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Parameterizing lexical conceptual structure for interlingual machine translation

A review of “Machine Translation: A View from the Lexicon” by Bonnie Jean Dorr. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1993. xx + 432 pp., ISBN 0-262-04138-3, $40.50

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Conclusion

this is an interesting and informative book with much to recommend it. It covers a great deal of ground in discussion of ideas and presentation of an actual implementation, but I believe the major contribution to be in four areas:

- In presenting a system whose syntax is based on “principles and parameters”, Dorr provides an interesting challenge to the standard rule-based approaches which are broadly unification-based.

- Dorr presents an interlingua which appears to have relatively solid linguistic motivation, and for which there is a very systematic mapping to and from text. This directly addresses two of the standard objections to interlingual approaches: arbitrariness and lack of systematicity. Unfortunately, the range of phenomena she considers is too limited to address the other major objection that is normally raised in relation to interlingual approaches: that of lack of coverage.

- Dorr presents a classification of translation divergences. I believe such a classification to be worthwhile, and I take this is a useful beginning. However, I find the actual classification proposed too broad, and theory-dependent. Moreover Dorr's claims about completeness of the classification are not convincing.

- Dorr presents a solution to various translation divergences via parameterization of the interlingual representation. Here I believe reservations about conceptual coherence of the representation and the generality of the approach are appropriate.

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References

  1. Dorr, Bonnie J.: 1991, ‘Principle Based Parsing for Machine Translation’, in Robert C. Berwick, Steven P. Abney and Carol Tenny (eds.), Principle Based Parsing: Computation and Psycholinguistics, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp. 153–183.

  2. Dorr, Bonnie J.: 1992/3, ‘The Use of Lexical Semantics in Interlingual Machine Translation’, Machine Translation 7, 135–193.

  3. Dorr, Bonnie J. and Mari Broman Olsen: 1996, ‘Multilingual Generation: the Role of Telicity in Lexical Choice and Syntactic Realization’, Machine Translation 11, 37–74.

  4. Dorr, Bonnie J. and Clare R Voss: 1996, ‘A Multi-Level Approach to Interlingual MT: Defining the Interface between Representational Languages’, International Journal of Expert Systems 9, 15–51.

  5. Hale, Kenneth and S. Jay Keyser: 1989, ‘On some Syntactic Rules in the Lexicon” ms. Cognitive Science Center, MIT, Cambridge, MA.

  6. Jackendoff, Ray: 1990, Semantic Structures, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

  7. Reichenbach, Hans: 1947, Elements of Symbolic Logic, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

  8. Talmy, Leonard: 1983, ‘How Language Structures Space’, in Herbert L. PickJr. and Linda P. Acredolo (eds.), Spatial Orientation: Theory, Research and Application, Plenum Press, New York, pp. 225–282.

  9. Talmy, Leonard: 1985, ‘Lexicalization Patterns: Semantic Structure in Lexical Forms’, in Timothy Shopen (ed.), Grammatical Categories and the Lexicon, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 57–149.

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Additional information

I am grateful to Harold Somers and Bonnie Dorr for criticisms and corrections of an earlier version. Of course, the remaining deficiencies are entirely my fault.

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Arnold, D. Parameterizing lexical conceptual structure for interlingual machine translation. Mach Translat 11, 217–241 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00387396

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Keywords

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Systematic Mapping
  • Computational Linguistic
  • Machine Translation
  • Major Objection