As technology becomes more and more advanced, the interrelationship between man and machine - particularly as it applies to the use of language - becomes increasingly important. The study of computational linguistics focuses on these two aspects of our everyday lives - technology and language, particularly its recognition, translation, and use. For the average individual, the importance of advances in the field of computational linguistics becomes obvious when a speech-to-text program does not function as it is intended to, or a query entered into a search engine is incorrectly translated or applied and the subsequent findings are not relevant.
Computational linguistics focuses on a number of key areas, including artificial intelligence and its ability to communicate effectively, speech analysis or speech synthesis technology, computerized translation tools, technological processing of existing languages, and machine learning, or working to "teach" a computer to learn as a human does and change its behaviors based on this learning. Study in this field is interdisciplinary in many ways - while the field itself is a combination of the fields of computer science and linguistics, it can also incorporate elements of humanities, education, and sociological coursework to identify more nuanced elements of language, to develop understanding of the human learning process to better enable technology to do so, and to fully understand how our society and culture influences our understanding of language. By taking all these other perspectives into account, computational linguistics are able to better understand the communication between man and machine, as well as make changes to the ways in which technology understands and utilizes the knowledge gained through natural language.
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