M. Hildebran


The application of table processing concepts to the Sakai translation technique
A. Opler | R. Silverstone | Y. Saleh | M. Hildebran | I. Slutzky
Proceedings of the Annual meeting of the Association for Machine Translation and Computational Linguistics

In 1961, I. Sakai described a new technique for the mechanical translation of languages. The method utilizes large tables which contain the syntactic rules of the source and target languages. As part of a study of the AN/GSQ-16 Lexical Processing Machine, a modification of the Sakai method was developed. Five of six planned table scanning phases were implemented and tested. Our translation system (1) converts input text to syntactic and semantic codes with a dictionary scan, (2) clears syntactic ambiguities where resolution by adjacent words is effective, (3) resolves residual syntactic ambiguities by determining the longest meaningful semantic unit, (4) reorders word sequence according to the rules of the target language and (5) produces the final target language translation. French to English was the source-target pair selected for the study. An Input Dictionary of 3,000 French stems was prepared and 17,000 entries comprised the Input Product Table (allowable syntactic combinations ). Since Sakai was working with highly dissimilar languages, he found it necessary to use an intermediate language. Because of the structural similarity between French and English, we found an intermediate language was unnecessary. The method proved straightforward to implement using the table lookup logic of the Lexical Processor. The translation was actually performed on an IBM 1401 which we programmed to simulate the concept of the AN/GSQ-16 Lexical Processor. In our implementation magnetic tapes replaced the photoscopic storage disk.