Communicating Unknown Words in Machine Translation

A new approach to handle unknown words in machine translation is presented. The basic idea is to find definitions for the unknown words on the source language side and translate those definitions instead. Only monolingual resources are required, which generally offer a broader coverage than bilingual resources and are available for a large number of languages. In order to use this in a machine translation system definitions are extracted automatically from online dictionaries and encyclopedias. The translated definition is then inserted and clearly marked in the original hypothesis. This is shown to lead to significant improvements in (subjective) translation quality
Published in 2008