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Computer Science and Language (CSL)

For Prospective Students

There some slides used in describing the degree at the yearly Trinity Open Day here

There are below some further detailed information expanding on questions you may have if you are considering studying this degree.

Contacting us and 'shadowing'

One way to find out more about the course is to come along and try it out for a day, sometimes refered to as shadowing . We arrange for you to attend lectures and labs in the company of current students. You can chat to current students and they will guide around the place. There should also be some time to have talk with one of the lectures closely involved with the course to answer further questions.

There is no designated 'shadowing day' as such; if you are interested, just get in contact with us and we will work out a mutually suitable day.

Carl dot Vogel AT tcd dot ie
Martin dot Emms AT tcd dot ie

What career opportunities are open afterwards?

In an increasinly technological and multilingual world, the computer science and language abilities of CSL graduates make them attractive to employers, as do their proven analytical skills and not least their self-sufficiency and maturity in having spent a year abroad.

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a sample of areas into which CSL graduates have gone (in Ireland and abroad)

  • the langauge technology industry (eg. IBM, Microsoft)
  • general software engineering in Ireland and abroad (eg. Google, Accenture)
  • technological and organisation roles within IT or other sections of multinationals (BMW, Ingersoll Rand)
  • direct use of language skills in translation consultancy (eg. Transpiral), in the Irish Diplomatic Corps and the European Patent Office
  • Banking and finance (e.g. Deutsche Bank, DEPFA)
  • speech and language therapy
  • further post-graduate study
  • hundreds of representative opportunities listed at

Graduates Comment

James Gibbons

CSL provides an exceptional range of skills that allow you to pursue an enormous number of options after graduation. For me,it gave a fantastic background to pursue a career in software development. The distinctive combination of subjects encourages flexible thinking and an open minded approach to problem solving that will prove invaluable to graduates.

(working as a software developer)

Joy O'Brien

The CSL course opened up many opportunities for me. I was unsure which path to choose straight out of school. With this course I was not restricted to any one career, and yet it contained recognisable and concrete subjects. In fact, people are still fascinated when I tell them what I studied and are envious of the interesting subject combination.

(has worked in software development, as an international conference organiser, and now in Speech and Language Therapy)

Deirdre Ni Dhea

I very much believe that it was the multi-faceted aspect of CSL that gave me not only the confidence to live and work abroad but also pursue a career in a very fast moving role.

(has worked in abroad and in Ireland in Customer Relationship Management, Project Management and IT consultancy)

Anne McCarvill

Since graduating ... in 2005 I have been working for a multi-national manufacturing company called Ingersoll Rand ... The key skills that are valued in graduates are the ability to think analytically and problem solve, ... They also look for people who are flexible, adaptable and culturally aware ...
... the skills I learned as a result of this degree both in terms of personal development and technical and language skills have led me to a career that I find personally and professionally fulfilling. I have been shaped by my experiences in Trinity and I can certainly say that I couldn't be happier with the result. read more

(working for Ingersoll Rand)

Sean Hegarty

CSL gave me the necessary skills to excel in Computer Science / IT, and the added edge of a language gave me the ability to stand out from the crowd. It has prepared me for the real world and I always take pride in explaining the synergy of this multi-disciplinary degree course!. read more

(working for Wombat Financial Software, at their Engineering Centre of Excellence, in Belfast, N.Ireland)

Paula Molloy

I graduated from CSLF in 2005, and immediately started working as a Third Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs ... am now preparing to move to Canada for the next three years.
While anyone with an honours degree is eligible to apply for the position of Third Secretary, I feel that the experience I gained as a student of CSL was invaluable in helping me through the extremely competitive selection process. My Erasmus year spent in Toulouse in the south of France proved my ability to adapt to life in another country with a different culture and language, an essential part of a diplomat's role. Furthermore, the broad range of analytical and communication skills developed through the study of such diverse subjects as computer science and linguistics have been crucial in enabling me to handle the spectrum of responsibilities read more

What is Linguistics

Linguistics is the name given to all aspects of the scientific study of language. Everyone is very familiar with at least one language, almost over familiar. It turns out then when one stands back and looks scientifically at not just one's own language but multiple other languages also, remarkably intricate structures and regularities emerge. For example, concerning the sounds of language, there is universal repertoire of sounds, the International Phonetic Alphabet, allowing description of all spoken languages, and general rules that can be formulated concerning how these sounds relate to how human being manipulate a flow of air and how these sounds are modified in particular contexts. Concerning the syntax of language, subtle parallels emerge between different languages, both what they permit and what they do not.

new parse onlyvowelsspectrogram

other issues looked at in linguistics include: the relation of word and sentence syntactic structure to its word and sentence meaning, the relation between syntactic structure and pronounciation, the developmental stage at which a child might say a given sentence, and many others.

There is an excellent textbook on linguistics, many parts of which can be previewed via Google's book's service Linguistics: an introduction to linguistic theory . The introductory chapter of that book would be an excellent place to look.

The book The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker is an accessible account of some these issues, was a bestselling paperback and is quite likely to be in your local library or bookshop.

What is Computational Linguistics

The following picture attempts to give some idea of what computational linguistics is about

computational linguistics

The idea is this: a sentence can be associated with an underlying, linguistic structure . Human beings use, and computers can be made to use, such structures to accomplish tasks would seem to require linguistic intelligence

Put another way, its about the scientific description of linguistic intelligence, and its computational realisation.

Thus in the centre of the picture above there is a very simple structure for the sentence when was Google founded ?

Such a structure can be put to use to accomplish such tasks as

  • Question Answering
  • Machine Translation
  • Speech Synthesis
  • Retrieving information from databases

These are the language-involving computational tasks shown in the picture above, but there are many many others such as

  • speech recognition
  • document summarisation
  • extraction of information from documents for clustering or data-mining
  • language generation

FYI Job Offers down the years

There is listing of potentially relevant job-offers that is maintained for CSL students. The following link is an archive of that listing.

DCLRS Dublin Computational Linguistics Research Seminar

CSL undergraduates also attend a weekly research seminar, The Dublin Computational Linguistics Research Seminar (DCLRS), in which linguistic and computational linguistic research is presented. The DCLRS is a joint venture between TCD, UCD, DCU and DIT. Follow this link for more information, such as the topics of recent talks

Last updated 21 March 2014 by