Natural Language Processing Tools: Scraping Language Data

Saheed Opeyemi
February 23, 2021

natural language processing

Have you ever wondered how Siri or Alexa or whatever name you call the voice assistant on your mobile phone do what they do? Natural language processing is the term for how a computer can better understand how you interact with it. They are all natural language processing tools that use voice recognition and pattern analysis to understand your speech and interpret it to give you answers.

While these technologies are still developing, there is an industrial need for machines that can understand human speech, written and spoken, in a more conversational way. These natural language processing software make it possible for businesses to scrape language text data on a large scale and feed it into software that can understand it in the same context that it was written or intended.

One simple problem that stumps business owners and companies when implementing natural language processing tools in their business processes is how to get data. How do you access the various sources of human-produced language data and collect the data you need into one spot? This article will discuss how natural language processing works, the best natural language processing tools, and how to collect language data in large enough volumes for analysis.

Table of Content


How Do Natural Language Processing Tools Work?

Natural language processing applications

Natural language is how people talk to each other. English, French, German, etc.; these are all natural languages, and each comes with a specific pattern of intentionality. Now, as human beings, we have the ability to understand natural language, analyze it and interpret it. Machines do not have this ability until we develop it to do so. Therefore, a machine trying to understand human language the way it is written or spoken is something like you trying to understand what your dog is saying. A futile endeavor, at best–unless you have the data to continually build and learn from it.

However, advancements in technology and machine learning processes make it possible to train machines to understand not just strings but also entities. Sentences, paragraphs, and conversations. Entire datasets of language data. These advancements are what gave birth to natural language processing tools.

So how exactly do natural language processing tools do what they do?

Before knowing how natural language processing tools carry out their function, you should also be aware that various natural language processing tools such as the Stanford NLP Group Software, CSLU Toolkit, Visual Text, etc., exist. Now basically, these automated linguistic techs software work through morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and phonology.

The interplay of words and their relationship with other words is something that we humans can relate to, but this isn’t an easy task for a computer to comprehend. Due to this fact, natural language processing tools use a self-learning algorithm system that enables them to understand the interplay between words. If the first word of a sentence is a proper noun, the second is likely to be a verb, for example. And even something as simple as that can get complicated without natural language processing.

Context is crucial, and data-driven understandings of syntax allows for an understanding of sentences. Linguistic programs are used to break down sentences into phrases known as parsing. Each of the languages then follows a grammar rule with each one, and the hierarchy of different phrases vary. Natural language processing takes development into the realm of semantics.

How To Collect Natural Language Processing Data

Natural language processing web scraping

Like we said earlier, you can’t analyze language data unless you have a wealth of language data to draw from. This is no problem if you are using data from, say, a seminar or lecture. However, when you are trying to extract NLP data sets on what people are saying from multiple sources like social media, websites, forums, etc., you need a specialized data collection solution that can handle data collection from multiple sources in large volumes. Web scraping is that solution.

Web scraping involves using bots (developed by you or from a scraping service) to crawl through the HTML code of a given web page and extract data according to instructions you program into it. Web scraping bots crawl through the website’s source code, tag data according to your instructions, then extractors collect the data into a usable file format. If done correctly, you can use web scraping bots to collect data from any website on the internet. So what is the relationship between web scraping and natural language processing?

The data collection method by web scraping bots is especially suited to collecting text data which is the most valuable type of NLP data sets for language analysis. You can scrape comments, lectures, opinions, or, on and feed them all into your natural language processing tools to obtain valid data on customers’ sentiments, rulings of industry experts, and so much more. Now let’s take a look at some natural language processing techniques and how they work.

Natural Language Processing Techniques

Natural language processing software

1. Named Entity Recognition (NER):
This technique is one of the most popular and advantageous techniques for semantic analysis. Semantics is something conveyed by the text. Under this technique, the algorithm takes a phrase or paragraph as input and identifies all the nouns or names present in that input.
There are many popular use cases of this algorithm. Here are some of the more popular daily use cases:

  • News Categorization
  • Efficient Search Engine
  • Customer Support

2. Tokenization:
First of all, Tokenization basically means splitting an entire language text data into a tokens list. The tokens can be anything such as words, sentences, characters, numbers, punctuation, etc. Tokenization has two main advantages, one is to reduce search to a significant degree, and the second is the effective use of storage space. This allows the software to process more data at once.

Mapping sentences from character to strings and strings into words is the most crucial step of solving any language analysis problem. To understand any text or document, we need to understand the text’s meaning by interpreting words/sentences present in the text.

3. Stemming and Lemmatization:
The increasing size of data and information on the web is at an all-time high for the past couple of years. This vast data and information demand the necessary tools and techniques to extract inferences with much ease.

Stemming is the process of reducing inflected (or sometimes derived) words to their word stem, base, or root form – generally a written form of the word.

4. Bag of Words:
Bag of words is a technique used to pre-process text and extract all the features from a text document to use in machine language modeling. It is also a representation of any text that elaborates/explains the occurrence of words within a corpus (document).

5. Sentiment Analysis

It is one of the most common natural language processing techniques. With sentiment analysis, we can understand the emotion/feeling of the written text
The primary task of sentiment analysis is to find whether expressed opinions in any document, sentence, text, social media, reviews are positive, negative, or neutral. It is also called finding the Polarity of Text.

6. Sentence Segmentation:
The most fundamental task of this technique is to divide all text into meaningful sentences or phrases. This task involves identifying sentence boundaries between words in text documents.

7. Natural Language Generation:
Natural language generation (NLG) is a technique that converts raw structured data into plain English (or any other) language. This technique is very helpful in many organizations where a large amount of data is used. It converts structured data into natural languages to better understand patterns or detailed insights into any business.

There are many stages;

  • Content Determination: Deciding the main content to be represented in text or information provided in the text.
  • Document Clustering: Deciding the overall structure of the information to convey.
  • Aggregation: Merging of sentences to improve sentence understanding and readability.
  • Lexical Choice: Putting appropriate words to convey the meaning of the sentence more clearly.
  • Referring Expression Generation: Creating references to identify main objects and regions of the text correctly.
  • Realization: Creating and optimizing text that should follow all the norms of grammar (like syntax, morphology, orthography).

Extracting NLP Data Sets With Scraping Robot

Natural language processing tools

If you decide to engage in a search for a well-developed web scraping service that can easily provide you with qualified language data sets, then look no further. Scraping Robot is all you need. Our scraping service provides you with comprehensive web scraping capabilities that enable you to extract data from any website on the internet. Here are some ways you can use our scraping service to solve your data needs and obtain natural language processing data:

  • Custom scraping solution: Our scraping service allows you to build your own custom scraping solution. This custom scraping solution is designed to fit your exact data needs. You can have it designed to meet whatever specifications you have for a proper data scraping solution. To get your own custom-made scraping module, just send a message to our developers here.
  • Real-time data collection: Our scraping service uses API technology to allow you to collect data in real-time and automate your data collection process. With our public scraping API, you can set up a scraping schedule that sends out requests to scrape data at regular intervals without being present. Learn more about how our public scraping API works here.
  • Data collection from multiple sites: Our scraping service also makes use of multiple proxies to enable you to collect data from multiple websites simultaneously. Unlike other scraping services with limited scraping capabilities, you can also send an unlimited number of scraping requests with our service.

You can try out some of our pre-built modules to get a good idea of how web scraping works.

Wrapping Up

Natural language processing data

Intelligent robots are getting closer every day. Scary, and yet exciting. With the aid of natural language processing tools, we can now teach machines to understand human language. And with the aid of Scraping Robot, you can now collect language data from any website on the internet. All you have to do is ask and it shall be given unto you.

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