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'The doctor can understand you now'
Date:9/21/2009

cally not easily available, tend to be financially prohibitive or raise privacy issues (such as using family members or children as translators)."

Filling these needs, Narayanan says, will require a system that can perceive and interpret not just words, but a wide range of human communications, an improvement on current, limited "pipeline" translation technology. "We want to let people communicate," he says. "We need to go beyond literal translation" - heavily based on translating written texts rather than spoken language - "to rich expressions in speech and non verbal cues. We want to enhance human communication capabilities."

The additional cues to be analyzed and incorporated into the translation mix include, according to the plan:

* Prosodic information: Spoken language uses word prominence, emphasis and contrast, and intonational cues - is it a statement or a question? Speech also divides subjects and thoughts in ways that aren't always clear in a word-by-word literal translation. Prosodic cues will serve as an important information source for robust intelligence in the proposed work. * Discourse information: Capturing contextual cues of dialog becomes especially important since our target goal to enable interpersonal interactions, in contrast to applications where the end-result is just translated text. The group plans to model and track the cross-lingual dialog flow to improve the information transfer between the interlocutors. * User state information: User state information such as affect and attitude are also a critical part of interpersonal communication. We plan to investigate markers of valence (positive/ negative) and activation (strong/weak) conveyed in spoken language. Specifically, the effort plans to capture this meta-information, and transfer these source utterance characteristics and speaker attitudes to the target language through our augmented expressive synthesis schemes

Other elements of the
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Contact: Eric Mankin
mankin@usc.edu
213-821-1887
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

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