Interesting case of first name disambiguation

Camille Claudel

Here is an interesting case of first name disambiguation for machine translation. Consider the following first name ‘Camille’. It can apply to both genders. In Corsican (taravese or sartinese variants) it translates either into Cameddu (masculine) or Camedda (feminine). In some cases, the corresponding disambiguation relies on mere grammatical grounds. For example, ‘Camille était beau’ translates into Cameddu era beddu (Camille was beautiful), on grammatical grounds alone. The same goes for ‘Camille était belle’, that translates straightforwardly into Camedda era bedda (Camille was beautiful), according to the adjective gender.

Now the related disambiguation can result in a hard case, relying only on semantic context. Hence, ‘Camille était pacifique” can translate either into Cameddu era pacificu or into Camedda era pacifica, depending on the context (which can be text or even an image…). In effect, it cannot be translated merely on grammatical grounds, since ‘pacifique’ (pacific) is gender-ambiguous: it can translate either into pacificu of pacifica.

Now the same goes for French first name ‘Dominique’ (Dominic), which translates either into ‘Dumenicu (masculine) or ‘Dumenica‘ (feminine). Hence, ‘Dominique était pacifique’ (Dominic was pacific) can translate either into ‘Dumenicu era pacificu‘ or into ‘Dumenica era pacifica‘, depending on the context.

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