Paper: Translating Dialectal Arabic to English

ACL ID P13-2001
Title Translating Dialectal Arabic to English
Venue Annual Meeting of the Association of Computational Linguistics
Session Short Paper
Year 2013

We present a dialectal Egyptian Arabic to English statistical machine translation system that leverages dialectal to Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) adaptation. In contrast to previous work, we first nar- row down the gap between Egyptian and MSA by applying an automatic character- level transformational model that changes Egyptian to EG?, which looks simi- lar to MSA. The transformations include morphological, phonological and spelling changes. The transformation reduces the out-of-vocabulary (OOV) words from 5.2% to 2.6% and gives a gain of 1.87 BLEU points. Further, adapting large MSA/English parallel data increases the lexical coverage, reduces OOVs to 0.7% and leads to an absolute BLEU improve- ment of 2.73 points.