Natural Language Engineering

A unified alignment algorithm for bilingual data

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The paper presents a novel unified algorithm for aligning sentences with their translations in bilingual data. With the help of ideas from a stack-based dynamic programming decoder for speech recognition (Ney 1984), the search is parametrized in a novel way such that the unified algorithm can be used on various types of data that have been previously handled by separate implementations: the extracted text chunk pairs can be either sub-sentential pairs, one-to-one, or many-to-many sentence-level pairs. The one-stage search algorithm is carried out in a single run over the data. Its memory requirements are independent of the length of the source document, and it is applicable to sentence-level parallel as well as comparable data. With the help of a unified beam-search candidate pruning, the algorithm is very efficient: it avoids any document-level pre-filtering and uses less restrictive sentence-level filtering. Results are presented on a Russian-English, a Spanish-English, and an Arabic-English extraction task. Based on simple word-based scoring features, text chunk pairs are extracted out of several trillion candidates, where the search is carried out on 300 processors in parallel. © 2011 Cambridge University Press.


13 Sep 2011


Natural Language Engineering