Dr. Nadir Durrani

Arabic Language Technologies

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QCRI gives me a flavor of industrial and academic research at the same time. It’s has quickly turned into a world class organization over the last few years and is growing faster than any other place.

Research Focus at QCRI

Nadir’s research focus includes computational linguistics and statistical machine translation. He will be preliminarily involved in Open NIST Machine Translation Task and will work on domain adaptation for machine translation.

Previous Experience

Prior to joining QCRI, Nadir was a research associate at the University of Edinburgh, where his work was focused on Markov based translation models and their integration into Phrase-based SMT.  He also worked on transliteration, and translation between closely related languages.  Much of his work is part of Moses Core and has directly contributed towards the success of the sate-of-the-art systems in the previous translation campaigns such as WMT and IWSLT.

At CRULP, Pakistan, Nadir was involved in PAN Localization project and carried out research and development for local language technologies and its dissemination across masses.  Nadir also worked on OSS Localization project for Urdu, where he led a team that localized open source software such as Open Office, web browser and development tools, chatting software, and Linux desktop environment for Urdu. He also worked on the localization of domain names in Urdu.

Nadir also worked at STEA, Laos as a project consultant through PAN Localization project. There he was involved in developing localized open source products (such as fonts, editor, spell checker, tokenization) for Lao language.

Professional Experience

  • Dec 2012 – Sept 2014, Post-doctoral Research Associate at the School of Informatics,  University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Jan 2012 – April 2012, Research Intern at  the IBM Watson Center,  USA
  • Aug 2005 – Nov 2007, Research Officer at the Center for Research in Urdu Language Processing, NUCES, Pakistan
  • Jan 2005 – July 2005 Project Consultant at the Science and Technology Agency , Laos

Professional Associations and Awards

  • GSCL best doctoral thesis award in the field of language technologies and computational linguistics 2014
  •  Silver Medal, MS (CS), National University of Computer and Emerging Science 2007
  •  Top Pre-Engineering Student Award (2nd position), awarded by Engineering Council of Saudi Arabia 2000
  •  Member of Association for Computational Linguistic


  • PhD., University of Stuttgart, 2012
  • BS(CS) and MS(CS), National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, 2000-2007

Selected Research

Nadir Durrani, Philipp Koehn, Helmut Schmid, Alexander Fraser  (2014). Investigating the Usefulness of Generalized Word Representations in SMT. In Proceedings of the 25th Annual Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING). Dublin, Ireland. August

 Nadir Durrani, Hassan Sajjad, Hieu Hoang, Philipp Koehn (2014). Integrating an Unsupervised Transliteration Model into Statistical Machine Translation. In Proceedings of the 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL), Gothenburg, Sweden, April

  Nadir Durrani, Alexander Fraser, Helmut Schmid, Hieu Hoang, Philipp Koehn (2013). Can Markov Models Over Minimal Translation Units Help Phrase-Based SMT? In Proceedings of the 51st Annual Conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL). Sofia, Bulgaria, August

 Nadir Durrani, Alexander Fraser, Helmut Schmid (2013). Model With Minimal Translation Units, But Decode With Phrases. In Proceedings of the 14th Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL-HLT), Atlanta, Georgia, USA, June.

Nadir Durrani, Helmut Schmid, Alexander Fraser, (2011). A Joint Sequence Translation Model with Integrated Reordering. In Proceedings of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL-HLT), Portland, Oregon, USA, June.

Nadir Durrani, Hassan Sajjad, Alexander Fraser, Helmut Schmid (2010). Hindi to Urdu Machine Translation Through Transliteration. In Proceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), Uppsala, Sweden, July.

To view complete list of publications, please click here.

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