Model With Minimal Translation Units, But Decode With Phrases

Nadir Durrani, Alexander Fraser and Helmut Schmid

N-gram-based models co-exist with their phrase-based counterparts as an alternative SMT framework. Both techniques have pros and cons. While the N-gram-based framework provides a better model that captures both source and target contexts and avoids spurious phrasal segmentation, the ability to memorize and produce larger translation units gives an edge to the phrase-based systems during decoding, in terms of better search performance and superior selection of translation units. In this paper we combine N-gram-based modeling with phrase-based decoding, and obtain the benefits of both approaches. Our experiments show that using this combination not only improves the search accuracy of the N-gram model but that it also improves the BLEU scores. Our system outperforms state-of-the-art phrase-based systems (Moses and Phrasal) and N-gram-based systems by a significant margin on German, French and Spanish to English translation tasks.

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