Language and the computer – isn't that an odd couple? For us humans, language is easily used and at the same time essential. Looking at computers dealing with language, on the other hand, often leaves us with ambivalent feelings. Who hasn't laughed about whimsical results produced by automatic translation websites? At the same time, there are areas in which computers cope with language fairly well, for example in spell checking, Internet search engines or in reading out texts.
Computational linguistics investigates language from a formal point of view. The understanding of language gained by doing so can then be “taught” to a computer. There are many different applications of computational linguistics, ranging from innovative software for language teaching to novel types of search engines. So, language and computers indeed are an odd couple – but computational linguistics helps them come together in the end.
And as if that were not enough, there is an exciting course of study called International Studies in Computational Linguistics (ISCL) which is offered at the University of Tübingen in Germany. There is a a BA and an MA program offering a carefully designed combination of humanities and sciences. The BA program offers not only the basics of linguistics and programming – special courses such as parsing, text technology, grammar formalisms, and many courses on current themes in science establish an explicit connection between linguistics and computer science.
In ISCL, state-of-the art courses are offered as part of an engaging academic environment. Given its international orientation, you will meet people from all over the world. Courses consist of small groups and our teachers are ready to engage with students and provide individual support. The requirements for applying to ISCL are good command of English and curiosity and interest in logical and analytical thinking. Programming skills are not required.
Graduates with a good BA degree naturally can continue in an MA program. This is possible in Tübingen as well as at other universities in Germany and other countries. Career perspectives range from employment in small software companies or publishing houses to the research departments of large corporations. People who are interested in research can continue with a PhD, which in Germany presupposes completion of an MA program.
More information, including but not limited to details about our application procedure, are available from the detailed pages about ISCL from the Linguistics Department of the University of Tübingen.