PhD Student

Last application date
Aug 29, 2023 00:00
LW22 - Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication
Limited duration
Master’s diploma in linguistics, computational linguistics, computer science or equivalent
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

Fully funded PhD in Computational Linguistics/Translation Studies

Applications are invited to apply for a PhD candidate position to perform research in the field of translation technology at the LT3 - Language and Translation Technology Team at the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication at Ghent University. LT3 conducts fundamental and applied research in the domain of language and translation technology and has extensive expertise in the use of machine learning for a wide range of language technology problems, including machine translation, terminology extraction, word sense disambiguation, sentiment and emotion detection, and irony detection.

With the exponential growth of multilingual content, there is an increasing demand for high-quality translation systems. The goal of this research is to contribute to the advancement of state-of-the-art neural machine translation (NMT) systems and address the challenges associated with multilingual communication. You will perform PhD research on retrieval-based NMT, which is a dynamic and thriving area of study within machine translation and machine learning. Retrieval-based approaches for machine translation aim to augment neural models by retrieving similar translations to a given input during training and/or inference times. As a PhD researcher, you will explore novel frameworks and methodologies to optimise the efficiency and accuracy of retrieval-based NMT systems.

Due to their ability to effectively utilise similar translations, retrieval-based NMT can be seen as a leap forward in the integration of NMT and translation memory (TM) systems, which are commonly used in computer-assisted translation workflows, while blurring the distinction between the two technologies. This project further aims to use state-of-the-art NLP methodologies to improve NMT systems and TM-NMT integration strategies. Therefore, In addition to its scientific value, the proposed research has social and economic valorization potential, which can reshape today’s translation and post-editing practices.

The candidate will perform academic research in preparation for a doctoral dissertation. You will be enrolled in the doctoral training program of Ghent University. The PhD student will have the opportunity to attend international conferences and to spend a research stay abroad in other research labs.

Job profile

Given these tasks, we are searching for a candidate with a background in computational linguistics or computer science.

Key attributes for the candidates include:
- Holding a Master’s diploma or certificate that is recognized as equivalent (Article V.20 Codex Higher Education) in translation studies, computational linguistics, computer science, or equivalent.
- Demonstrated interest or experience in natural language processing, machine learning (deep learning), fine-tuning large language models
- Background or strong interest in machine translation
- Knowledge of Python programming language
- Good oral and written communication skills in English; Dutch fluency is beneficial but not mandatory
- Excellent problem-solving skills and ability to handle complex and unexpected issues
- Ability to work both independently and collaboratively in an interdisciplinary team

Conditions of employment:

This position after approximately four years of successful research results in a PhD title. We offer a position for 4 years with yearly evaluations, in an exciting research environment, working on the intersection between language and computer science in the multi-disciplinary research environment of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy at Ghent University.

The exact start date of the position is negotiable, preferably as soon as possible (earliest on 01/10/2023). Candidates that will graduate soon (before 01/10/2023) are also encouraged to apply.

How to apply

To apply please send your full application before 29 August 2023 to Prof Dr Arda Tezcan –, which includes the following documents as pdfs and with appropriate file names (i.e. FAMILYNAME_FILETYPE):
- Your application letter in English (max. two pages) indicates why you wish to pursue a PhD and why on the topic of machine translation. What is your -if any- prior experience with NLP?;
- Your curriculum vitae, including two referees;
- A copy of your Master’s thesis;
- A copy of your Master’s diploma and a list of taken courses and corresponding grades (transcription)

After an initial screening, interviews will take place (online if needed) between 1-10 September 2023.

For more information about this vacancy contact:
Arda Tezcan, Assistant Professor of language technology at the LT3 Research Team at Ghent University, Ghent,