Unsupervised Construction of Large Paraphrase Corpora: Exploiting Massively Parallel News Sources

We investigate unsupervised techniques for acquiring monolingual sentence-level paraphrases from a corpus of temporally and topically clustered news articles collected from thousands of web-based news sources. Two techniques are employed: (1) simple string edit distance, and (2) a heuristic strategy that pairs initial (presumably summary) sentences from different news stories in the same cluster. We evaluate both datasets using a word alignment algorithm and a metric borrowed from machine translation. Results show that edit distance data is cleaner and more easily-aligned than the heuristic data, with an overall alignment error rate (AER) of 11.58% on a similarly-extracted test set. On test data extracted by the heuristic strategy, however, performance of the two training sets is similar, with AERs of 13.2% and 14.7% respectively. Analysis of 100 pairs of sentences from each set reveals that the edit distance data lacks many of the complex lexical and syntactic alternations that characterize monolingual paraphrase. The summary sentences, while less readily alignable, retain more of the non-trivial alternations that are of greatest interest learning paraphrase relationships.

para_coling2004.pdf
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Publisher  International Conference on Computational Linguistics
Copyright COLING 2004

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TypeInproceedings
URLhttp://www.coling.org/
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