Controlling Japanese Honorifics in English-to-Japanese Neural Machine Translation

Weston Feely, Eva Hasler, Adrià de Gispert


Abstract
In the Japanese language different levels of honorific speech are used to convey respect, deference, humility, formality and social distance. In this paper, we present a method for controlling the level of formality of Japanese output in English-to-Japanese neural machine translation (NMT). By using heuristics to identify honorific verb forms, we classify Japanese sentences as being one of three levels of informal, polite, or formal speech in parallel text. The English source side is marked with a feature that identifies the level of honorific speech present in the Japanese target side. We use this parallel text to train an English-Japanese NMT model capable of producing Japanese translations in different honorific speech styles for the same English input sentence.
Anthology ID:
D19-5203
Volume:
Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Asian Translation
Month:
November
Year:
2019
Address:
Hong Kong, China
Venues:
EMNLP | WAT | WS
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
45–53
Language:
URL:
https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/D19-5203
DOI:
10.18653/v1/D19-5203
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PDF:
http://aclanthology.lst.uni-saarland.de/D19-5203.pdf