UNITRAN: A Principle-Based Approach to Machine Translation

Unknown author (1987-12-01)

Machine translation has been a particularly difficult problem in the area of Natural Language Processing for over two decades. Early approaches to translation failed since interaction effects of complex phenomena in part made translation appear to be unmanageable. Later approaches to the problem have succeeded (although only bilingually), but are based on many language-specific rules of a context-free nature. This report presents an alternative approach to natural language translation that relies on principle-based descriptions of grammar rather than rule-oriented descriptions. The model that has been constructed is based on abstract principles as developed by Chomsky (1981) and several other researchers working within the "Government and Binding" (GB) framework. Thus, the grammar is viewed as a modular system of principles rather than a large set of ad hoc language-specific rules.