Skip to main content Skip to main navigation


Translating away Translationese without Parallel Data

Rricha Jalota; Koel Chowdhury; Cristina España-Bonet; Josef van Genabith
In: Houda Bouamor; Juan Pino; Kalika Bali (Hrsg.). Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing. Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-2023), Singapore, Pages 7086-7100, Association for Computational Linguistics, 2023.


Translated texts exhibit systematic linguistic differences compared to original texts in the same language, and these differences are referred to as translationese. Translationese has effects on various cross-lingual natural language processing tasks, potentially leading to biased results. In this paper, we explore a novel approach to reduce translationese in translated texts: translation-based style transfer. As there are no parallel human-translated and original data in the same language, we use a self-supervised approach that can learn from comparable (rather than parallel) mono-lingual original and translated data. However, even this self-supervised approach requires some parallel data for validation. We show how we can eliminate the need for parallel validation data by combining the self-supervised loss with an unsupervised loss. This unsupervised loss leverages the original language model loss over the style-transferred output and a semantic similarity loss between the input and style-transferred output. We evaluate our approach in terms of original vs. translationese binary classification in addition to measuring content preservation and target-style fluency. The results show that our approach is able to reduce translationese classifier accuracy to a level of a random classifier after style transfer while adequately preserving the content and fluency in the target original style.

Weitere Links