Empiricism from TMI-1992 to
AMTA-2002 to AMTA-2012
Have IBM Models 1-5 failed to
solve all the world’s problems?
Kenneth W. Church
AT&T Labs-Research
[email protected]
The organizers asked me…
• What's changed since TMI-92 (if anything)?
– TMI-92: great excitement over the use of aligned parallel corpora to help
human translators (translation tools)
– Also, much controversy over IBM Models 1-5
• So what's happened since 1992?
– Empiricism has come of age
• Textbooks: Charniak, Jelinek, Manning & Schultze, Jurafsky & Martin
• Textbooks  courses in many universities around the world
– What used to be considered radical is now accepted practice
• Evaluation is practically required for publication
– Mercer’s fighting words: More data is better data!
• Aren’t as shocking when Brill makes the case a decade later
– The new field of Machine Learning has absorbed many good (and
formally controversial) ideas including
• IBM Models 1-5
• Yarowsky's Word Sense Disambiguation
– Grew out of Machine Translation,
– But is now widely cited in Machine Learning as an early example of co-training
October 10, 2002
AMTA
2
Has the pendulum swung too far?
• What happened since TMI-1992 (if anything)?
– 1980-2000: Revival of Empirical Methods
• Have empirical methods become too popular?
– Has too much happened since TMI-1992?
• I worry that the pendulum has swung so far that
– we are no longer training students for the possibility
• that the pendulum might swing the other way
• We ought to be preparing students with a broad
education including:
– Statistics and Machine Learning
– as well as Linguistic Theory
October 10, 2002
AMTA
3
Empiricism:
Academia  Commercial Practice
• Empiricism has not only come of age in
academic venues (e.g., conferences, textbooks)
– but also in commercial venues
• Translation tools (e.g., alignment):
– Academia  commercial practice (Trados)
• Good Applications for Crummy MT
– Even better apps:
• CLIR (cross-language information retrieval)
• MT in web search engines (Systran & AltaVista)
October 10, 2002
AMTA
4
So, what do I expect to happen
over the next decade?
• Scale, stupid:
– There is a lot of excitement about the web
• Not only large and growing and sexy
• But also contains a rich structure of hypertext links
– I will propose a bait and switch strategy
• Bait: public Internet
• Switch: the real target is something larger and more valuable
– but more elusive
• Good Apps for Crummy NLP:
– Spend more time on:
• what we can do with what we have
• and not spend all our resources on the core technology
– There is a lot to a killer app:
• Great technology helps, but there is a lot more
• Similar arguments apply beyond MT to much of NLP and speech
October 10, 2002
AMTA
5
Overview
Historical rational reconstruction emphasizing empiricism & business
 Before TMI-1992: How to Cook a Demo
• TMI-1992 Debate: Rationalism v. Empiricism
• Hybrid/Tools:
–
–
–
•
What happened to the IBM-Approach to MT?
–
–
–
•
Kay’s Workstation
Good Apps for Crummy MT
Trados
Support for human translators (Translation Tools: Trados)
Fully automatic apps (CLIR)
Academia (Machine Learning)
Revival of Empiricism: A Personal Perspective
–
–
The IBM-approach to MT was always controversial
But there are lots of less controversial spin-offs:
•
•
Future (AMTA-2012): Bait and Switch Strategy
–
–
•
Bait: Use Public Internet to develop and test and socialize new ways of extracting value
Switch: Apply learnings to larger and more valuable private linguistic repositories
Market sizing: translation business is too small for fortune-500 companies
–
–
October 10, 2002
Tools, lexicography apps, word sense, machine learning
Major lasting contribution of IBM-Approach: academic (machine learning)
MT Strategy: work on MT because it is fun, but apply learnings elsewhere to pay the bills
AMTA
6
How To Cook A Demo
(TMI-1992)
• Great fun!
• Effective demos
–
–
–
–
Theater, theater, theater
Production quality matters
Entertainment >> evaluation
Strategic vision >> technical correctness
• Maturity: Many fields have come of age since 1950s
– Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning,
Natural Language, Machine Translation, Empiricism
• Success/Catastrophe
– Warning: demos can be too effective
– Dangerous to raise unrealistic expectations
• Seeds of empiricism
– Empirical methods: speech  language
October 10, 2002
AMTA
7
Let’s go to the video tape!
(Lesson: manage expectations)
•
Lots of predictions
–
–
Entertaining in retrospect
Nevertheless, many of these people went on to very successful
careers: president of MIT, Microsoft exec, etc.
1. Machine Translation (1950s) video
–
Classic example of a demo  embarrassment in retrospect
2. Translating telephone (late 1980s) video
–
–
Pierre Isabelle pulled a similar demo because it was so effective
The limitations of the technology were hard to explain to public
•
•
But well understood by research community
We aren’t asking what happened to translating telephones (if anything)
3. Apple (~1990) video
–
–
–
Still having trouble setting appropriate expectations
Strategy: Point & Click  Speech recognition
What happened to that (if anything)… Has it moved to Microsoft?
4. Andy Rooney (~1990): reset expectations video
October 10, 2002
AMTA
8
TMI-1992 Debate:
Rationalism v. Empiricism
• Self-organizing systems (IBM)
– Statistics do it all (no human intuition)
• Stone Soup (Wilks)
– Statistics don’t do nothing (all human intuition)
• Hybrid/Tools (Kay’s Workbench)
– Proper Place of Men and Machines in MT
• Use people for what they are good at
– Easy vocabulary and easy grammar
• Use machines for that they are good at
– Technical terminology, translation memories, re-use of previously translated texts
– Good Application of Crummy MT
– Trados
– Pragmatism: low hanging fruit
• Supply: do what we can do (with or without stats)
• Demand: do what is worth doing
October 10, 2002
AMTA
9
Stone Soup Debate
(mid-1990s)
•
IBM-style MT is obnoxious
– Agreed
•
It has all been done before
– Agreed
•
Stone soup: they’ve been adding intuition to their stats
– Agreed
•
It doesn’t work (Systran is better)
– Systran is also better than Pangloss
•
It isn’t about empiricism, evaluation, etc.
– Martin Kay’s advice about debating
•
Natural Ceiling
– Chomsky used this argument against Shannon
– In the part of speech case, the ceiling was broken with stats
•
Lack of data (lots of Canadian Hansards, but not much else)
– We don’t hear this argument so much any more…
•
The Future: Hybrid Approaches
– Agreed
October 10, 2002
AMTA
10
Bottom line  Hybrid/Tools
• Yorick will get the last word
• But from his abstract, it looks like he’s
going to tell us that I was right all along
• And just in case he doesn’t…
– Let me say it now: I told you so!
October 10, 2002
AMTA
11
Overview
Historical rational reconstruction emphasizing empiricism & business
• Before TMI-1992: How to Cook a Demo
• TMI-1992 Debate: Rationalism v. Empiricism
 Hybrid/Tools:
–
–
–
•
What happened to the IBM-Approach to MT?
–
–
–
•
Kay’s Workstation
Good Apps for Crummy MT
Trados
Support for human translators (Translation Tools: Trados)
Fully automatic apps (CLIR)
Academia (Machine Learning)
Revival of Empiricism: A Personal Perspective
–
–
The IBM-approach to MT was always controversial
But there are lots of less controversial spin-offs:
•
•
Future (AMTA-2012): Bait and Switch Strategy
–
–
•
Bait: Use Public Internet to develop and test and socialize new ways of extracting value
Switch: Apply learnings to larger and more valuable private linguistic repositories
Market sizing: translation business is too small for fortune-500 companies
–
–
October 10, 2002
Tools, lexicography apps, word sense, machine learning
Major lasting contribution of IBM-Approach: academic (machine learning)
MT Strategy: work on MT because it is fun, but apply learnings elsewhere to pay the bills
AMTA
12
Kay’s Workstation (1980)
Proper Place of Men and Machines in MT
• The translator’s [workstation] will not run before it can
walk.
– It will be called on only for that for which its masters have
learned to trust it.
– It will not require constant infusions of new ad hoc devices that
only expensive vendors can supply.
• It is a framework that will gracefully accommodate the
future contributions
– that linguistics and computer science are able to make.
• One day it will be built because
– its very modesty assures its success.
• It is to be hoped that it will be built with taste by people
– who understand languages and computers well enough to know
how little it is that they know.
October 10, 2002
AMTA
13
CWARC: Canadian Workplace
Automation Research Center (1989)
• A PC
• Network access to the Termium terminology database
CD-ROM
• WorkPerfect
• CompareRite (a diff tool)
• TextSearch (a concordance tool)
• Mercury/Termex (terminology)
• Procomm (remote access to data banks via telephone
modem)
• Seconde Memoire (French verb inflections)
• Software Bridge (tool for converting word processing
files from one commercial format into another)
October 10, 2002
AMTA
14
Good Apps for Crummy MT
•
•
•
•
It should set reasonable expectations
It should make sense economically
It should be attractive to the intended users
It should exploit the strengths of the machine
– and not compete with the strengths of the human
• It should be clear to the users what the system
can and cannot do, and
• It should encourage the field to move forward
toward a sensible long-term goal.
October 10, 2002
AMTA
15
Evaluation: MultiLingual 13:6
A Trade Magazine for Translators
SelfOrganizing
Stone
Soup
Hybrid/
Tools
Page
Description of Article
18
Reviews: Reverso Pro 5, Reverso Expert
Products offer useful new features
√
21
T-Remote Memory
√
24
Content Management: Systems for Managing
Content Transformations
√
31
Comparing Tools Used in
Software Localization
√
37
Working With Machine Translation
√*
42
Integrating Translation Tools With
Document Creation (CMU → Déjà Vu)
√
49
A Look At Two Web Translation Portals
53
Going Global With Lingo Systems
October 10, 2002
AMTA
√
√*
16
MultiLingual 13:6
Very Positive on Tools
• T-Remote Memory (p. 21)
– Combination of translation memory,
workflow & distributed work centers
(work at home)
• Moore’s Law: large revenues  better
technology
– “Hold on to your seats, translators and
agencies, our industry is about to
change again… Forecast shakeup:
extreme.”
• Comparing Tools Used in Software
Localization (p. 31): A Consumer
Reports-like Review
– Presupposition: tools are ready for
wide-spread use
• “Finally, I am told that there are people
out there for whom price does matter.”
– ATA Conference (~1990): the translator
and the MT salesman
October 10, 2002
AMTA
17
MultiLingual 13:6 is mostly positive
on technology, but…
• Working With Machine
Translation (p. 37)
– Although the formatting of the
source text is extremely simple,
the machine translation output
requires a lot of painstaking postediting
• Grim reality: mark-up is more
valuable than translation
– The verdict is unanimous
– The translators, who have gained
a lot of experience of EU topics,
prefer to work without Systran
• A Look at Two Web Translation
Portals (p. 49)
– At first I thought it was a machine
translation site..., but soon
discovered that it was not one of
those “free translation” sites.
October 10, 2002
AMTA
≈ $0.25/word
18
Machine Translation + Post-Editing:
Long History of Mixed Results
• Positive:
– Magusson-Murray (1985, p. 180): Although you can
expect to at least double your translator’s output, the
real cost-saving in MT likes in complete electronic
transfer of information and the integration into a fully
electronic publishing system.
– Lawson (1984, p. 6): Substantial rises in translations
output, by as much as 75 per cent in one case, are
being reported by users of the Logos machine
translation (MT) system after only a few months.
– Tschira (1985): For one type of text (data description
manuals), we observed an increase in throughput of
30 per cent.
October 10, 2002
AMTA
19
Surprisingly, automation (MT + Post-editing)
can be more expensive than manual baseline
• Negative:
– Macklovitch (1991, p. 3): The HT production chain was
significantly faster than the MT production chain.
– Kay (1980): Proper Place of Men and Machines in MT
– ALPAC (1966, p. 19): The postedited translation took slightly
longer to do and was more expensive than conventional human
translation… Dr. J. C. R. Licklider of IBM and Dr. Paul Garvin of
Bunker-Ramo said they would not advise their companies to
establish such a service.
• Credibility gap:
– Why so little consistency? 200%? 75%? 30%? 0%?
– Why haven’t these products done better in the marketplace?
– The tools argument (terminology and translation memories)
works better with translators than post-editing
– Translators may be biased
• but they have considerable expertise (and influence)
• Automation will be easier if they believe in it
October 10, 2002
AMTA
20
Overview
Historical rational reconstruction emphasizing empiricism & business
•
•
•
Before TMI-1992: How to Cook a Demo
TMI-1992 Debate: Rationalism v. Empiricism
Hybrid/Tools:
–
–
–
Kay’s Workstation
Good Apps for Crummy MT
Trados
 What happened to the IBM-Approach to MT?
–
–
–
•
Support for human translators (Translation Tools: Trados)
Fully automatic apps (CLIR)
Academia (Machine Learning)
Revival of Empiricism: A Personal Perspective
–
–
The IBM-approach to MT was always controversial
But there are lots of less controversial spin-offs:
•
•
Future (AMTA-2012): Bait and Switch Strategy
–
–
•
Bait: Use Public Internet to develop and test and socialize new ways of extracting value
Switch: Apply learnings to larger and more valuable private linguistic repositories
Market sizing: translation business is too small for fortune-500 companies
–
–
October 10, 2002
Tools, lexicography apps, word sense, machine learning
Major lasting contribution of IBM-Approach: academic (machine learning)
MT Strategy: work on MT because it is fun, but apply learnings elsewhere to pay the bills
AMTA
21
What has happened to the IBMApproach to Machine Translation?
•
Support for human translators (MultiLingual 13:6)
1.
2.
3.
•
Fully automatic
–
–
•
CLIR: cross-language information retrieval
Translating web pages
Academic fields
–
–
October 10, 2002
Terminology: translators don’t need help with the easy
vocabulary and the easy grammar
Translation Memory: translators are often asked to translate
the same material again and again (e.g., revisions of manuals)
Alignment
Machine Learning: most important contribution
Corpus-based Lexicography: spreading into lots of other fields
including politics (Nunberg)
AMTA
22
Use of Political Labels in Major Newspapers
Geoffrey Nunberg
Commentary broadcast on "Fresh Air," March 19, 2002
Total instances in
newspapers
database
Liberal
Pct within 7
words of
relevant label
Total instances in
"liberal" papers
4.8%
Pct. within 7
words of label in
"liberal" papers
3.78%
Paul Wellstone
2939
10.90%
578
8.48%
Barney Frank
8501
4.70%
1439
3.89%
Tom Harkin
10,147
3.70%
1784
2.02%
Ted Kennedy
17,197
3.00%
2444
2.74%
Barbara Boxer
8977
2.00%
3093
1.78%
Conservative
3.6%
2.89%
Jesse Helms
19,874
9.10%
4718
6.02%
Tom DeLay
6351
3.60%
1859
2.90%
John Ashcroft
10,187
2.10%
1157
3.03%
Dick Armey
9222
2.10%
1460
1.44%
Trent Lott
18,048
1.40%
4976
1.05%
October 10, 2002
AMTA
23
Surprisingly, liberals are more likely to
be labeled as such than conservatives
• In fact, I [Nunberg] did find a big disparity in the way the
press labels liberals and conservatives,
– but not in the direction that Goldberg claims.
• On the contrary: the average liberal legislator has a 30%
greater likelihoods of being identified with a partisan
label than the average conservative does.
• The press describes
– Barney Frank as a liberal 2.5 times as frequently
– as it describes Dick Armey as a conservative.
• It gives Barbara Boxer a partisan label
– almost twice as often as it gives one to Trent Lott.
• And while it isn't surprising that the press applies the
label conservative to Jesse Helms more often than to
any other Republican in the group,
October 10, 2002
– it describes Paul Wellstone as a liberal
– 20% more frequently than that.
AMTA
24
1990s Revival of Empiricism
•
Empiricism was at its peak in the 1950s
– Dominating a broad set of fields
• Ranging from psychology (behaviorism)
• To electrical engineering (information theory)
•
At the time, it was common practice in linguistics to classify words not only
by meaning but also by collocations (word associations)
– Firth: “You shall know a word by the company it keeps”
– Collocations: Strong tea v. powerful computers
– Word Associations: bread and butter, doctor/nurse
•
Regrettably, interest in empiricism faded
– with Chomsky’s criticism of ngrams in Syntactic Structures (1957)
– and Minsky and Papert’s criticism of neural networks in Perceptrons (1969).
•
Availability of massive amounts of data (even before the web)
– “More data is better data”
– Quantity >> Quality (balance)
•
Pragmatic focus:
– What can we do with all this data?
– Better to do something than nothing at all
•
October 10, 2002
Empirical methods (and focus on evaluation): Speech  Language
AMTA
25
Shannon’s: Noisy Channel Model
Language
Model
Channel
Model
• I  Noisy Channel  O
• I΄ ≈ ARGMAXI Pr(I|O) = ARGMAXI Pr(I) Pr(O|I)
Language Model
Word
Rank
More likely alternatives
We
9
The This One Two A Three
Please In
need
7
are will the would also do
to
1
resolve
85
have know do…
all
9
The This One Two A Three
Please In
of
2
The This One Two A Three
Please In
the
important
issues
October 10, 2002
Channel Model
Application
Input
Output
Speech Recognition
writer
rider
OCR (Optical
Character
Recognition)
all
a1l
Spelling Correction
government
goverment
1
657
14
document question first…
thing point to
AMTA
26
Using (Abusing) Shannon’s Noisy Channel Model:
Part of Speech Tagging and Machine Translation
• Speech
– Words  Noisy Channel  Acoustics
• OCR
– Words  Noisy Channel  Optics
• Spelling Correction
– Intended Text  Noisy Channel  Typos
• Part of Speech Tagging (POS):
– POS  Noisy Channel  Words
• Machine Translation:
– English  Noisy Channel  French
October 10, 2002
AMTA
27
Statistical MT
• E  Noisy Channel  F
• E΄ = ARGMAXE Pr(E) Pr(F|E)
• Language Model, Pr(E):
– Trigram model (borrowed from speech recog)
• Channel Model, Pr(F|E):
– Based on aligned parallel corpora
– Models 1-5: alignment
• Mercer & Church (Computational Linguistics, 1993)
– Statistical MT may fail for reasons advanced by Chomsky
– Regardless of its ultimate success or failure,
– There is a growing community of researchers in corpus-based
linguistics who believe it will produce valuable lexical resources
• Bilingual concordances
• Translation tools
• Training & testing material for word sense disambig (senseval)
October 10, 2002
AMTA
28
Word Sense Disambiguation
• Knowledge Acquisition Bottleneck
–
–
–
–
Bar-Hillel (1960)
Expert systems don’t scale
Sense-tagged text: expensive
Parallel text!
• Translation = sense-tagged text
– Sentence (judicial sense)  peine
– Sentence (syntactic sense)  phrase
• Yarowsky: bilingual  monolingual
• One sense per discourse
• Machine Learning: early example of co-training
October 10, 2002
AMTA
29
Rationalism
Empiricism
Well-known
Chomsky, Minsky
advocates
Shannon, Skinner, Firth, Harris
Model Competence Model
Noisy Channel Model
Contexts of
Phrase-Structure
Interest
N-Grams
All and Only
Minimize Prediction Error (Entropy)
Goals Explanatory
Descriptive
Theoretical
Applied
Linguistic
Agreement & Wh-movement
Generalizations
Principle-Based, CKY
Parsing Strategies
(Chart), ATNs,
Unification
Collocations & Word Associations
Forward-Backward (HMMs),
Inside-outside (PCFGs)
Understanding
Recognition
Who did what to whom
Noisy Channel Applications
Applications
October 10, 2002
AMTA
30
Revival of Empiricism:
A Personal Perspective
•
At MIT, I was solidly opposed to empiricism
– But that changed soon after moving to AT&T Bell Labs (1983)
•
Letter-to-Sound Rules (speech synthesis)
– Names: Letter stats  Etymology  Pronunciation video
– NetTalk: Neural Nets video
•
•
•
•
•
•
Demo: great theater  unrealistic expectations
Self-organizing systems v. empiricism
Machine Learning v. Corpus-based Linguistics
I did it, I did it, I did it, but…
Part of Speech Tagging (1988)
Word Associations (Hanks)
– Mutual info  collocations & word associations
• Collocations: Strong tea v. powerful computers
• Word Associations: bread and butter, doctor/nurse
•
•
•
Good-Turing Smoothing (Gale)
Aligning Parallel Corpora (inspired by MT)
Word Sense Disambiguation
– Bilingual  Monolingual
•
October 10, 2002
Even if IBM’s approach fails for MT  lasting benefit (tools, linguistic
resources, academic contributions to machine learning)
AMTA
31
Overview
Historical rational reconstruction emphasizing empiricism & business
•
•
•
Before TMI-1992: How to Cook a Demo
TMI-1992 Debate: Rationalism v. Empiricism
Hybrid/Tools:
–
–
–
•
What happened to the IBM-Approach to MT?
–
–
–
•
Kay’s Workstation
Good Apps for Crummy MT
Trados
Support for human translators (Translation Tools: Trados)
Fully automatic apps (CLIR)
Academia (Machine Learning)
Revival of Empiricism: A Personal Perspective
–
–
The IBM-approach to MT was always controversial
But there are lots of less controversial spin-offs:
•
Tools, lexicography apps, word sense, machine learning
 Future (AMTA-2012): Bait and Switch Strategy
–
–
•
Market sizing: translation business is too small for fortune-500 companies
–
–
October 10, 2002
Bait: Use Public Internet to develop and test and socialize new ways of extracting value
Switch: Apply learnings to larger and more valuable private linguistic repositories
Major lasting contribution of IBM-Approach: academic (machine learning)
MT Strategy: work on MT because it is fun, but apply learnings elsewhere to pay the bills
AMTA
32
Strategy is Important
www.elsnet.org
•
Our field is doing better and better!
– It used to be hard to prepare a talk for a CL audience
• because there was almost nothing that you could assume everyone knew.
– The field will really have arrived when a course in speech and language
processing is a normal part of every undergraduate and graduate Computer
Science, Electronic Engineering, and Linguistics programme
• and we're a long way from that
•
•
But things are improving…
Now have several textbooks: Manning & Schutze, Jurafsky and Martin
– A quick search of the web: textbooks  courses (around the world)
•
There were, of course, many other obstacles
– that limited the size of the field.
•
It used to be hard to join in on the fun
– because only a few large industrial labs could afford to collect data
•
Thanks to data collection efforts such as LDC and ELSNET and the web
– Data is no longer the problem it used to be
– Of course, you can never have too much of a good thing…
•
October 10, 2002
Tools also used to be a problem….
AMTA
33
Learn from Theoretical Computer Science
• There is always, though, more
– we could do to promote our field
• Learn from Theoretical Computer Science
– Theory has paid more attention to teaching
• than we have
– They have also worked hard on strategy
• www.research.att.com/~dsj/nsflist.html
• The theory community regularly exchange lists
of open problems along with difficulty ratings
– Students know before they solve a problem whether it
is worth a conference paper or a superstar award
October 10, 2002
AMTA
34
Strategy: not urgent, but important
• Many orgs (.edu, .com, .gov) work hard on strategy
• Plenty of examples on the web:
–
–
–
–
www.nsf.gov/pubs/2001/nsf0104/strategy.htm
www.darpa.mil/body/mission.html
medg.lcs.mit.edu/doyle/publications/sdcr96.pdf
www.gridforum.org/L_About/about.htm
• Hard to say why strategy is important
– But I have noticed, at least within AT&T, that groups that work
hard on strategy have grown and prospered over the years
– Strategy is never as urgent as the next conference paper
deadline, but it is probably more important
October 10, 2002
AMTA
35
Strategy documents have impact
(even if it appears that they are being ignored)
• Organizations may or may not follow their own
recommendations
• The discussion that produces the strategy document is
extremely valuable, nevertheless,
– perhaps more so that anything that happens after doc is finalized
• Strategy panels offer a forum for people to meet
– and look at the field from a broader perspective
• In addition, the theory community has observed that
even after the people involved in the original discussion
have long since forgotten the outcome
– Recommendations continue to live on
– and broaden the best and most aggressive students for years
October 10, 2002
AMTA
36
Strategy Discussions in Our Field
• There are a few discussions of strategy within our field:
–
–
–
–
http://www.elsnet.org/about.html
http://www.ldc.upenn.edu/ldc/about/ldc_intro.html
http://www-nlpir.nist.gov/projects/duc/papers/
LREC workshops (to order proceedings, see www.lrec-conf.org)
• LDC link developed a decade ago
– Largely responsible for the success of LDC
– If more groups in our field put the same kind of energy into strategy,
• There would be more success stories like the LDC
• A delightful "near miss" is Martin Kay's reflections on ICCL and
COLING
– Establishes direction for the format of Coling conferences in a “classic”
Martin-style
• Proposal: convince Martin to write a doc in the same delightful style
– Establish direction for the field rather than atmosphere for Coling
October 10, 2002
AMTA
37
Bait and Switch Strategy
www.elsnet.org
• Bait: public Internet
– Large, sexy, available, rich hypertext structure
• Switch: as large as the web is
– There are larger & more valuable private repositories
• Private Intranets & telephone networks
– Exclusivity  Value
• No one cares about data that everyone can have
• Just as Groucho Marx doesn’t want to be in a club that…
• Strategy: Use the public Intranet to develop, test and
socialize new ways to extract value from large linguistic
repositories
– Value to society: Apply solutions to private repositories
October 10, 2002
AMTA
38
Call Centers:
An Intelligence Bonanza
October 10, 2002
• Some companies are collecting
information with technology
designed to monitor incoming calls
for service quality.
• Last summer, Continental Airlines
Inc. installed software from
Witness Systems Inc. to monitor
the 5,200 agents in its four
reservation centers.
• But the Houston airline quickly
realized that the system, which
records customer phone calls and
information on the responding
agent's computer screen, also was
an intelligence bonanza, says
André Harris, reservations training
and quality-assurance director.
AMTA
39
Bait: Use Web to establish: More data is better data
•
•
Shocking at TMI-92 (Mercer), but less so a decade later (Brill)
EMNLP-02 best paper: Using the Web to Overcome Data Sparseness
– Larger corpora (Google) >> smaller corpora (British National Corpus) for
predicting psycholinguistic judgements.
– Suggested in the conclusions that web counts better than standard smoothing
techniques (back-off) for language modelling
– Really exciting! Performance on a broad range of computational linguistics tasks
will improve as we collect more and more data
– The rising tide of data will lift all boats!
•
Brill (AskMSR Question Answering):
– One can do remarkably well in TREC question answering competitions by using
a search engine like Google and very little else
•
•
Norvig (ACL-02 invited talk): ditto
Google is also very good at finding collocations/associations
– http://labs1.google.com/sets
• Cat & dog  animals
• Cat & more  Unix commands!
– We used to try to do similar things a decade ago, but the results where not as
good, probably because we were working with relatively tiny corpora in the subbillion-word range
– Unix commands and many other subjects (esp taboo subjects) are overrepresented on web
•
Quantity v. quality/corpus size v. balance
– Is collecting more data better than smoothing?
October 10, 2002
AMTA
40
Question Answering & Google
October 10, 2002
AMTA
41
http://labs1.google.com/sets
Cat
more
England
Japan
Dog
Horse
Fish
Bird
cat
ls
rm
mv
France
Germany
Italy
Ireland
China
India
Indonesia
Malaysia
Rabbit
Cattle
Rat
cd
cp
mkdir
Spain
Scotland
Belgium
Korea
Taiwan
Thailand
Livestock
Mouse
Human
man
tail
pwd
Canada
Austria
Australia
Singapore
Australia
Bangladesh
October 10, 2002
AMTA
42
How Large is Large?
•
Web  Renewed Excitement
– Large, rich hypertext structure & publicly available
– Google = 1000 * BNC
• Google: 100 Billion Words
• British National Corpus (BNC): 100 Million Words
•
•
•
It is often said that the web is the largest repository but…
Changes to copyright laws could unlock vast quantities of data:
www.lexisnexis.com
Private Intranets and telephone networks >> Public Web
– FCC (trends.html): 200 million telephones in USA (1 line/person)
• Usage: 1 hour/day/line
• Assume 1 sec ≈ 1 word  10 Google collections/day
– Currently, Intranets (data) ≈ telephones (voice)
• But data is growing faster than voice
•
Admittedly, much of the data on Intranets cannot be distributed
– And much of the speech on the telephone networks cannot be recorded
– But attitudes are changing
• It used to be considered rude to have a telephone answering machine
• Now it is considered rude not to have one
– Between answering machines and call centers, perhaps 10% can be recorded
October 10, 2002
AMTA
43
In the past, recording all this data would
have been prohibitively expensive
• Thanks to Moore’s Law
– Storage costs have been falling faster than transport
– And will continue to do so for some time
• Even at current prices, transport >> storage
– Long-distance telephone calls: $0.05/min
– Disk space: $0.005/min
• If I am willing to pay for a call
– I might as well keep the speech online for a long time
• Similar comments hold for data (web pages)
– If I am willing to pay to fetch a web page
• I might as well cache it for a long time
• Why flush a page if there is any chance that it might be requested again?
– Web caches  crawlers
• Go find the pages that I might ask for and keep them forever
• Storage is cheap (compared to transport)
October 10, 2002
AMTA
44
Recommendations
Bait and Switch Strategy
• Papers:
– Keep up the good work!
– There is considerable interest in eval on corpora
– There will be more interest in how well methods port
to new corpora
– More interest in how performance scales with size
– Hopefully corpus size helps
• but of course, all the data in the world will not solve all the
world’s problems
– Need to understand when more data will help
• And when it is better to do something else
– revival of linguistics
October 10, 2002
AMTA
45
More Bait and Switch Recommendations
Investments in infrastructure
• In addition to traditional data collection efforts focused on
publicly available linguistic repositories
– We out to think about private repositories, as well.
• Potential: Huge impact on size of private repositories
– By making it more convenient to capture private data, and
– By demonstrating that there is value in doing so.
• For example, most of us do not keep voice mail for long
– though I have been using Scanmail to copy voice mail to email
– and like many people, I keep a lot of email online for a long time
• Unfortunately, tools for searching email and other private
repositories are not as good as the tools for searching
public repositories (Google)
October 10, 2002
AMTA
46
Overview
Historical rational reconstruction emphasizing empiricism & business
•
•
•
Before TMI-1992: How to Cook a Demo
TMI-1992 Debate: Rationalism v. Empiricism
Hybrid/Tools:
–
–
–
•
What happened to the IBM-Approach to MT?
–
–
–
•
Kay’s Workstation
Good Apps for Crummy MT
Trados
Support for human translators (Translation Tools: Trados)
Fully automatic apps (CLIR)
Academia (Machine Learning)
Revival of Empiricism: A Personal Perspective
–
–
The IBM-approach to MT was always controversial
But there are lots of less controversial spin-offs:
•
•
Tools, lexicography apps, word sense, machine learning
Future (AMTA-2012): Bait and Switch Strategy
–
–
Bait: Use Public Internet to develop and test and socialize new ways of extracting value
Switch: Apply learnings to larger and more valuable private linguistic repositories
 Market sizing: translation business is too small for fortune-500 companies
–
–
October 10, 2002
Major lasting contribution of IBM-Approach: academic (machine learning)
MT Strategy: work on MT because it is fun, but apply learnings elsewhere to pay the bills
AMTA
47
Market Opportunities for Translation
• CACM (with Rau): Commercial Opportunities for NLP
– Do we count garage outfits funded by grants?
– Fortune-500 perspective: min of $100 million
– Identified two application areas
• Word Processing (Microsoft)
• Information Retrieval (Lexis-Nexis/Web)
– Did not identify translation
• How large is translation market? Huge estimates:
– $10+ Billion (Eurolang)
– Comparable to AT&T’s revenues for consumer services
– Telcos are a major employer (unlike translation)
• Estimates of Market Size
– English-only (ASCII):
English
• Pairs of English Speakers
– Monolingual (ISO/Unicode)
• Pairs of speakers who share a language
Monolingual
– Multi-lingual (translation)
• Pairs of speakers
October 10, 2002
Multi-lingual
AMTA
48
Surprisingly Little Demand for Multi-lingual
Applications: Translation & Interpretation
•
AT&T Language Line Lesson:
– Surprisingly, monolingual market >> multi-lingual market
•
•
•
•
Lots of demand for telephone service where both parties speak the same language
We thought there would be even more demand for a translating telephone
Because there are more pairs of people who don’t share a common language than do
But people don’t talk (much) to people they don’t know
– AT&T Language Line Service:
• Speech to speech interpretation over the phone (low tech except conf calling/work-at-home)
• Plus a traditional writing to writing translation service
– Interpretation market: focused on emergencies: police, hospital (too small for AT&T)
– Translation market: focus on technical manuals (also, too small for AT&T)
– Surprise: interpretation market ≠ translation market; demand for language pair
• Interpretation (speech to speech): depends on number of domestic speakers
• Translation (writing to writing): depends on world-wide GNP
•
•
Putnam: Bowling Alone  Bridging and Bonding
Employment opportunities for translators
–
–
–
–
October 10, 2002
Not Good
Markup is more valuable than translation
Desktop publishing is a better business
Business case: Adobe >> Trados
AMTA
English
Monolingual
Multi-lingual
49
Summary
Historical rational reconstruction emphasizing empiricism & business
•
•
•
Before TMI-1992: How to Cook a Demo
TMI-1992 Debate: Rationalism v. Empiricism
Hybrid/Tools:
–
–
–
•
What happened to the IBM-Approach to MT?
–
–
–
•
Kay’s Workstation
Good Apps for Crummy MT
Trados
Support for human translators (Translation Tools: Trados)
Fully automatic apps (CLIR)
Academia (Machine Learning)
Revival of Empiricism: A Personal Perspective
–
–
The IBM-approach to MT was always controversial
But there are lots of less controversial spin-offs:
•
•
Future (AMTA-2012): Bait and Switch Strategy
–
–
•
Bait: Use Public Internet to develop and test and socialize new ways of extracting value
Switch: Apply learnings to larger and more valuable private linguistic repositories
Market sizing: translation business is too small for fortune-500 companies
–
–
October 10, 2002
Tools, lexicography apps, word sense, machine learning
Major lasting contribution of IBM-Approach: academic (machine learning)
MT Strategy: work on MT because it is fun, but apply learnings elsewhere to pay the bills
AMTA
50
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