Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

USC Researchers Build Machine Translation System -- and More -- For Hindi in Less Than a Month

02.07.2003


In less than a month, researchers at USC’s Information Sciences Institute and collaborators nationwide have built one of the world’s best systems to translate Hindi text into English and query Hindi databases using English questions.

This effort was part of the "Surprise Language" project, a test of the computer science community’s ability to create translation tools quickly for previously unresearched languages sponsored by the Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA). The exercise ended July 1.

"A month ago, we didn’t even know what language we would be working on," explained Ulrich Germann, a computational linguist at ISI, which is part of the USC School of Engineering.



Then, at 10:55 p.m. PDT on June 1, the manager for DARPA’s TIDES (Translingual Information Detection, Extraction, and Summarization) program fired the starting gun with an email: "Surprise Language is Hindi.... Good luck!"

Teams at 11 different sites across the US and one in the UK jumped into action, and twenty-nine days later can present an impressive array of information processing tools for Hindi.

"We succeeded in all aspects of the exercise," said Douglas W. Oard, an associate professor at the University of Maryland who is currently spending a sabbatical year at ISI. "A month ago, we had no information retrieval for Hindi, no machine translation, no named entity identification, no question answering. Now we have all of that."

ISI’s researchers focused on four aspects of cross-lingual information processing: resource building, machine translation, summarization, and providing an efficient interface for the human to navigate the information space. Of these,"clearly, machine translation is the pivotal technology in this scenario," said Germann.

ISI research scientist Franz Josef Och, a leading specialist in machine translation, did much of this key task for ISI.

"Our approach uses statistical models to find the most likely translation for a given input," Och explained. "Instead of telling the computer how to translate, we let it figure it out by itself. First, we feed the system collection of parallel texts, material in the foreign language and their translations into English. The system tries to find the English sentence that is the most likely translation of the foreign input sentence, based on these statistical models."

Och’s Hindi system was one of four developed independently during the exercise. Trials scheduled for coming weeks will rate his against those developed at other sites.

Finding and creating parallel texts for Och and his colleagues to analyze was a major effort during the exercise, said Germann. While for most European languages, there are one or two predominant standardized ways of encoding them, e.g."Latin-1" or Unicode, Hindi has a wildly mixed potpourri of encodings.

"It’s ridiculous," said Germann, "almost every single Hindi language web site has its own encoding." Tools had to be made to convert all of these various systems to a single common one to present parallel texts to Och and other machine translation experts.

"Most of the conversion work was done by our partners at other participating sites, and it was absolutely critical to the success of the exercise," Germann said.

In addition to Och’s translation work, researchers applied search, summarization, and visualization tools developed at ISI to make Hindi texts more accessible to English language speakers. ISI researchers Anton Leuski and Chin-Yew Lin collaborated on a super-Google-like mutli-document search, summarization, adn translation system that allows users to enter search terms in English and generate results grouped by similarities found in the text, using refinements on a multi-document summarization technique developed by Lin.

Graduate student Liang Zhou developed a way to generate a headline for each group of similar stories found. Leuski’s unique Lighthouse visualization system displayed these results at spheres floating in groupings on the screen, with the most similar closest together.

The bottom line: a user can then view individual documents, or automatically generated summaries for whole groups of documents. Even though all documents were originally in Hindi, all the added value is available in English, thanks to the machine translation engine. In addition, references to locations in the documents are spotted (using a third-party tool, the BBN IdentiFinder) in the text and plotted on a map.

"It’s just wonderful to see so many of the technologies that we have developed at ISI come together and interact in such a useful way," said Eduard Hovy, head of ISI’s Natural Language Group.

Eric Mankin | USC
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu/isinews/stories/98.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Magnetic Quantum Objects in a "Nano Egg-Box"
25.07.2017 | Universität Wien

nachricht 3-D scanning with water
24.07.2017 | Association for Computing Machinery

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>