LT Training and Education

Current situation in 2006

All parties, i.e. the researchers, teachers, students as well as developers of applications and products in commercial companies, need to be aware of the basic possibilities of LT and where to find resources, partners and other information. The information on contacts and references must be available with up to date facts and pointers. The Nordic area, especially the Nordic-Baltic area, is not so small that all parties would know each other in advance.


  • In several Nordic countries, formal language knowledge in schools has been a low priority over several decades, which may hamper LT development and market uptake in the long run due to lack of basic formal linguistics skills.
  • Potential users in all sectors and walks of life must be convinced that LT is something they need. Only powerful demand from the public will make politicians prioritize the area in question.
  • It is necessary to raise public awareness about the importance of LT in our daily lives, and to get commercial companies interested in LT research and development.
  • We need commercial and industrial recognition of the advantages of LT and a broad involvement of these parties through all phases of development.
  • Development and deployment of LT modules presupposes a technical staff with a high level of competency in computational linguistics.
  • Documentation of language resources is a prerequisite, if they are to be open source. If the user does not understand the categories used, he/she will fail in the use of the data and in their further development.

Each Nordic (and Baltic) country is a rather small unit for creating curricula for Master's level and PhD level teaching in language and speech technology. Some have more established Bologna system Bachelor's and Master's level studies available, but perhaps equally many cannot offer such education in their own country. The first level PhD courses offered by the Swedish GSLT have actually been courses which could be part of a Master's program in LT, and they have been used by students from countries where LT is not offered at the MA/MSc level. By adjusting the university teaching to the needs, we may achieve better quality and wider availability of teaching and supervision on all special areas through cooperation at master's level teaching (perhaps as a Nordic/Baltic masters program beginning through cooperation between neighboring universities) and in a Nordic/Baltic PhD teaching network (NGSLT).


  • For fruitful cooperation involving all the Nordic languages, it is necessary to create some minimal common ground by funding exchange of education.
  • One should reach people already working in the industry that will integrate LT modules, and universities must create programmes for lifelong learning in LT.
  • There is a need for cooperation in master's level teaching - both cooperation between universities and countries, and also cooperation between different fields such as linguistics, computer science, statistics, etc.
  • We should include the BA-level as well and try to develop common teaching material, compendia and curricula using the idea of a common core with local variations.

Two kinds of problems can be identified:

  1. not enough students receive the training needed for development of the LT field and
  2. unnecessarily much effort is needed for creating materials and delivering similar courses at different sites.

Vision for 2016

In 2016, skilled IT staff has a high level of LT competency for careful tuning of the modules to the application context. There is focus on language awareness and multilingual awareness in primary and secondary schools, as well as better school training in analytical and formal aspects of native and foreign languages - as a prerequisite for a strong LT competency in the upcoming generation of application builders.


As a part of the Nordic Language Technology Research Program 2000-2004, a LT documentation centre was established in each of the five Nordic countries. Some continuation for them is needed, either in conjunction with some world-wide effort such as the LT world or as a Nordic or Nordic-Baltic effort. In contrast to the previous effort, only a single implementation for collecting, storing and disseminating the data, would be preferable, possibly based on Wiki techniques. This would let the national units concentrate on keeping the info up to date and maintaining its accuracy. It would be quite natural to apply the best methods of LT to make this kind of information easier to access and use. Such a site might also be a showroom of the infrastructure, applications and products.

More cooperation is needed in academic training among the universities in the Nordic/Baltic region. A sufficient number of highly skilled PhDs and Masters ought to be trained to master the best skills and all countries and language groups should be participating, including the minorities and small communities:

  • Coordinated PhD education: NGSLT
  • Master's level education: Distance education, exchange programs for teachers and students, common curriculum, programming skills with LT competency
  • A set of introductory distant learning courses on LT directed to commercial developers and decision makers in all Nordic and Baltic countries.
  • Language awareness and formal language knowledge in schools: development and empirical studies in a cross-institutional framework
  • Strengthen and modernize formal mother tongue training at all levels in education: national and Nordic support at the attitude level
  • Popularization: Professional PR assignment, 'sell' the idea of diversity to a much wider audience

Key Area Magnitude of funding needed Parties involved Mode of cooperation
Nordic LT documentation 1 MEUR NMR, NEALT network of LT documentation centres
Journal start-up 50 kEUR NEALT, Nordisk Publiceringsnämnd scientific electronic journal
Coordinated PhD education 1 MEUR Nordic/Baltic universities NGSLT
Master's level education 2 MEUR Nordic/Baltic universities Distance education, exchange programs for teachers and students, common curriculum
Distant learning courses for commercial developers 50 kEUR Nordic/Baltic universities Production of the material
Popularization 1 MEUR R&D, Government, Industry, Secondary Education Professional PR assignment

-- KristerLinden - 12 Jun 2006

Topic revision: r10 - 2006-06-20 - KristerLinden
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