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Evaluating the fully automatic multi-language translation of the Swiss avalanche bulletin


Winkler, Kurt; Kuhn, Tobias; Volk, Martin (2014). Evaluating the fully automatic multi-language translation of the Swiss avalanche bulletin. In: Fourth Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL), Galway, Ireland, 20 August 2014 - 22 August 2014, 44-54.

Abstract

The Swiss avalanche bulletin is produced twice a day in four languages. Due to the lack of time available for manual translation, a fully automated translation system is employed, based on a catalogue of predefined phrases and predetermined rules of how these phrases can be combined to produce sentences. The system is able to automatically translate such sentences from German into the target languages French, Italian and English without subsequent proofreading or correction. Our catalogue of phrases is limited to a small sublanguage. The reduction of daily translation costs is expected to offset the initial development costs within a few years. After being operational for two winter seasons, we assess here the quality of the produced texts based on an evaluation where participants rate real danger descriptions from both origins, the catalogue of phrases versus the manually written and translated texts. With a mean recognition rate of 55%, users can hardly distinguish between the two types of texts, and give similar ratings with respect to their language quality. Overall, the output from the catalogue system can be considered virtually equivalent to a text written by avalanche forecasters and then manually translated by professional translators. Furthermore, forecasters declared that all relevant situations were captured by the system with sufficient accuracy and within the limited time available.

Abstract

The Swiss avalanche bulletin is produced twice a day in four languages. Due to the lack of time available for manual translation, a fully automated translation system is employed, based on a catalogue of predefined phrases and predetermined rules of how these phrases can be combined to produce sentences. The system is able to automatically translate such sentences from German into the target languages French, Italian and English without subsequent proofreading or correction. Our catalogue of phrases is limited to a small sublanguage. The reduction of daily translation costs is expected to offset the initial development costs within a few years. After being operational for two winter seasons, we assess here the quality of the produced texts based on an evaluation where participants rate real danger descriptions from both origins, the catalogue of phrases versus the manually written and translated texts. With a mean recognition rate of 55%, users can hardly distinguish between the two types of texts, and give similar ratings with respect to their language quality. Overall, the output from the catalogue system can be considered virtually equivalent to a text written by avalanche forecasters and then manually translated by professional translators. Furthermore, forecasters declared that all relevant situations were captured by the system with sufficient accuracy and within the limited time available.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Computational Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
410 Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords:machine translation, catalogue of phrases, controlled natural language, text quality, avalanche warning
Language:English
Event End Date:22 August 2014
Deposited On:04 Dec 2014 13:11
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 08:40
Publisher:s.n.

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