NLP or Natural Language Processing: what is it and models

In today’s digital age, language is vital in human-computer interactions. The ability to understand and process human language has become...
23 August 2023

Table of contents

NLP or Natural Language Processing: what is it and models

In today’s digital age, language is vital in human-computer interactions. The ability to understand and process human language has become increasingly important, leading to the development of Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems. 

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of NLP or Natural Language Processing, including its definition, applications, and different models used in the field.

What is natural language processing?

Natural Language Processing (NLP) refers to the ability of computers to understand and process human language in a way that is similar to how humans communicate with each other. It involves a wide range of tasks, including text classification, sentiment analysis, machine translation, speech recognition, and question-answering. 

NLP combines computer science, linguistics, and artificial intelligence techniques to analyze and derive meaning from textual data.

What is natural language processing?

Importance of Natural Language Processing

The importance of Natural Language Processing cannot be overstated. 

With the explosive growth of digital content, organizations and individuals require efficient ways to process, analyze, and extract insights from vast amounts of textual data. NLP enables machines to understand human language, leading to various applications in various industries, including healthcare, finance, customer service, and education.

 By automating language-related tasks, NLP systems can save time, improve accuracy, and enhance user experiences.

Applications of Natural Language Processing

Natural Language Processing finds applications in numerous domains. Some notable examples include:

Sentiment Analysis

NLP can determine the sentiment expressed in a text, whether positive, negative, or neutral. This is useful for monitoring social media sentiment, customer feedback analysis, and brand reputation management.

Machine Translation

NLP enables automated translation between different languages. It helps break down language barriers, facilitating cross-cultural communication and global business operations.

Subscribe today to SMOWL’s weekly newsletter!

Discover the latest trends in eLearning, technology, and innovation, alongside experts in assessment and talent management. Stay informed about industry updates and get the information you need.

Simply fill out the form and stay up-to-date with everything relevant in our field.

Information Extraction

NLP techniques can extract specific information from unstructured text, such as identifying named entities, relationships between entities, and key facts. This is valuable for data mining, knowledge graph construction, and summarization.

Speech Recognition

NLP plays a crucial role in converting spoken language into written text. Speech recognition systems like virtual assistants benefit from NLP to understand user queries accurately.


In the field of education, NLP is used by many edtech companies and institutions to develop intelligent tutoring systems, automatic assessment of responses, and analysis of educational texts. This can help personalize learning and provide instant feedback to students.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) refers to the ability of computers to understand and process human language

Statistical Language Models

Statistical Language Models are based on probabilistic algorithms that use statistical patterns and probabilities to understand and generate language. 

These models learn from large corpora of text data and can predict the likelihood of a particular word or sequence of words occurring in a given context. Some popular statistical language models include Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) and n-gram models.

Rule-Based Language Models

Rule-Based Language Models rely on a set of predefined linguistic rules to process and generate language. These models interpret and generate text using grammatical rules, syntactic structures, and lexicons. While rule-based models can be effective in specific domains with well-defined rules, they may struggle with the complexities and nuances of natural language.

Neural Language Models

Neural Language Models leverage deep learning techniques, particularly recurrent neural networks (RNNs) and transformer models, to capture language’s contextual information and dependencies. These models excel at language translation, sentiment analysis, and text generation tasks. Notable neural language models include Transformer-based models like GPT-3, BERT, and XLNet.

Pre-trained Language Models

Pre-trained Language Models have gained significant attention in recent years. These models are trained on vast amounts of text data and learn to understand language by capturing complex patterns and semantic relationships. 

They can be fine-tuned for specific tasks and have proven to be highly effective in various NLP applications.

Limitations of Natural Language Processing

While Natural Language Processing has made significant advancements, it still faces certain limitations. Some challenges include:


Language is inherently ambiguous, and understanding the intended meaning of a sentence or phrase can be challenging, especially in the absence of context.

Sarcasm and Irony

Detecting sarcasm and irony in text can be difficult for NLP systems due to their reliance on literal interpretations.

Out-of-Vocabulary Words

NLP models may struggle with words or phrases that are not present in their training data, leading to errors or incorrect interpretations.

Future of Natural Language Processing

The future of Natural Language Processing holds immense potential. As advancements in machine learning and deep learning continue, NLP models are expected to become more accurate, efficient, and capable of understanding complex linguistic nuances. 

Furthermore, integrating NLP with other emerging technologies like voice recognition and augmented reality will lead to even more sophisticated and immersive human-computer interactions.

Natural Language Processing finds applications in numerous domains


Natural Language Processing, or PLN, is a field of artificial intelligence that focuses on enabling computers to understand and generate human language. Its widespread applications impact various industries, enhancing productivity, customer experiences, and decision-making processes. 

With advancements in statistical, rule-based, and neural language models, NLP continues to evolve and pave the way for a future where human-computer interactions are seamless and natural.

As you may have observed, natural language processing tools can generate reports, papers, and various content as if a human person did it.

Therefore, it is important to have tools to detect if your students or employees are using this technology correctly. We invite you to take a look at the different SMOWL plans, a proctoring tool that allows you to set limits on this type of technology.

Request a free demo from us to experience the benefits this tool can bring to your company or institution.

Download now!

8 interesting


about proctoring

Discover everything you need about online proctoring in this book to know how to choose the best software.

Fill out the form and download the guide now.

And subscribe to the weekly SMOWL newsletter to get exclusive offers and promotions.

You will discover all the trends in eLearning, technology, innovation, and proctoring at the hands of evaluation and talent management experts.

Share on:

Write below what you are looking for

Escribe a continuación lo que estas buscando