Machine Translation of Spatial Expressions: Defining the Relation between an Interlingua and a Knowledge Representation System

Bonnie J. Dorr, Clare R. Voss

In this paper we present one aspect of our research on machine translation (MT): defining the relation between the interlingua (IL) and a knowledge representation (KR) within an MT system. Our interest lies in the translation of natural language (NL) sentences where the "message" contains a spatial relation - in particular, where the sentence conveys information about the location or path of physical entities in the real, physical world. We explore several arguments for clarifying the source of constraints on the particular IL structures needed to translate these sentences. This paper develops one approach to defining these constraints and building an MT system where the IL structures designed to satisfy these constraints may be tested. In this way, we have begun to address one of the basic issues in MT research, providing independent justification for the IL itself.

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