A North Saami to South Saami Machine Translation Prototype


  • Lene Antonsen Department of Language and Culture, The Arctic University of Norway
  • Trond Trosterud Department of Language and Culture, The Arctic University of Norway
  • Francis M. Tyers Department of Language and Culture, The Arctic University of Norway




The paper describes a rule-based machine translation (MT) system from North to South Saami. The system is designed for a workflow where North Saami functions as pivot language in translation from Norwegian or Swedish. We envisage manual translation from Norwegian or Swedish to North Saami, and thereafter MT to South Saami. The system was aimed at a single domain, that of texts for use in school administration. We evaluated the system in terms of the quality of translations for postediting. Two out of three of the Norwegian to South Saami professional translators found the output of the system to be useful. The evaluation shows that it is possible to make a functioning rule-based system with a small transfer lexicon and a small number of rules and achieve results that are useful for a restricted domain, even if there are substantial differences b etween the languages.


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