HM-BiTAM: Bilingual Topic Exploration, Word Alignment, and Translation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 20 (NIPS 2007)

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Bing Zhao, Eric Xing


We present a novel paradigm for statistical machine translation (SMT), based on joint modeling of word alignment and the topical aspects underlying bilingual document pairs via a hidden Markov Bilingual Topic AdMixture (HM-BiTAM). In this new paradigm, parallel sentence-pairs from a parallel document-pair are coupled via a certain semantic-flow, to ensure coherence of topical context in the alignment of matching words between languages, during likelihood-based training of topic-dependent translational lexicons, as well as topic representations in each language. The resulting trained HM-BiTAM can not only display topic patterns like other methods such as LDA, but now for bilingual corpora; it also offers a principled way of inferring optimal translation in a context-dependent way. Our method integrates the conventional IBM Models based on HMM --- a key component for most of the state-of-the-art SMT systems, with the recently proposed BiTAM model, and we report an extensive empirical analysis (in many way complementary to the description-oriented of our method in three aspects: word alignment, bilingual topic representation, and translation.