Mi Xue Tan


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Character-level Chinese-English Translation through ASCII Encoding
Nikola I. Nikolov | Yuhuang Hu | Mi Xue Tan | Richard H.R. Hahnloser
Proceedings of the Third Conference on Machine Translation: Research Papers

Character-level Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models have recently achieved impressive results on many language pairs. They mainly do well for Indo-European language pairs, where the languages share the same writing system. However, for translating between Chinese and English, the gap between the two different writing systems poses a major challenge because of a lack of systematic correspondence between the individual linguistic units. In this paper, we enable character-level NMT for Chinese, by breaking down Chinese characters into linguistic units similar to that of Indo-European languages. We use the Wubi encoding scheme, which preserves the original shape and semantic information of the characters, while also being reversible. We show promising results from training Wubi-based models on the character- and subword-level with recurrent as well as convolutional models.