Machine Translation and Type Theory

  • Aarne Ranta
Part of the Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science book series (LEUS, volume 27)


This paper gives an introduction to automatic translation via examples from the history of the field, where statistical and grammar-based methods alternate. Grammatical Frameword (GF) is introduced as an approach that uses type theory to provide high-quality translation between multiple languages. GF translation is fundamentally grammar-based but can be combined with statistical methods such as learning translation models from a corpus and ranking translation candidates by probabilities.


Noun Phrase Machine Translation Target Language Translation System Abstract Syntax 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Per Martin-Löf supervised my PhD thesis and taught me how to think about type theory and language. He also introduced me to the noisy channel model of Shannon. He wondered if statistical models were still considered useful in natural language processing, and they have ever since been a recurrent theme in our discussions. With his unique combination of insights in both statistics and logic, and his accurate knowledge of many languages, Per has continued to be a major resource for my work through the 21 years that have passed since my PhD. When I later started to look closer at statistical methods, I received inspiration and guidance from Joakim Nivre, Lluís Màrquez, and Cristina España. Lauri Carlson has helped me to understand the problems of translation in general. The model described in this paper has received substantial contributions from my own PhD students Peter Ljunglöf, Kristofer Johannisson, Janna Khegai, Markus Forsberg, Björn Bringert, Krasimir Angelov, and Ramona Enache. The insightful comments from an anonymous referee were valuable when preparing the final version of the paper. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement n:o FP7-ICT-247914 (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and EngineeringChalmers University of Technology and University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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