Natural Language Understanding

Natural language understanding (NLU) is the “holy grail” of computational linguistics and a long-term goal in research on artificial intelligence. Found in Translation is an ERC funded project running from 2018 to 2024 within the language technology research group at the University of Helsinki. The goal of the project is to develop NLU models trained on implicit information given by large collections of human translations. The main hypothesis in FoTran is that increasing amounts of linguistic diversity in training will lead to stronger abstractions and ultimately to language-agnostic meaning representations. We study the use of machine translation as a training objective and investigate the effect on neural embeddings and downstream applications. The project is led by Jörg Tiedemann and runs within the Department of Digital Humanities.