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Microblogs as Parallel Corpora

Wang Ling, Guang Xiang, Chris Dyer, Alan Black and Isabel Trancoso

The 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2013)
Sofia, Bulgaria, August 4-9, 2013


In the ever-expanding sea of microblog data, there is a surprising amount of naturally occurring parallel text: some users create post multilingual messages targeting international audiences while others ``retweet'' translations. We present an efficient method for detecting these messages and extracting parallel segments from them. We have been able to extract over 1M Chinese-English parallel segments from Sina Weibo (the Chinese counterpart of Twitter) using only their public APIs. As a supplement to existing parallel training data, our automatically extracted parallel data yields substantial translation quality improvements in translating microblog text and modest improvements in translating edited news commentary. The resources in described in this paper are available at

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