Combining Statistical Translation Techniques for Cross-Language Information Retrieval

Cross-language information retrieval today is dominated by techniques that rely principally on context-independent token-to-token mappings despite the fact that state-of-the-art statistical machine translation systems now have far richer translation models available in their internal representations. This paper explores combination-of-evidence techniques using three types of statistical translation models: context-independent token translation, token translation using phrase-dependent contexts, and token translation using sentence-dependent contexts. Context-independent translation is performed using statistically-aligned tokens in parallel text, phrase-dependent translation is performed using aligned statistical phrases, and sentence-dependent translation is performed using those same aligned phrases together with an n-gram language model. Experiments on retrieval of Arabic, Chinese, and French documents
using English queries show that no one technique is optimal for all queries, but that statistically significant improvements in mean average precision over strong baselines can be achieved by combining translation evidence from all three techniques. The optimal combination is, however, found to be resource-dependent, indicating a need for future work on robust tuning to the characteristics of individual collections.

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