P. H. Smith


An algorithm for the translation of Russian inorganic-chemistry terms
L. R. Micklesen | P. H. Smith
Proceedings of the Annual meeting of the Association for Machine Translation and Computational Linguistics

An algorithm has been devised, and a computer program written, to translate certain recurring types of inorganic-chemistry terms from Russian to English. The terms arc all noun-phrases, and several different types of such phrases have been included in the program. Examples are: AZOTNONATRIEVA4 SOL6 sodium nitrate SOL6 ZAKISI/OKISI JELEZA ferrous/ferric salt ZAKISNA4 OKISNA4 SOL6 JELEZA GIDRAT ZAKISI/OKISI JELEZA ferrous/ferric salt etc., where the stems underlined may be replaced by any of a number of other stems (up to 65 in some positions) in the particular type. Translation of each type encounters problems common to almost all the types: (1) The Russian noun is translated as an English adjective, while the noun of the resulting English phrase is found among the modifiers of the Russian noun. (2) The Russian noun (English adjective) may be a metal with more than one valence state, the state indicated (if at all) by the modifiers. (3) The number of the resulting English noun-phrase is determined by some member of the Russian phrase other than the noun. (4) The phrase elements may occur compounded in the chemical phrase but free in other contexts, and dictionary storage must provide for this. The program permits translation of conjoined phrase elements as well. The paper also includes an investigation into the deeper grammatical implications of this type of chemical nomenclature, and some excursions into the semantic correlations involved.