What is Natural Language Generation?

  • Editor
  • December 26, 2023

What is Natural Language Generation? It is a sophisticated technology that transforms structured data into natural language. It’s a subfield of AI that focuses on creating written or spoken narratives from a dataset, making it a pivotal tool in bridging the gap between machines and human language.
Looking to learn more about natural language generation? Read this article written by the AI aficionados at All About AI.

How Does Natural Language Generation Work?

NLG works by converting structured data into human-readable text. It involves several stages, including data analysis, structuring the content, applying language rules, and finally, generating the text.
This process is underpinned by complex algorithms and machine learning models that enable machines to understand context and semantics, thereby producing coherent and contextually relevant narratives.

What Are the Leading Natural Language Generation Models and Methodologies?

Today’s NLG landscape is dominated by various models and methodologies. Key among them are template-based systems, rule-based systems, and advanced machine learning models like GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer).
Each approach has its strengths, with advanced models offering more flexibility and adaptability in generating human-like text.

1.Template-Based Systems

Template-based systems are one of the earliest and simplest forms of NLG. These systems use predefined templates where variables are filled in based on the data.
This method is effective for generating standardized reports or documents where the structure is consistent, but the data changes. However, it lacks flexibility and can struggle with generating varied and nuanced language.

2.Rule-Based Systems

Rule-based systems rely on a set of linguistic rules to generate text. These systems are more flexible than template-based systems, as they can vary the structure of the generated text based on different rules.
These systems are particularly useful in applications where language rules are well-defined and consistent, such as generating weather reports or basic news summaries.


3. Statistical Machine Learning Models

Statistical machine learning models for NLG use large amounts of data to learn how to generate text. These models, such as Hidden Markov Models (HMMs), can produce more varied and natural-sounding text than template or rule-based systems.
They are effective in situations where a large corpus of training data is available.

4. Deep Learning-Based Models

Deep learning-based models, like Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) and Long Short-Term Memory networks (LSTMs), represent a significant advancement in NLG.
They are capable of learning complex patterns in data and can generate highly coherent and contextually relevant text. These models are widely used in chatbots, virtual assistants, and creative writing applications.

5. Transformer-Based Models

Transformer-based models, such as Google’s BERT and OpenAI’s GPT series, have set new standards in NLG. These models use attention mechanisms to better understand the context within the text, enabling them to generate highly sophisticated and nuanced language.
They are particularly effective in applications requiring a deep understanding of context, such as in generating interactive dialogues or complex narratives.

Extractive vs. Abstractive Natural Language Generation: What’s the Difference?

In NLG, two primary approaches are extractive and abstractive. Extractive NLG involves pulling exact phrases from the source data, while abstractive NLG interprets and paraphrases the input data, often creating new sentences that weren’t in the original data.
The latter is more advanced and mimics human summarization skills more closely. Here’s a breakdown of their differences.

  • Text Source Utilization: Extractive NLG pulls exact phrases from the source text to create new content, whereas abstractive NLG paraphrases and reinterprets the text, often creating entirely new sentences.
  • Complexity and Sophistication: Abstractive methods are generally more complex and sophisticated, as they require a deeper understanding of language and context to generate coherent and relevant content.
  • Summarization Quality: In summarization tasks, extractive NLG tends to be more factual and concise, sticking closely to the source material. Abstractive NLG, on the other hand, can produce more fluent and readable summaries, as it can rephrase and condense information more effectively.
  • Technological Advancement: Abstractive NLG is a more advanced technique, often requiring more complex models like deep learning and transformer-based architectures, while extractive NLG can be implemented with simpler algorithms.
  • Application Suitability: Extractive NLG is suitable for applications where maintaining the exact wording from the source is important, such as legal or technical documents. Abstractive NLG is better for creative writing, journalism, and scenarios where a more natural, human-like text is desired.

How Can You Begin Implementing Natural Language Generation?


Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to implement natural language generation.

Step 1: Define Your Objectives

Start by clearly defining what you want to achieve with NLG. Determine the type of content you need to generate and the goals of this content. Whether it’s for automating report generation, enhancing customer service interactions, or creating content for digital platforms, having clear objectives is crucial.

Step 2: Gather and Prepare Your Data

NLG systems require structured data to generate text. Collect the relevant data and organize it in a format that can be easily processed by NLG tools. This might involve data cleaning, normalization, and structuring.

Step 3: Choose the Right NLG Model

Based on your objectives and the nature of your data, select an appropriate NLG model. This could range from simple template-based models for structured, repetitive tasks to more advanced deep learning models for complex, varied text generation.

Step 4: Train Your Model

If you’re using machine learning-based models, you will need to train your model using your dataset. This step involves feeding the model with examples and gradually adjusting it to improve its text generation capabilities.

Step 5: Integrate and Deploy

Once the model is trained and tested, integrate it into your existing systems. This could involve embedding it into your website, CRM system, or any other platform where the text generation is needed.

Step 6: Monitor and Iterate

After deployment, continuously monitor the performance of your NLG system. Collect feedback and use it to refine and improve the model. Regular updates and adjustments are key to maintaining the effectiveness and relevance of your NLG application.

How is Natural Language Generation Essential for Businesses?

NLG is transforming businesses by automating reporting, enhancing customer service, and personalizing marketing campaigns. It enables the generation of automated financial reports, personalized product descriptions, and customer service responses, thereby increasing efficiency and improving customer engagement.

What Are the Key Applications of Natural Language Generation?

NLG has diverse applications across various sectors. These include generating news articles, creating personalized content in marketing, automating report generation in finance and healthcare, and enhancing chatbots and virtual assistants in customer service.

Automated Reporting

NLG is extensively used in business and finance for automated reporting. It can quickly generate financial reports, business performance summaries, and analytics insights, saving time and reducing the potential for human error.

Personalized Marketing Content

NLG helps create personalized content for marketing campaigns. By analyzing customer data, NLG can generate customized product descriptions, targeted emails, and promotional content, enhancing customer engagement and experience.

Customer Service Chatbots

In customer service, NLG is crucial for powering chatbots and virtual assistants. These tools use NLG to generate natural, human-like responses to customer queries, providing efficient and scalable customer support.

News Generation and Journalism

NLG is transforming journalism by automating the creation of news articles, especially for data-driven stories like sports results or financial updates. This allows journalists to focus on more complex and investigative tasks.

Challenges in Natural Language Generation:


Despite its advancements, NLG faces challenges like ensuring the accuracy and relevance of generated content, maintaining the nuances of human language, and ethical concerns related to bias and misinformation.

Ensuring Content Accuracy and Relevance

One of the main challenges in NLG is ensuring the accuracy and relevance of the generated content. NLG systems must be carefully designed to avoid errors and maintain the integrity of the information they convey.

Overcoming Language Nuances

Dealing with the nuances of human language, such as idioms, sarcasm, and context-specific meanings, is a significant challenge. NLG systems need sophisticated understanding and processing capabilities to handle these complexities effectively.

Ethical Concerns and Bias

NLG systems can inadvertently propagate bias present in their training data. Addressing these ethical concerns and ensuring that generated content is fair and unbiased is a critical challenge in NLG development.

Resource Intensity and Scalability

Developing and deploying advanced NLG systems can be resource-intensive, requiring significant computational power and expertise. Scalability can also be a challenge, particularly for systems that need to handle large volumes of data or generate text in real-time.

Future Trends in Natural Language Generation:

The future of NLG lies in further enhancing its sophistication. This includes improvements in language models for more nuanced and context-aware outputs, the integration of emotional intelligence, and addressing ethical and bias-related challenges.

Integration of Emotional Intelligence

Future NLG systems are expected to incorporate emotional intelligence, enabling them to better understand and replicate human emotions in text, enhancing the naturalness and relatability of the content.

Advanced Contextual Understanding

Improvements in contextual understanding will allow NLG systems to generate more nuanced and contextually appropriate content, making them more effective in complex applications like interactive storytelling or personalized communication.

Addressing Ethical and Bias Issues

There will be a growing focus on addressing ethical concerns and reducing bias in NLG systems. This includes developing methods to detect and correct biases in training data and generated content.

Enhanced Interactivity and Personalization

Future trends will likely see NLG being used to create more interactive and personalized user experiences, especially in areas like e-learning, gaming, and virtual assistants, where user engagement is key.

Want to Read More? Explore These AI Glossaries!

Step into the world of artificial intelligence with our carefully designed glossaries. Whether you’re a newcomer or a proficient learner, there’s always something novel to discover!

  • What Is Computational Neuroscience?: Computational neuroscience is an interdisciplinary scientific field that employs mathematical models, theoretical analysis, and computer simulations to understand the structure, dynamics, and functioning of the nervous system and the brain, particularly in relation to cognitive and behavioral functions.
  • What Is Computational Number Theory?: It is a branch of mathematics that deals with algorithms for performing calculations within number theory.
  • What Is a Computational Problem?: In the context of artificial intelligence, a computational problem is a task or a question that can be addressed and solved using computational methods.
  • What is Computer Automated Design?: Computer Automated Design (CAD) is a digital technology that enables engineers, architects, and designers to create, modify, and optimize detailed 2D and 3D models of objects and structures with precision and efficiency.
  • What is Concept Drift?: concept drift refers to the phenomenon where the statistical properties of data used to train a machine learning model change over time, leading to a decrease in the model’s performance.


Natural Language Generation is an AI technology that transforms structured data into natural, human-like language.

An example is a chatbot generating human-like responses based on user inputs.

It works by analyzing structured data, applying language rules, and generating coherent text.

NLG focuses on generating text, while NLP (Natural Language Processing) encompasses a broader range of language understanding and interaction tasks.


Natural Language Generation in AI is not just a technological advancement; it’s a bridge connecting human communication with the computational power of machines. As this field evolves, it holds the promise of revolutionizing how we interact with data, enhancing business processes, and providing deeper, more personalized experiences.
This article comprehensively answered the question, “what is natural language generation,” explaining its uses in the modern world as well as its potential future. If you’re looking to learn more about different AI concepts, check out the variety of other articles we have in our AI Language Guide.

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Dave Andre


Digital marketing enthusiast by day, nature wanderer by dusk. Dave Andre blends two decades of AI and SaaS expertise into impactful strategies for SMEs. His weekends? Lost in books on tech trends and rejuvenating on scenic trails.

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