Natural language processing (NLP) is
|“||computer-based analysis of natural language (language written and spoken by humans) in useful ways. Common applications include search engines, spam filters that examine e-mail to determine whether it is spam, systems that automatically extract mentions of people, places, organizations, and events from news articles, systems for automatic translation of text from one language to another, and question-answering systems that respond to questions posed in natural language.||”|
The challenge of NLP is to build systems that can distinguish in the input language as many significantly different meanings as are relevant to the applications of interest; to interpret correctly as large a variety of linguistic expressions of these meanings as would naturally occur; and to do so in as many task settings as possible, with the computational resources available.
"Natural Language Processing, often coupled with automatic speech recognition, is quickly becoming a commodity for widely spoken languages with large data sets. Research is now shifting to develop refined and capable systems that are able to interact with people through dialog, not just react to stylized requests. Great strides have also been made in machine translation among different languages, with more real-time person-to-person exchanges on the near horizon."
- "Overview" section: More Than Screen Deep: Toward Every-Citizen Interfaces to the Nation's Information Infrastructure, at 86.