All of following projects form part of larger projects at CTexT. Therefore you will be supervised by a lecturer from the faculty of Arts and/or Natural Sciences, as well as a researcher/engineer from CTexT.
Machine translation for South African Languages
Machine translation deals with the automatic translation of texts from one language (e.g. English) to another language (e.g. Afrikaans). Over the past 5 years CTexT has developed machine translation systems for English to Afrikaans, isiZulu, Sesotho sa Leboa and Tshivenda and our aim is to develop machine translation systems for all the South African languages. The complexity of language and the diversity of languages make it an exceptionally challenging task for a computer. For instance, how should a computer know how to translate "Sy het haar man geslaan" to "She hit her husband" and not to “She has her man hit"?
To attempt to resolve these types of problems, usually one of three approaches is followed:
• rule-based approaches;
• data-driven approaches (e.g. by making uses of machine learning); and
• hybrid approaches (combinations of these two approaches).
Resource development for South African languages
All language technology applications consist out of a combination of different technologies and datasets which makes the processing of natural language possible. South African languages do not have access to many of these resources and there are ample opportunities to extend and improve existing resources.
Resources on which the Centre focuses on includes:
• automatic morphological and syntactic analysers;
• automatic semantic analysers;
• resource testing;
• database and annotation systems;
• text generation and question-answer systems;
• unsupervised learning for core technologies; and
• text-to-speech synthesis.
Other research opportunities
Besides the projects that CTexT® actively work on, there are research opportunities in the following fields:
• information retrieval;
• automatic email classification;
• plagiarism detection;
• error analysis; and
• writing aids (including spelling and grammar checkers).
There are various job opportunities for specialists in the field of language technology applications, from well-known international companies such as Google, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. to smaller South African companies and research institutions. Some of the opportunities include:
• internet and information technology industries;
• lexicography and dictionary development; and