Maria Kunilovskaya


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Simultaneous Interpreting as a Noisy Channel: How Much Information Gets Through
Maria Kunilovskaya | Heike Przybyl | Ekaterina Lapshinova-Koltunski | Elke Teich
Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing

We explore the relationship between information density/surprisal of source and target texts in translation and interpreting in the language pair English-German, looking at the specific properties of translation (“translationese”). Our data comes from two bidirectional English-German subcorpora representing written and spoken mediation modes collected from European Parliament proceedings. Within each language, we (a) compare original speeches to their translated or interpreted counterparts, and (b) explore the association between segment-aligned sources and targets in each translation direction. As additional variables, we consider source delivery mode (read-out, impromptu) and source speech rate in interpreting. We use language modelling to measure the information rendered by words in a segment and to characterise the cross-lingual transfer of information under various conditions. Our approach is based on statistical analyses of surprisal values, extracted from n-gram models of our dataset. The analysis reveals that while there is a considerable positive correlation between the average surprisal of source and target segments in both modes, information output in interpreting is lower than in translation, given the same amount of input. Significantly lower information density in spoken mediated production compared to non-mediated speech in the same language can indicate a possible simplification effect in interpreting.

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Wartime Media Monitor (WarMM-2022): A Study of Information Manipulation on Russian Social Media during the Russia-Ukraine War
Maxim Alyukov | Maria Kunilovskaya | Andrei Semenov
Proceedings of the 7th Joint SIGHUM Workshop on Computational Linguistics for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, Humanities and Literature

This study relies on natural language processing to explore the nature of online communication in Russia during the war on Ukraine in 2022. The analysis of a large corpus of publications in traditional media and on social media identifies massive state interventions aimed at manipulating public opinion. The study relies on expertise in media studies and political science to trace the major themes and strategies of the propagandist narratives on three major Russian social media platforms over several months as well as their perception by the users. Distributions of several keyworded pro-war and anti-war topics are examined to reveal the cross-platform specificity of social media audiences. We release WarMM-2022, a 1.7M posts corpus. This corpus includes publications related to the Russia-Ukraine war, which appeared in Russian mass media and on social networks between February and September 2022. The corpus can be useful for the development of NLP approaches to propaganda detection and subsequent studies of propaganda campaigns in social sciences in addition to traditional methods, such as content analysis, focus groups, surveys, and experiments.

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Cross-lingual Mediation: Readability Effects
Maria Kunilovskaya | Ruslan Mitkov | Eveline Wandl-Vogt
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Text Simplification, Accessibility and Readability

This paper explores the readability of translated and interpreted texts compared to the original source texts and target language texts in the same domain. It was shown in the literature that translated and interpreted texts could exhibit lexical and syntactic properties that make them simpler, and hence, easier to process than their sources or comparable non-translations. In translation, this effect is attributed to the tendency to simplify and disambiguate the message. In interpreting, it can be enhanced by the temporal and cognitive constraints. We use readability annotations from the Newsela corpus to formulate a number of classification and regression tasks and fine-tune a multilingual pre-trained model on these tasks, obtaining models that can differentiate between complex and simple sentences. Then, the models are applied to predict the readability of sources, targets, and comparable target language originals in a zero-shot manner. Our test data – parallel and comparable – come from English-German bidirectional interpreting and translation subsets from the Europarl corpus. The results confirm the difference in readability between translated/interpreted targets against sentences in standard originally-authored source and target languages. Besides, we find consistent differences between the translation directions in the English-German language pair.


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Fiction in Russian Translation: A Translationese Study
Maria Kunilovskaya | Ekaterina Lapshinova-Koltunski | Ruslan Mitkov
Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2021)

This paper presents a translationese study based on the parallel data from the Russian National Corpus (RNC). We explored differences between literary texts originally authored in Russian and fiction translated into Russian from 11 languages. The texts are represented with frequency-based features that capture structural and lexical properties of language. Binary classification results indicate that literary translations can be distinguished from non-translations with an accuracy ranging from 82 to 92% depending on the source language and feature set. Multiclass classification confirms that translations from distant languages are more distinct from non-translations than translations from languages that are typologically close to Russian. It also demonstrates that translations from same-family source languages share translationese properties. Structural features return more consistent results than features relying on external resources and capturing lexical properties of texts in both translationese detection and source language identification tasks.

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Text Preprocessing and its Implications in a Digital Humanities Project
Maria Kunilovskaya | Alistair Plum
Proceedings of the Student Research Workshop Associated with RANLP 2021

This paper focuses on data cleaning as part of a preprocessing procedure applied to text data retrieved from the web. Although the importance of this early stage in a project using NLP methods is often highlighted by researchers, the details, general principles and techniques are usually left out due to consideration of space. At best, they are dismissed with a comment “The usual data cleaning and preprocessing procedures were applied”. More coverage is usually given to automatic text annotation such as lemmatisation, part-of-speech tagging and parsing, which is often included in preprocessing. In the literature, the term ‘preprocessing’ is used to refer to a wide range of procedures, from filtering and cleaning to data transformation such as stemming and numeric representation, which might create confusion. We argue that text preprocessing might skew original data distribution with regard to the metadata, such as types, locations and times of registered datapoints. In this paper we describe a systematic approach to cleaning text data mined by a data-providing company for a Digital Humanities (DH) project focused on cultural analytics. We reveal the types and amount of noise in the data coming from various web sources and estimate the changes in the size of the data associated with preprocessing. We also compare the results of a text classification experiment run on the raw and preprocessed data. We hope that our experience and approaches will help the DH community to diagnose the quality of textual data collected from the web and prepare it for further natural language processing.

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Translationese in Russian Literary Texts
Maria Kunilovskaya | Ekaterina Lapshinova-Koltunski | Ruslan Mitkov
Proceedings of the 5th Joint SIGHUM Workshop on Computational Linguistics for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, Humanities and Literature

The paper reports the results of a translationese study of literary texts based on translated and non-translated Russian. We aim to find out if translations deviate from non-translated literary texts, and if the established differences can be attributed to typological relations between source and target languages. We expect that literary translations from typologically distant languages should exhibit more translationese, and the fingerprints of individual source languages (and their families) are traceable in translations. We explore linguistic properties that distinguish non-translated Russian literature from translations into Russian. Our results show that non-translated fiction is different from translations to the degree that these two language varieties can be automatically classified. As expected, language typology is reflected in translations of literary texts. We identified features that point to linguistic specificity of Russian non-translated literature and to shining-through effects. Some of translationese features cut across all language pairs, while others are characteristic of literary translations from languages belonging to specific language families.


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Lexicogrammatic translationese across two targets and competence levels
Maria Kunilovskaya | Ekaterina Lapshinova-Koltunski
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

This research employs genre-comparable data from a number of parallel and comparable corpora to explore the specificity of translations from English into German and Russian produced by students and professional translators. We introduce an elaborate set of human-interpretable lexicogrammatic translationese indicators and calculate the amount of translationese manifested in the data for each target language and translation variety. By placing translations into the same feature space as their sources and the genre-comparable non-translated reference texts in the target language, we observe two separate translationese effects: a shift of translations into the gap between the two languages and a shift away from either language. These trends are linked to the features that contribute to each of the effects. Finally, we compare the translation varieties and find out that the professionalism levels seem to have some correlation with the amount and types of translationese detected, while each language pair demonstrates a specific socio-linguistically determined combination of the translationese effects.


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Towards Functionally Similar Corpus Resources for Translation
Maria Kunilovskaya | Serge Sharoff
Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2019)

The paper describes a computational approach to produce functionally comparable monolingual corpus resources for translation studies and contrastive analysis. We exploit a text-external approach, based on a set of Functional Text Dimensions to model text functions, so that each text can be represented as a vector in a multidimensional space of text functions. These vectors can be used to find reasonably homogeneous subsets of functionally similar texts across different corpora. Our models for predicting text functions are based on recurrent neural networks and traditional feature-based machine learning approaches. In addition to using the categories of the British National Corpus as our test case, we investigated the functional comparability of the English parts from the two parallel corpora: CroCo (English-German) and RusLTC (English-Russian) and applied our models to define functionally similar clusters in them. Our results show that the Functional Text Dimensions provide a useful description for text categories, while allowing a more flexible representation for texts with hybrid functions.

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Translationese Features as Indicators of Quality in English-Russian Human Translation
Maria Kunilovskaya | Ekaterina Lapshinova-Koltunski
Proceedings of the Human-Informed Translation and Interpreting Technology Workshop (HiT-IT 2019)

We use a range of morpho-syntactic features inspired by research in register studies (e.g. Biber, 1995; Neumann, 2013) and translation studies (e.g. Ilisei et al., 2010; Zanettin, 2013; Kunilovskaya and Kutuzov, 2018) to reveal the association between translationese and human translation quality. Translationese is understood as any statistical deviations of translations from non-translations (Baker, 1993) and is assumed to affect the fluency of translations, rendering them foreign-sounding and clumsy of wording and structure. This connection is often posited or implied in the studies of translationese or translational varieties (De Sutter et al., 2017), but is rarely directly tested. Our 45 features include frequencies of selected morphological forms and categories, some types of syntactic structures and relations, as well as several overall text measures extracted from Universal Dependencies annotation. The research corpora include English-to-Russian professional and student translations of informational or argumentative newspaper texts and a comparable corpus of non-translated Russian. Our results indicate lack of direct association between translationese and quality in our data: while our features distinguish translations and non-translations with the near perfect accuracy, the performance of the same algorithm on the quality classes barely exceeds the chance level.


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Universal Dependencies-based syntactic features in detecting human translation varieties
Maria Kunilovskaya | Andrey Kutuzov
Proceedings of the 16th International Workshop on Treebanks and Linguistic Theories