The ARIEL-CMU situation frame detection pipeline for LoReHLT16: a model translation approach


The LoReHLT16 evaluation challenged participants to extract Situation Frames (SFs)—structured descriptions of humanitarian need situations—from monolingual Uyghur text. The ARIEL-CMU SF detector combines two classification paradigms, a manually curated keyword-spotting system and a machine learning classifier. These were applied by translating the models on a per-feature basis, rather than translating the input text. The resulting combined model provides the accuracy of human insight with the generality of machine learning, and is relatively tractable to human analysis and error correction. Other factors contributing to success were automatic dictionary creation, the use of phonetic transcription, detailed, hand-written morphological analysis, and naturalistic glossing for error analysis by humans. The ARIEL-CMU SF pipeline produced the top-scoring LoReHLT16 situation frame detection systems for the metrics SFType, SFType+Place+Need, SFType+Place+Relief, and SFType+Place+Urgency, at each of the three checkpoints.

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    It should be noted, however, that it does not vary monotonically with precision (or recall or F1), as the SFE and precision values in Tables 5 and 6 will show.

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    This is thus not lemmatization per se—the lemma of all of these is qatar, with -liq being a suffix—but rather an attempt to find the most appropriate corresponding word in the lexicons, whether it is a lemma or not.

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    Compared to our SFType detection systems, the features in our English Status-detection decision trees focused comparatively more on functional words (e.g., words more often indicative of tense, aspect, or modality) than content words. We did not believe these words would translate well using a lexical feature-translation approach, so we did not submit any of these results as part of a primary submission.

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    The error correction was performed on both models, but in the keyword model it was more straightforward to fix (i.e., by simply removing the keyword) and to know that the fix had worked.


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This project was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Innovation Office (I2O), program: Low Resource Languages for Emergent Incidents (LORELEI), issued by DARPA/I2O under Contract No. HR0011-15-C-0114.

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Littell, P., Tian, T., Xu, R. et al. The ARIEL-CMU situation frame detection pipeline for LoReHLT16: a model translation approach. Machine Translation 32, 105–126 (2018).

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  • LoReHLT
  • Situation frames
  • Information extraction