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NLP vs NLU: from Understanding a Language to Its Processing by Sciforce Sciforce

NLP vs NLU: Whats The Difference? BMC Software Blogs


NLU recognizes that language is a complex task made up of many components such as motions, facial expression recognition etc. Furthermore, NLU enables computer programmes to deduce purpose from language, even if the written or spoken language is flawed. Another difference is that NLP breaks and processes language, while NLU provides language comprehension. NLP models are designed to describe the meaning of sentences whereas NLU models are designed to describe the meaning of the text in terms of concepts, relations and attributes. It works by taking and identifying various entities together (named entity recognition) and identification of word patterns. The word patterns are identified using methods such as tokenization, stemming, and lemmatization.

Conversely, NLU aims to comprehend the meaning of sentences, whereas NLG focuses on formulating correct sentences with the right intent in specific languages based on the data set. For machines, human language, also referred to as natural language, is how humans communicate—most often in the form of text. It comprises the majority of enterprise data and includes everything from text contained in email, to PDFs and other document types, chatbot dialog, social media, etc. NLP is an already well-established, decades-old field operating at the cross-section of computer science, artificial intelligence, an increasingly data mining.

Learn how to build a powerful chatbot in just a few simple steps using Python’s ChatterBot library.

Latin, English, Spanish, and many other spoken languages are all languages that evolved naturally over time. Get started now with IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding and test drive the natural language AI service on IBM Cloud. Train Watson to understand the language of your business and extract customized insights with Watson Knowledge Studio. From categorizing text, gathering news and archiving individual pieces of text to analyzing content, it’s all possible with NLU. Real-world examples of NLU include small tasks like issuing short commands based on text comprehension to some small degree like redirecting an email to the right receiver based on basic syntax and decently sized lexicon.


It can identify spelling and grammatical errors and interpret the intended message despite the mistakes. This can have a profound impact on a chatbot’s ability to carry on a successful conversation with a user. Natural language processing and its subsets have numerous practical applications within today’s world, like healthcare diagnoses or online customer service.

Do we really need Intent classification, even intent, flow-based design in the age of LLMs to build chatbot? Time to retool…

We would love to have you on board to have a first-hand experience of Kommunicate. This is an example of Lexical Ambiguity — The confusion that exists in the presence of two or more possible meanings of the sentence within a single word. NLU can be used in many different ways, including understanding dialogue between two people, understanding how someone feels about a particular situation, and other similar scenarios. Using symbolic AI, everything is visible, understandable and explained within a transparent box that delivers complete insight into how the logic was derived. This transparency makes symbolic AI an appealing choice for those who want the flexibility to change the rules in their NLP model.


Google Translate even includes optical character recognition (OCR) software, which allows machines to extract text from images, read and translate it. Natural language understanding is a subfield of natural language processing. Pursuing the goal to create a chatbot that can hold a conversation with humans, researchers are developing chatbots that will be able to process natural language. Only 20% of data on the internet is structured data and usable for analysis. The rest 80% is unstructured data, which can’t be used to make predictions or develop algorithms.

Artificial Intelligence: Definition, Types, Examples, Technologies

NLU is the component that allows the contextual assistant to understand the intent of each utterance by a user. Without it, the assistant won’t be able to understand what a user means throughout a conversation. And if the assistant doesn’t understand what the user means, it won’t respond appropriately or at all in some cases. Conversational interfaces are powered primarily by natural language processing (NLP), and a key subset of NLP is natural language understanding (NLU). The terms NLP and NLU are often used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings. Developers need to understand the difference between natural language processing and natural language understanding so they can build successful conversational applications.

A marketer’s guide to natural language processing (NLP) – Sprout Social

A marketer’s guide to natural language processing (NLP).

Posted: Mon, 11 Sep 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

With an eye on surface-level processing, NLP prioritizes tasks like sentence structure, word order, and basic syntactic analysis, but it does not delve into comprehension of deeper semantic layers of the text or speech. NLP primarily works on the syntactic and structural aspects of language to understand the grammatical structure of sentences and texts. With the surface-level inspection in focus, these tasks enable the machine to discern the basic framework and elements of language for further processing and structural analysis. Question answering is a subfield of NLP and speech recognition that uses NLU to help computers automatically understand natural language questions. You can type text or upload whole documents and receive translations in dozens of languages using machine translation tools.

NLU techniques enable systems to grasp the nuances, references, and connections within the text or speech resolve ambiguities and incorporate external knowledge for a comprehensive understanding. These notions are connected and often used interchangeably, but they stand for different aspects of language processing and understanding. Distinguishing between NLP and NLU is essential for researchers and developers to create appropriate AI solutions for business automation tasks. Natural Language Generation(NLG) is a sub-component of Natural language processing that helps in generating the output in a natural language based on the input provided by the user. This component responds to the user in the same language in which the input was provided say the user asks something in English then the system will return the output in English.


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