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A new multiple choice comprehension test for MT

Published in:
Automatic and Manual Metrics for Operation Translation Evaluation Workshop, 9th Int. Conf. on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2014), 26 May 2014.

Summary

We present results from a new machine translation comprehension test, similar to those developed in previous work (Jones et al., 2007). This test has documents in four conditions: (1) original English documents; (2) human translations of the documents into Arabic; conditions (3) and (4) are machine translations of the Arabic documents into English from two different MT systems. We created two forms of the test: Form A has the original English documents and output from the two Arabic-to-English MT systems. Form B has English, Arabic, and one of the MT system outputs. We administered the comprehension test to three subject types recruited in the greater Boston area: (1) native English speakers with no Arabic skills, (2) Arabic language learners, and (3) Native Arabic speakers who also have English language skills. There were 36 native English speakers, 13 Arabic learners, and 11 native Arabic speakers with English skills. Subjects needed an average of 3.8 hours to complete the test, which had 191 questions and 59 documents. Native English speakers with no Arabic skills saw Form A. Arabic learners and native Arabic speakers saw form B.
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Summary

We present results from a new machine translation comprehension test, similar to those developed in previous work (Jones et al., 2007). This test has documents in four conditions: (1) original English documents; (2) human translations of the documents into Arabic; conditions (3) and (4) are machine translations of the Arabic...

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Standardized ILR-based and task-based speech-to-speech MT evaluation

Published in:
Automatic and Manual Metrics for Operation Translation Evaluation Workshop, 9th Int. Conf. on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2014), 26 May 2014.

Summary

This paper describes a new method for task-based speech-to-speech machine translation evaluation, in which tasks are defined and assessed according to independent published standards, both for the military tasks performed and for the foreign language skill levels used. We analyze task success rates and automatic MT evaluation scores (BLEU and METEOR) for 220 role-play dialogs. Each role-play team consisted of one native English-speaking soldier role player, one native Pashto-speaking local national role player, and one Pashto/English interpreter. The overall PASS score, averaged over all of the MT dialogs, was 44%. The average PASS rate for HT was 95%, which is important because a PASS requires that the role-players know the tasks. Without a high PASS rate in the HT condition, we could not be sure that the MT condition was not being unfairly penalized. We learned that success rates depended as much on task simplicity as it did upon the translation condition: 67% of simple, base-case scenarios were successfully completed using MT, whereas only 35% of contrasting scenarios with even minor obstacles received passing scores. We observed that MT had the greatest chance of success when the task was simple and the language complexity needs were low.
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Summary

This paper describes a new method for task-based speech-to-speech machine translation evaluation, in which tasks are defined and assessed according to independent published standards, both for the military tasks performed and for the foreign language skill levels used. We analyze task success rates and automatic MT evaluation scores (BLEU and...

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Using United States government language proficiency standards for MT evaluation

Published in:
Chapter 5.3.3 in Handbook of Natural Language Processing and Machine Translation, 2011, pp. 775-82.

Summary

The purpose of this section is to discuss a method of measuring the degree to which the essential meaning of the original text is communicated in the MT output. We view this test to be a measurement of the fundamental goal of MT; that is, to convey information accurately from one language to another. We conducted a series of experiments in which educated native readers of English responded to test questions about translated versions of texts originally written in Arabic and Chinese. We compared the results for those subjects using machine translations of the texts with those using professional reference translations. These comparisons serve as a baseline for determining the level of foreign language reading comprehension that can be achieved by a native English reader relying on machine translation technology. This also allows us to explore the relationship between the current, broadly accepted automatic measures of performance for machine translation and a test derived from the Defense Language Proficiency Test, which is used throughout the Defense Department for measuring foreign language proficiency. Our goal is to put MT system performance evaluation into terms that are meaningful to US government consumers of MT output.
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Summary

The purpose of this section is to discuss a method of measuring the degree to which the essential meaning of the original text is communicated in the MT output. We view this test to be a measurement of the fundamental goal of MT; that is, to convey information accurately from...

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Machine translation for government applications

Published in:
Lincoln Laboratory Journal, Vol 18, No. 1, June 2009, pp. 41-53.

Summary

The idea of a mechanical process for converting one human language into another can be traced to a letter written by René Descartes in 1629, and after nearly 400 years, this vision has not been fully realized. Machine translation (MT) using digital computers has been a grand challenge for computer scientists, mathematicians, and linguists since the first international conference on MT was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1952. Currently, Lincoln Laboratory is achieving success in a highly focused research program that specializes in developing speech translation technology for limited language resource domains and in adapting foreign-language proficiency standards for MT evaluation. Our specialized research program is situated within a general framework for multilingual speech and text processing for government applications.
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Summary

The idea of a mechanical process for converting one human language into another can be traced to a letter written by René Descartes in 1629, and after nearly 400 years, this vision has not been fully realized. Machine translation (MT) using digital computers has been a grand challenge for computer...

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ILR-based MT comprehension test with multi-level questions

Published in:
Human Language Technology, North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, HLT/NAACL, 22-27 April 2007.

Summary

We present results from a new Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) based comprehension test. This new test design presents questions at multiple ILR difficulty levels within each document. We incorporated Arabic machine translation (MT) output from three independent research sites, arbitrarily merging these materials into one MT condition. We contrast the MT condition, for both text and audio data types, with high quality human reference Gold Standard (GS) translations. Overall, subjects achieved 95% comprehension for GS and 74% for MT, across all genres and difficulty levels. Interestingly, comprehension rates do not correlate highly with translation error rates, suggesting that we are measuring an additional dimension of MT quality.
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Summary

We present results from a new Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) based comprehension test. This new test design presents questions at multiple ILR difficulty levels within each document. We incorporated Arabic machine translation (MT) output from three independent research sites, arbitrarily merging these materials into one MT condition. We contrast the...

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Toward an interagency language roundtable based assessment of speech-to-speech translation capabilitites

Published in:
AMTA 2006, 7th Biennial Conf. of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas, 8-12 August 2006.

Summary

We present observations from three exercises designed to map the effective listening and speaking skills of an operator of a speech-to-speech translation system (S2S) to the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale. Such a mapping is nontrivial, but will be useful for government and military decision makers in managing expectations of S2S technology. We observed domain-dependent S2S capabilities in the ILR range of Level 0+ to Level 1, and interactive text-based machine translation in the Level 3 range.
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Summary

We present observations from three exercises designed to map the effective listening and speaking skills of an operator of a speech-to-speech translation system (S2S) to the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale. Such a mapping is nontrivial, but will be useful for government and military decision makers in managing expectations of...

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Measuring translation quality by testing English speakers with a new Defense Language Proficiency Test for Arabic

Published in:
Int. Conf. on Intelligence Analysis, 2-5 May 2005.

Summary

We present results from an experiment in which educated English-native speakers answered questions from a machine translated version of a standardized Arabic language test. We compare the machine translation (MT) results with professional reference translations as a baseline for the purpose of determining the level of Arabic reading comprehension that current machine translation technology enables an English speaker to achieve. Furthermore, we explore the relationship between the current, broadly accepted automatic measures of performance for machine translation and the Defense Language Proficiency Test, a broadly accepted measure of effectiveness for evaluating foreign language proficiency. In doing so, we intend to help translate MT system performance into terms that are meaningful for satisfying Government foreign language processing requirements. The results of this experiment suggest that machine translation may enable Interagency Language Roundtable Level 2 performance, but is not yet adequate to achieve ILR Level 3. Our results are based on 69 human subjects reading 68 documents and answering 173 questions, giving a total of 4,692 timed document trials and 7,950 question trials. We propose Level 3 as a reasonable nearterm target for machine translation research and development.
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Summary

We present results from an experiment in which educated English-native speakers answered questions from a machine translated version of a standardized Arabic language test. We compare the machine translation (MT) results with professional reference translations as a baseline for the purpose of determining the level of Arabic reading comprehension that...

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Measuring human readability of machine generated text: three case studies in speech recognition and machine translation

Published in:
Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, Vol. 5, ICASSP, 19-23 March 2005, pp. V-1009 - V-1012.

Summary

We present highlights from three experiments that test the readability of current state-of-the art system output from (1) an automated English speech-to-text system (2) a text-based Arabic-to-English machine translation system and (3) an audio-based Arabic-to-English MT process. We measure readability in terms of reaction time and passage comprehension in each case, applying standard psycholinguistic testing procedures and a modified version of the standard Defense Language Proficiency Test for Arabic called the DLPT*. We learned that: (1) subjects are slowed down about 25% when reading system STT output, (2) text-based MT systems enable an English speaker to pass Arabic Level 2 on the DLPT* and (3) audio-based MT systems do not enable English speakers to pass Arabic Level 2. We intend for these generic measures of readability to predict performance of more application-specific tasks.
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Summary

We present highlights from three experiments that test the readability of current state-of-the art system output from (1) an automated English speech-to-text system (2) a text-based Arabic-to-English machine translation system and (3) an audio-based Arabic-to-English MT process. We measure readability in terms of reaction time and passage comprehension in each...

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New measures of effectiveness for human language technology

Summary

The field of human language technology (HLT) encompasses algorithms and applications dedicated to processing human speech and written communication. We focus on two types of HLT systems: (1) machine translation systems, which convert text and speech files from one human language to another, and (2) speech-to-text (STT) systems, which produce text transcripts when given audio files of human speech as input. Although both processes are subject to machine errors and can produce varying levels of garbling in their output, HLT systems are improving at a remarkable pace, according to system-internal measures of performance. To learn how these system-internal measurements correlate with improved capabilities for accomplishing real-world language-understanding tasks, we have embarked on a collaborative, interdisciplinary project involving Lincoln Laboratory, the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center to develop new techniques to scientifically measure the effectiveness of these technologies when they are used by human subjects.
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Summary

The field of human language technology (HLT) encompasses algorithms and applications dedicated to processing human speech and written communication. We focus on two types of HLT systems: (1) machine translation systems, which convert text and speech files from one human language to another, and (2) speech-to-text (STT) systems, which produce...

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