Bayesian Synchronous Grammar Induction

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 21 (NIPS 2008)

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Phil Blunsom, Trevor Cohn, Miles Osborne


We present a novel method for inducing synchronous context free grammars (SCFGs) from a corpus of parallel string pairs. SCFGs can model equivalence between strings in terms of substitutions, insertions and deletions, and the reordering of sub-strings. We develop a non-parametric Bayesian model and apply it to a machine translation task, using priors to replace the various heuristics commonly used in this field. Using a variational Bayes training procedure, we learn the latent structure of translation equivalence through the induction of synchronous grammar categories for phrasal translations, showing improvements in translation performance over previously proposed maximum likelihood models.