system to understand and manipulate Ethiopian languages to perform the desired tasks.

Key strategic issues

  1. Text processing: Processing a natural language text requires deep understanding of different characteristics of the natural language and a comprehensive corpus for training and testing. The research group will focus on different language phenomena text corpus, morphology, syntactic, lexical, semantics, pragmatics, and discourse characteristics of Amharic and Geez language.
  2. Speech recognition and synthesis: Speech recognition is used to identify words and phrases in spoken language and convert them to a machine readable format while speech synthesis a computer generated simulation human speech. Recognizing and synthesizing human speech is vital in the implementation of systems that interact with the user using natural languages.
  3. Information access using natural language: Natural language information access tools like information extraction, information retrieval, question and answering and database ueering using natural languages provide advanced access to information on the Web and in other databases via natural language. These tools will ease access to information without the need of sophisticated skills to access information in different platforms.
  4. Machine translation: Machine translation is the translation of text by a computer, with no human involvement. It translates texts from one language representation to the other by learning translation mapping from bilingual corpora. This service is important in the area where so many languages are used as it allows users to easily translate any text from one language to the other.

Research Group Head: Mr. Tsegaye Abebe