Lost in Translation: Analysis of Information Loss During Machine Translation Between Polysynthetic and Fusional Languages

Manuel Mager, Elisabeth Mager, Alfonso Medina-Urrea, Ivan Vladimir Meza Ruiz, Katharina Kann


Abstract
Machine translation from polysynthetic to fusional languages is a challenging task, which gets further complicated by the limited amount of parallel text available. Thus, translation performance is far from the state of the art for high-resource and more intensively studied language pairs. To shed light on the phenomena which hamper automatic translation to and from polysynthetic languages, we study translations from three low-resource, polysynthetic languages (Nahuatl, Wixarika and Yorem Nokki) into Spanish and vice versa. Doing so, we find that in a morpheme-to-morpheme alignment an important amount of information contained in polysynthetic morphemes has no Spanish counterpart, and its translation is often omitted. We further conduct a qualitative analysis and, thus, identify morpheme types that are commonly hard to align or ignored in the translation process.
Anthology ID:
W18-4808
Volume:
Proceedings of the Workshop on Computational Modeling of Polysynthetic Languages
Month:
August
Year:
2018
Address:
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Venues:
COLING | PYLO | WS
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
73–83
Language:
URL:
https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/W18-4808
DOI:
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PDF:
http://aclanthology.lst.uni-saarland.de/W18-4808.pdf