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Linguistic Structure and Bilingual Informants to Induce Machine Translation of Lesser-Resourced Languages
Producing machine translation (MT) for the many minority languages in the world is a serious challenge. Minority languages typically have few resources for building MT systems. For many minor languages there is little machine readable text, few knowledgeable linguists, and little money available for mT development. For these reasons, our research programs on minority language MT have focused on leveraging to the maximum extent two resources that are available for minority languages: linguistic structure and bilingual informants. All natural languages contain linguistic structure. And although the details of that linguistic structure vary from language to language, language universals such as context-free syntactic structure and the paradigmatic structure of inflectional morphology, allow us to learn the specific details of a minority language. Similarly, most minority languages possess speakers who are bilingual with the major language of the area. This paper discusses our efforts to utilize linguistic structure and the translation information that bilingual informants can provide in three sub-areas of our rapid development MT program: morphology induction, syntactic transfer rule learning, and refinement of imperfect learned rules.