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We present a Bayesian approach to word alignment inference in IBM Models 1 and 2. In the original approach, word translation probabilities (i.e., model parameters) are estimated using the expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm. In the proposed approach, they are random variables with a prior and are integrated out during inference. We use Gibbs sampling to infer the word alignment posteriors. The inferred word alignments are compared against EM and variational Bayes (VB) inference in terms of their end-to-end translation performance on several language pairs and types of corpora up to 15 million sentence pairs. We show that Bayesian inference outperforms both EM and VB in the majority of test cases. Further analysis reveals that the proposed method effectively addresses the high-fertility rare word problem in EM and unaligned rare word problem in VB, achieves higher agreement and vocabulary coverage rates than both, and leads to smaller phrase tables.
Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:21 , Issue: 5 )
Date of Publication: May 2013