Paper Presentation at the 2018 Taiwan Translation Conference

By Ruben G. Tsui (Translation Track, second year)

It was a tremendous honor to be given the opportunity to present a research paper at the 2018 Taiwan Translation Conference in September. This annual event is organized by the National Academy for Educational Research (NAER), and this year the theme was Technology and Translation. Being an avid fan of language technology, I’m constantly looking for ways to incorporate software tools into my daily translation tasks.

The origin of my paper, Using Bilingual Word Embeddings and Dependency Parsing to Identify Collocation Translation (pardon the excessively long title), lies in the term paper I wrote for the Chinese-English Contrastive Analysis course in my first semester at GPTI. In a nutshell, the paper makes use of the “word embedding” technique invented in 2013 (known as word2vec) to create models from a parallel corpus (a collection of sentence-aligned multilingual texts, usually translated). What it essentially does is to map ordinary words into vectors (ordered list of numbers in an n-dimensional space, n usually between 200 and 300), which can then be manipulated using simple math to find a word’s synonyms and other closely related words in terms of their distributional patterns. In the “bilingual” mode, this becomes “translation” of lexical terms. The other part of this paper is “dependency parsing”, a computational linguistics technique to find the grammatical relationships between words in a given sentence. Examples: main verbs and their direct objects, and adjectival or nominal modifiers of nouns. Obviously this has direct application in the identification of collocation word pairs.

All of the papers at the conference were each allotted 15 minutes for the presenters. When it was my turn, I was rather nervous and ended up doing poorly in terms of time management. I had to wrap things up quickly as soon as I heard the bell ring for the first time. In contrast, Sandy, my classmate and fellow second-year student who also had her paper presented at the event, was steady, confident and delivered a perfectly paced (and informative) presentation. Brava!

So first-year GPTI students, if you’d like to have your research papers presented at next year’s translation conference, I recommend: (1) actively look for and discuss research topics with your potential thesis advisors and find out what the main topic for the 2019 conference will be as early as possible; and (2) if and when your paper is accepted, practice the presentation many times with your classmates, friends or family members and make sure you keep it strictly within the 15-minute limit. See you next year at the conference!