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Domain adaptation of statistical machine translation with domain-focused web crawling

Pavel Pecina; Antonio Toral; Vassilis Papavassiliou; Prokopis Prokopidis; Ale¨ Tamchyna; Andy Way; Josef van Genabith
In: Journal on Language Resources and Evaluation, Vol. 49, No. 1, Pages 147-193, Springer, Netherlands, 3/2015.


In this paper, we tackle the problem of domain adaptation of statistical machine translation (SMT) by exploiting domain-specific data acquired by domain-focused crawling of text from the World Wide Web. We design and empirically evaluate a procedure for automatic acquisition of monolingual and parallel text and their exploitation for system training, tuning, and testing in a phrase-based SMT framework. We present a strategy for using such resources depending on their availability and quantity supported by results of a large-scale evaluation carried out for the domains of environment and labour legislation, two language pairs (English–French and English–Greek) and in both directions: into and from English. In general, machine translation systems trained and tuned on a general domain perform poorly on specific domains and we show that such systems can be adapted successfully by retuning model parameters using small amounts of parallel in-domain data, and may be further improved by using additional monolingual and parallel training data for adaptation of language and translation models. The average observed improvement in BLEU achieved is substantial at 15.30 points absolute.

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