Toward a Principle-Based Translator

Unknown author (1985-06)

Working Paper

A principle-based computational model of natural language translation consists of two components: (1) a module which makes use of a set of principles and parameters to transform the source language into an annotated surface form that can be easily converted into a "base" syntactic structure; and (2) a module which makes use of the same set of principles, but a different set of parameter values, to transform the "base" syntactic structure into the target language surface structure. This proposed scheme of language translation is an improvement over existing schemes since it is based on interactions between principles and parameters rather than on complex interactions between language-specific rules as found in older schemes. The background for research of the problem includes: an examination of existing schemes of computerized language translation and an analysis of their shortcomings. Construction of the proposed scheme requires a preliminary investigation of the common "universal" principles and parametric variations across different languages within the framework of current linguistic theory. The work to be done includes: construction of a module which uses linguistic principles and source language parameter values to parse and output the corresponding annotated surface structures of source language sentences; creation of procedures which handle the transformation of an annotated surface structure into a "base" syntactic structure; and development of a special purpose generation scheme which converts a "base" syntactic structure into a surface form in the target language.