Publication

Producing Referring Expressions in Dialogue: Insights from a Translation Exercise

van der Sluis, I., Nagai, J. & Luz, S., 2009, Proceedings of preCogsci 2009: Production of Referring Expressions: Bridging the gap between computational and empirical approaches to reference. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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This paper discusses some of the challenges which arise in
comparing the outputs of an algorithm for generating referring
expressions across languages and cultures. The context in
which the algorithm is employed and evaluated is a virtual environment,
and the referring expressions in question form part
of a dialogue script “acted out” by two virtual agents in a furniture
shop. This setup was created in order to enable us to assess
perceptions of a scene by English- and Japanese-speaking
subjects with respect to naturalness of dialogue and behaviour
of virtual agents, among other things. We show that the process
of translating the dialogues from English into Japanese
reveals a variety of contextual factors which need to be taken
into account for the generation and evaluation of dialogues to
be successful in the target language. We focus on issues related
to the use of referring expressions, specially: the utility
of different types of attributes in the identification of objects,
the realisation of locative expressions, and how to deal with
the absence of a distinction between singulars and plurals in
Japanese. These issues impact on the design and evaluation of
algorithms for generating referring expressions in interactive
situations, and call into question the extent to which current
algorithms are transferrable between languages and cultures,
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of preCogsci 2009: Production of Referring Expressions: Bridging the gap between computational and empirical approaches to reference
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, the Netherlands
Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Keywords

  • generation of referring expressions, realisation of referring expressions, translation, cross-cultural differences.

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