Are Mutually Intelligible Languages Easier to Translate?
Two languages are considered mutually intelligible if their native speakers can communicate with each other, while using their own mother tongue. How does the fact that humans perceive a language pair as mutually intelligible affect the ability to learn a translation model between them? We hypothesize that the amount of data needed to train a neural ma-chine translation model is anti-proportional to the languages' mutual intelligibility. Experiments on the Romance language group reveal that there is indeed strong correlation between the area under a model's learning curve and mutual intelligibility scores obtained by studying human speakers.READ FULL TEXT