Ottawa University Search Engine Optimization Report and PPT

Ottawa University Search Engine Optimization Report and PPT

Search Engine Optimization Report and PPT


Topic : Search Engine Optimization


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Argentinian Journal of Applied Linguistics
Vol. 7, No. 1, May 2019, 93-108
Validating multilingual hybrid automatic term extraction for search engine
optimisation: the use case of EBM-GUIDELINES
Ayla Rigouts Terryn*
– Ghent University, Belgium
Véronique Hoste – Ghent University, Belgium
Joost Buysschaert – Ghent University, Belgium
Robert Vander Stichele – Ghent University, Belgium
Elise Van Campen – Editor, ebpracticenet, Belgium
Els Lefever – Ghent University, Belgium
(Received 20/12/18; final version received 01/04/19)
Tools that automatically extract terms and their equivalents in other languages from parallel corpora can
contribute to multilingual professional communication in more than one way. By means of a use case with
data from a medical web site with point of care evidence summaries (Ebpracticenet), we illustrate how
hybrid multilingual automatic term extraction from parallel corpora works and how it can be used in a
practical application such as search engine optimisation. The original aim was to use the result of the
extraction to improve the recall of a search engine by allowing automated multilingual searches. Two
additional possible applications were found while considering the data: searching via related forms and
searching via strongly semantically related words. The second stage of this research was to find the most
suitable format for the required manual validation of the raw extraction results and to compare the
validation process when performed by a domain expert versus a terminologist.
Keywords: automatic terminology extraction; ATR; terminology.
Las herramientas que extraen automáticamente términos y sus equivalentes en otros idiomas de corpus
paralelos pueden contribuir a la comunicación profesional multilingüe de más de una manera. A través de un
caso práctico con datos (extraídos de) ebpracticenet, ilustramos cómo funciona la extracción automática de
términos multilingües híbridos a partir de corpus paralelos y cómo se puede utilizar en una aplicación
práctica como la optimización de motores de búsqueda. El objetivo original era utilizar el resultado de la
extracción para mejorar la recuperación de un motor de búsqueda permitiendo búsquedas multilingües
automatizadas. Al considerar los datos, se encontraron dos posibles aplicaciones adicionales: la búsqueda a
través de formularios relacionados y la búsqueda a través de palabras muy relacionadas semánticamente. La
segunda etapa de esta investigación consistió en encontrar el formato más adecuado para la validación
manual necesaria de los resultados de la extracción bruta y comparar el proceso de validación cuando lo
realiza un experto en medicina frente a un terminólogo.
Palabras clave: extracción automática de terminología; ATR; terminología.
* Corresponding author e-mail:
ACCURATE AND CONSISTENT terminology is essential for professional communication.
This has led to the development of terminology management strategies, which often include
tools to automate different components of the terminology management workflow. This
paper is dedicated to the automatic extraction of multilingual terminology, using a hybrid
approach, i.e. a combination of both linguistic and statistical features to identify
terminology. The practical use of this strategy will be illustrated by means of a use case for
EBM-GUIDELINES, a digital database with 1000 highly structured evidence-based
guidelines (point of care evidence summaries), published by DUODECIM, the publishing
company of the Finnish General Practitioners. All these guidelines have been translated to
English and then to Dutch and French, to enable implementation in Belgium. The aim was to
explore the possibilities of automatic term extraction (also known as automatic term
recognition or ATR) for the optimisation of search engine recall. Multilingual ATR was
performed on parallel corpora in English, French and Dutch. The acquired data inspired
three different strategies for search engine optimisation. For each given search term, search
engine results can be found containing the search term itself, and, in addition: (1)
translations of the search term in different languages, (2) morphological variants of the
search term, specifically terms with the same lemma, and (3) terms that are strongly
semantically related to the search term. Additionally, auto-completion and auto-suggestion
of search terms can be improved with the monolingual lists of automatically extracted terms.
While the ATR method used reached a state-of-the-art performance, the results are not
yet perfect and require manual validation before they can be implemented in a search engine.
Before moving on to the validation, the data needed to be presented in a suitable format.
With regard to terminological validation, there are two commonly used approaches for
terminological validation: either the results are validated by a domain expert (without
specific training in terminology), or they are validated by a terminologist (without domain
expertise). In this case, a domain expert (a medical doctor) was consulted to validate the
results of the multilingual term extraction. For this research project, a trained terminologist
and translator also validated part of the data for comparison, with identical instructions.
Since both validating terms and evaluating translations are known to be highly subjective
tasks, it is interesting to consider the impact of the validator’s background on this task.
The remainder of this paper is divided into four parts. First, the state-of-the art in the
field of monolingual and bilingual term extraction is discussed in section 2. Section 3
describes the term extractor used for these experiments: TExSIS. Section 4 explains how
these results might be used for search engine optimisation and includes a short evaluation of
the results for that purpose. Section 5 is dedicated to the validation of the results, discussing
both the methodology and a comparison of the results by the different annotators. Finally,
the results are summarised and interpreted in the conclusion, along with suggestions for
further research.
ATR has been a productive field of research within computational linguistics. Early work
often focussed on either linguistic (e.g. Bourigault, 1992), or statistical (e.g. Sparck Jones,
1972) clues to search for terms. Linguistically inspired methodologies rely on information
such as part-of-speech patterns to identify terms, whereas statistical methods calculate
word/term frequencies, often comparing frequencies in a specialised, domain-specific corpus
with frequencies in a large, general domain corpus. Kageura and Umino (1996) defined two
of the fundamental concepts of automatic terminology extraction: termhood and unithood.
Termhood refers to how characteristic or relevant a term is within the researched
topic/domain. Unithood describes to which degree multi-word terms form a syntagmatic
linguistic unit. Since the linguistic and statistical approaches provide complementary
information, later ATR methodologies (Daille, 1994) often combine the two approaches.
These are called hybrid methodologies. Another evolution has been the introduction of a
multilingual aspect by using parallel corpora to extract equivalents for terms in other
languages as well. An example of a hybrid tool for bilingual ATR is TExSIS (Macken,
Lefever & Hoste, 2013), which was used for the experiments described in this paper.
The evaluation of ATR has always been rather problematic due to the lack of an
unambiguous definition of terms (Rigouts Terryn, Hoste & Lefever, 2018). Terms are
generally defined as lexical units which refer to relevant concepts within a specific domain.
However, such definitions allow room for interpretation, so human annotators identify terms
with a certain measure of subjectivity. Consequently, inter-annotator agreement for term
annotation is typically very low.
The two most important measures of ATR accuracy are precision and recall. Precision
calculates how many of the automatically extracted candidate terms were evaluated as actual
terms by human annotators. Recall measures how many of the terms found by human
annotators in a text are also extracted automatically. While precision can be calculated based
on the extracted list of terms, the calculation of recall necessitates a fully annotated corpus,
large enough to be useful for ATR. Therefore, recall often is not calculated, especially for
small-scale research. Both measures can be combined into f-score, which is the harmonic
mean of precision and recall. Existing resources such as the IATE (Inter-Active Terminology
for Europe) or MeSH (Medical Subject Heading) term banks can be used as a reference. For
instance, Laroche and Langlais (2010) use 5000 nominal term pairs from MeSH. However,
while using such established resources may decrease subjectivity and annotation effort, they
do not reflect recall accurately, since there may always be valid and relevant terms in a
corpus that are not present in a term bank. Moreover, since one of the applications of
automatic term extraction is to extract new terms to keep these types of term banks up-todate, this evaluation methodology may miss very relevant terms. Term Evaluator (Inkpen,
Paribakht, Faez, & Amjadian, 2016) is a tool designed specifically to evaluate and compare
different term extractors. The results of several tools are combined, and the tool provides an
95 A. Rigouts Terryn
interface in which to efficiently annotate the list of extracted term candidates. While this
strategy does not allow the calculation of recall (since only the list of extracted term
candidates is annotated, not the terms in the original texts), it does provide the option of
calculating relative recall, taking the union of all term candidates, extracted by all term
extractors, as an approximation of all possible term candidates in the text.
When it comes to the validation of term candidates, generally, a choice needs to be
made about whether to have a domain specialist or a terminologist perform the annotation.
Involving a domain specialist is not always an option, especially if multiple domains or
languages are researched. While inter-annotator agreement scores are sometimes reported,
the impact of the annotator on the term validation is rarely researched. Hätty and Schulte im
Walde (2018) are a notable exception. They asked 20 laypeople to annotate terms in
specialised texts in four different domains: do-it-yourself, cooking, hunting, and chess. The
term identification was split into four tasks performed in WebAnno (Yimam, Gurevych, de
Castilho & Biemann, 2013): highlighting domain-specific phrases, creating an index,
defining unknown words for creating a translation lexicon and creating a glossary. There
were seven annotators per task. The authors found that agreement was similar regardless of
the task and that “laypeople generally share a common understanding of termhood and term
association with domains”, but that “laypeople’s judgments deteriorate for specific and
potentially unknown terms” (Hätty & Schulte im Walde, 2018, p. 325). In another study
(Rigouts Terryn, Hoste, & Lefever, accepted), a terminologist annotating terms in different
domains reported that, while annotating in a domain for which she was a domain specialist
was faster, it can also be more difficult to recognise domain-specific terminology when that
terminology has become part of one’s general vocabulary.
The ATR tool used for this experiment is TExSIS (Macken, Lefever & Hoste 2013),
developed at Ghent University. TExSIS is a hybrid tool which can be used for both
monolingual and bilingual term extraction from parallel corpora in English, French, German
and Dutch. Given a specialised, domain-specific corpus, TExSIS will first perform a shallow
linguistic preprocessing, which includes automatic tokenisation, part-of-speech tagging and
lemmatisation. Then, a rule-based linguistic filter extracts all candidate-terms with
predefined part-of-speech patterns, both single words and multi-word units. Examples of
patterns for English are: noun (e.g. anaemia), adjective+noun (e.g. antiarrythmic agent),
noun+preposition+noun (e.g. loss of consciousness) etc. These patterns are, of course,
language-dependent. One example of an important difference between languages here is the
way compound terms are constructed. In Dutch, compound terms are usually single-word
compounds, whereas in French and English, multi-word terms are more common. This
directly influences the term extraction, due to the different strategies required for singleword or multi-word term extraction.
The linguistic preprocessing (i.e. identification of candidate terms based on POSpattern) favours recall over precision, and hence generates too much terms. Therefore,
candidate terms are put through a statistical filter. In this phase, several statistical scores are
computed to calculate termhood and unithood. Termhood is measured by comparing relative
frequencies of candidate terms in the specialised corpus with those in a large, general
language corpus, using the term-weighting measure of Vintar (2010). Log-Likelihood Ratio
(Rayson & Garside, 2000) is another such termhood measure, which is, in this case, only
calculated for single-word terms. C-value (Frantzi & Ananiadou, 1999) was chosen to
calculate unithood and for finding nested terms, by looking at the length and the relative
frequency of the candidate term itself, versus that of all other candidate terms that enclose
this candidate term. The results are ranked based on Vintar’s term weighting measure. For
the experiment, the cut-off values at this stage were set very low to favour recall.
For multilingual ATR, TExSIS requires a sentence-aligned parallel input corpus. In
that case, monolingual ATR will be performed on the two languages separately to generate
two monolingual lists of term candidates. To identify equivalent terms in the parallel texts
for all candidate terms, automatic word alignment is performed, using GIZA++ (Och & Ney,
2003). Again, the decision was made to favour recall over precision for the translation
Besides the termhood (whether the term is relevant to the specialised domain) and
unithood (whether separate words belong to a single unit. i.e. a multi-word term) measures,
an additional statistic was added for the bilingual component of the ATR: FreqRatio. This
metric compares the frequency of the source term candidate and the suggested target term
candidate. The intuition behind this metric is, that equivalent terms will probably appear a
similar number of times in a parallel corpus. FreqRatio expresses the relative difference in
frequency between suggested equivalents and can be used as an additional filter. However,
using a hard cut-off based on FreqRatio is not always recommended, since it is very
sensitive to differences in frequency caused, e.g. by synonyms and variants.
Multilingual Automatic Term Extraction for EBM-GUIDELINES
EBM-GUIDELINES is a digital database of evidence-based medical guidelines and
information for caregivers. Originally in Finnish and English, the database has been
translated in Dutch and French, for implementation in Belgium by the company IScientia,
using augmented machine translation with a translation memory, and subsequent revision by
a professional translator and a medical proof-reader (cf. Van de Velde et al., 2015). The
database is accessible online to caregivers through the eHealth Platform and Internet
( An independent non-profit organisation, ebpracticenet, financed by
the Belgian government, provides contextualisation of the information for the healthcare
system. The texts in this database are written in English, French and Dutch. The EBM97 A. Rigouts Terryn
GUIDELINES are big parallel corpora, providing a large number of aligned translations for
English-French and English-Dutch. In addition to the guidelines, the database also contains
5000 English-only summaries of systematic reviews. These reviews underpin
recommendations within the guideline. They are based on the work of the Cochrane
Collaboration, a worldwide network that specializes in the production and
maintenance of systematic reviews of randomized clinical trials in the field of
medicine ( Last accessed on Dec 20, 2018). This is
considered the nec plus ultra of evidence-based medicine.
Dutch-speaking users search the EBM-GUIDELINES using the Dutch interface and
Dutch search terms. With the help of an alignment tool coupling search terms in English and
Dutch, relevant results can be retrieved, not only from the EBM-GUIDELINES (in Dutch),
but also from the English-only Evidence Summaries. Therefore, the term extraction was
commissioned by ebpracticenet to improve the search engine recall, both for Dutch and
French users. The alignment tool should enable searching across Dutch and English and
French and English, so that, for any given search term, the search engine can return both
documents containing the search term and documents that contain a translation of the search
As input for TExSIS, two sentence-aligned parallel corpora were provided with the
translation of nearly one thousand medical guidelines, with an average of 4 pages and 100
aligned segments per document. The source language was English for both corpora, the
target languages French and Dutch respectively. Not all English texts were translated in both
target languages, so the two parallel corpora are very similar, but not identical in content.
The English-French corpus contains 1,101,217 tokens in English and 1,266,731 tokens in
French. The English-Dutch corpus contains 1,147,311 English tokens and 1,137,773 tokens
in Dutch.
Results from TExSIS
After running TExSIS on both bilingual corpora (English-French and English-Dutch),
English was used as a pivot language to create trilingual term lists for the preliminary
evaluation. For instance, the English list was based on the English lemmatised candidate
terms. Each row contained one lemmatised English candidate term (e.g. aneurysm), all full
forms of that candidate term found in the corpus (e.g. aneurysm and aneurysms) and all
possible translations of the (lemmatised) candidate term in French and Dutch, including all
possible full forms of the suggested translations. Additionally, the information from the term
extraction was added: the part-of-speech pattern, frequency and termhood and unithood
scores. Separate lists were made based on the French and Dutch lemmatised candidate terms,
since not all candidate terms have a version in each language, and some have multiple
Table 1 shows how many different lemmatised candidate terms were found for each
language. By presenting all data in sortable tables, the cut-off values could be determined
ad-hoc. Since English was used as a pivot language and French and Dutch corpora were not
based on exactly the same English corpus, there are more lemmatised candidate terms with
one translation in English and all lemmatised candidate terms in French and Dutch have at
least one English translation suggestion.
Table 1. Number of extracted lemmatised candidate terms (CTs); n.a. = not applicable.
The data revealed that only a small percentage of all lemmatised candidate terms appear
with more than one full form in the corpus: 4-6%. However, since there are so many
extracted terms, this still amounts to over ten thousand lemmatised candidate terms with
multiple full forms in total. Moreover, these are often important and/or frequent terms, such
as patient, symptom and other common medical occurrences such as arrhythmia,
haemorrhage and thrombosis.
To check the relevance of the data for the improvement of the search engine, spotchecks were performed to calculate precision at different points in the ranked list (sorted on
Vintar’s termhood score). These checks were performed on the English list. A candidate term
was considered correct if (1) it was related to the medical domain and (2) could conceivably
be used as a search term on the ebpracticenet website. To clarify, we did not evaluate
termhood, but potential relevance as a search term in the ebpracticenet search engine. For
instance, insulin requirement of basal metabolism could be used as a search term but,
typically, insulin requirement and basal metabolism would be considered terms separately.
Evaluation of Results
To compare accuracy in relation to rank (based on termhood measure), 50 terms were
annotated at 7 different points: the first 50 terms, then 50 terms at 5%, 10%, 25%, 50% and
75% of the total termhood ranking and the 50 bottom-ranked terms. In total, this resulted in
annotations for 350 candidate terms. Inter-annotator agreement was calculated to ensure a
nuanced interpretation of the results. The two annotators agreed 85% of the time, resulting in
a Cohen’s kappa score of 0.6.
99 A. Rigouts Terryn
Termhood rank 1% 5% 10% 25% 50% 75% 99% Total
Nr. of analysed terms 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 350
Validated 41 45 42 41 39 22 10 240
DISCARDED 9 5 5 5 5 24 27 80
Named Entity 0 0 3 4 6 4 13 30
PRECISION (INCL. NES) 82% 90% 90% 90% 78% 52% 46% 77%
PRECISION (EXCL. NES) 82% 90% 84% 82% 90% 44% 20% 69%
Table 2. Precision at different termhood ranks (50 terms per percentile)
The results of the evaluation are presented in Table 3. First of all, we see a very high
precision for the first half of the candidate terms. Even at the 75th and 99th percentile, up to
half of the candidate terms could be relevant, especially when NEs are considered. The first
explanation for the quality of these results is that we evaluated usefulness as search terms,
not termhood. The evaluation was also lenient by allowing relevant parts of potential search
terms: e.g. failure, which can be combined in terms such as organ failure or heart failure but
would not be considered a medical term on its own. Despite the limited scope of the
evaluation, the results are convincing enough to indicate the practical use of ATR for
selecting search terms.
Precision was also calculated for the automatically generated translation suggestions.
All previously validated terms were evaluated with respect to the French and Dutch
translation suggestions. Named entities and rejected terms were excluded from this analysis.
All translation suggestions that were equivalent or nearly equivalent in meaning to the
source term were validated. Translation suggestions of a different word class than the source
term, but with the same general meaning were also validated (e.g. if the source term was ill
(adjective), translations of illness (noun) were validated as well). Otherwise, the evaluation
was very strict, discarding any hyponyms, hypernyms and other strongly related but not
synonymous terms. In some cases, a French or Dutch text contained English terminology.
These were also discarded, as well as any misspellings. The results of this analysis are
presented in Table 4.
162/350 208/350
% of validated terms with min. 1 correct translation 97% 98%
% of validated terms with only correct translations 81% 82%
% of validated terms with multiple correct translations 22% 24%
Average % of correct translations 89% 88%
Table 3. Precision of translation suggestions
AJAL 100
Once again, the results look promising, with nearly all search terms having at least 1 good
equivalent in the other languages. There were fewer equivalents in French, since that parallel
corpus was smaller, so some of the English terms simply did not occur in the English-French
parallel corpus. A large proportion of all search terms have multiple translation suggestions,
though not all of the suggested translations are correct. Highly ranked terms are often
frequent terms, for which many potential translations are found. For instance, the term
disease has 18 different translation suggestions in French and 26 in Dutch. While these lists
contain correct translations (e.g. maladie in French and ziekte in Dutch), they also contain
many incorrect suggestions. Translations that were judged as incorrect include the original
English form disease (instead of a Dutch equivalent), semantically related, but nonequivalent terms such as problème/problem (EN: problem) and infection/infectie (EN:
infection), hyponyms such as the translations dementia and lung infection. In Dutch, there
are also a few complex compound terms, which contain the correct translation, but only as
part of the compound, e.g. ziekteverloop (EN: course of the illness). These were considered
incorrect as well. The example of beta-blockers reveals another type of related terms:
different spellings, e.g. in Dutch: bètablokker, beta-blokker and -blokker. One more
peculiarity we observed was, that, the more general the source term, the more diverse (and
inaccurate) the translations. Rarer terms usually have only one, often correct translation
suggestion. More general terms, such as patient or disease, appear very often (creating more
room for mistakes) and are regularly translated less literally. For instance, a translator may
choose to translate patient by child if, in a certain context, the two would clearly refer to the
same person. In that case, TExSIS may, correctly, identify child as the translation, even
though they are not equivalents in most cases. Finally, we also noticed how translation
suggestions for these terms are often lists of synonyms or alternative spellings, e.g. the
translations for cough medicine: antitussive and médicament contre la toux (French) and
hoestmiddel, hoestmedicijn and hoestmedicatie (Dutch).
Application: Search Engine Optimisation
There are several ways in which these results, once validated, could contribute to an
improved search engine. First and foremost, by allowing multilingual queries, e.g. where a
search for hartfalen in Dutch would automatically search for heart failure in English as well.
Second, variants of the same lemma can be searched, so that, e.g. beta-blockers would also
return results for beta-blocker. The third and most difficult application would be to
automatically look for strongly semantically related terms, which have the same translation.
These data are less accurate, but may be worth considering for very common terms, such as
medicatie, geneesmiddel and medicijn in Dutch. While we have not explored this option in
any detail yet, our results do indicate that this may be an interesting next step. Finally, autocompleting terminology based on the known terminology could help users to formulate more
relevant queries.
101 A. Rigouts Terryn
However, before any of these may be implemented, the results need to be manually
validated to ensure reliable user-experience. The first step towards this goal is to present the
data in a suitable format and to formulate strategies for efficient validation.
Validation by Domain Expert versus Terminologist
The two main requests from ebpracticenet for the validation of the results were: (1) have one
term candidate and equivalent suggestion per line and, (2) strategies to quickly
eliminate/validate larger batches of term pairs. The former meant that three different
bilingual lists needed to be created, each time choosing the source language. The three
resulting lists are: English – French, English – Dutch, and French – Dutch. The results are
based on the full form (not lemmatised) term candidates of the first (source) language. There
is only one suggested equivalent in the target language per line, meaning that a single source
term candidate may be repeated on several lines, once for each different suggested target
language equivalent. The translations are linked based on the lemma, so if multiple full
forms exist for a suggested equivalent, there will be multiple rows with one full form each.
The latter requirement meant that the part-of-speech patterns, frequencies and all termhood
and unithood measures were reported for both the source and target language term candidate,
as well as the FreqRatio for the translation pair, as explained in section 3. The following list
is an example of one row in the final English – Dutch table:
1. English full form: beta blockers
2. Dutch full form: bètablokker
3. English lemma: beta blocker
4. Dutch lemma: bètablokker
5. English POS: singular noun
6. Dutch POS: singular noun
7. Named Entity tags for the tokens of the English candidate term: 0 0
8. Named Entity tags for the tokens of the Dutch candidate term: 0
9. Length of English candidate term (in tokens): 2
10.Length of Dutch candidate term (in tokens): 1
11.Frequency of English candidate term: 36
12. Frequency of Dutch candidate term: 179
13. Vintar’s termhood score for English candidate term: 12.5
14. Vintar’s termhood score for Dutch candidate term: 95.1
15. C-Value for English candidate term: 35.0
16. C-Value for Dutch candidate term: 0.25
17. Log-likelihood ratio for English candidate term: 0
18. Log-likelihood ratio for Dutch candidate term: 1633
19.FreqRatio: 397%
AJAL 102
As can be seen in this example, the FreqRatio is quite high, even though the translation is
correct. This is due to the fact that there are many different forms of this term in both
languages and, in English, the term beta blockers appears more often with a hyphen: betablockers, while, in Dutch, the suggested form bètablokkers is the most common variant.
To automatically reduce the size of these lists before the manual validation process, a
filter was created based on discussions with ebpracticenet about their preferences. Rather
than simply filtering on, e.g. Vintar’s termhood measure, the term length and frequency were
also taken into account. Very long candidate terms with low termhood scores are rarely good
terms and very infrequent terms with low termhood scores are rarely relevant. For instance,
all terms with a termhood lower than one, were deleted. There were also filters that
combined features, e.g. all terms where the product of the termhood score and the frequency
was lower than 2.5 were discarded. These filters were determined experimentally and tuned
so that, when applied to the English corpus, around 20k unique English lemmas remained.
The table was accompanied by explanations about each column, including how they might
be used to efficiently validate the results.
Annotation and Results
The actual validation was performed by a domain specialist (medical doctor), who is fluent
in all three languages, but has no background in linguistics or terminology. For comparison,
a trained translator and terminologist, fluent in all three languages, also performed a part of
the validation. Both received the exact same instructions before the task and did not have
access to each other’s annotations. The instructions by ebpracticenet were not very specific.
They wanted correct translation pairs of potentially relevant search terms to be used in their
search engine and they wanted only translations in the same full form (e.g. for the English
term aetiology, the Dutch term etiologie could be considered a good equivalent, but not the
plural form etiologieën). While they hinted at wanting to make a glossary as well, the main
purpose was to find relevant and correct translation pairs to improve the search engine.
There were no specific instructions on how to deal with items like named entities, so the
annotators developed their own strategies according to what they found logical. The
annotations were only performed on the English-Dutch data. In total, a sample of 10,000
lines (with one English term candidate and one suggestion for a Dutch equivalent per line)
was annotated by both annotators.
The resulting inter-annotator agreement is displayed in Table 5. In 88% of the cases,
the annotators agreed, leaving 12% of the lines with different validations per annotator. Both
annotators validated over half of the lines and the terminologist validated slightly more than
the domain specialist. The resulting Cohen’s kappa score for inter-annotator agreement is
0.75. Since evaluation of both terms and translations is notoriously difficult and subjective,
this is a relatively high agreement.
103 A. Rigouts Terryn
Domain specialist:
Domain specialist:
not valid
Terminologist: valid 4907 205 5112
Terminologist: not valid 1028 3860 1233
Total 5935 4065 10000
Table 5. Inter annotator agreement between terminologist and domain specialist
While annotating, the terminologist assigned the data into twelve different categories (see
Table 6). Even though these categories are, of course, somewhat subjective, since they are
based on the terminologist’s assessment, they do allow for a more detailed analysis of the
results. They also helped the terminologist to annotate more consistently and make the same
decision for similar cases. Another difference in the annotation process between the
terminologist and the domain specialist was, that the terminologist sorted the term
candidates alphabetically (to easily group the same or similar terms and make a consistent
decision) and the domain specialist sorted on termhood score (to prioritise the most relevant
Annotation categories Total Domain specialist:
(by terminologist) # terms Terminologist valid not valid
Correct 5264 valid 4796 468
Incorrect 1606 not valid 9 1597
Same lemma, different full form 1685 not valid 16 1669
Incorrect but strongly related 175 not valid 4 171
Correct but number debatable 128 valid 4 124
Dutch = English 218 not valid 86 132
Not medical or relevant 369 not valid 87 282
Debatable 64 56 valid; 8 not 8 56
Named Entity: brand/medicine 21 valid 5 16
Named Entity: organisation 27 valid 17 10
Named Entity: person with initials 136 valid 51 85
Named Entity: person without initials 307 valid 29 278
Table 6. Categories of annotation as determined by terminologist
Based on the information in Table 6, the annotations were further analysed. Out of 5264
annotations which were considered correct by the terminologist, only 468 (±9%) were not
validated by the domain specialist. In many of those cases, not annotating them was
probably a simple result of human error. This is supported by the fact that, in at least 50 of
these cases, a different full form of the same term pair was annotated as valid, e.g. the
domain specialist annotated bijwerking(en) as a Dutch equivalent for adverse event(s) as
valid in the plural form, but not in the singular. Similarly, the mistake may have been made
on the side of the terminologist, causing more disagreement. Sometimes, the terminologists
AJAL 104
could use her experience with terminology and translation to recognise less logical or more
obscure translations, such as knutten as a translation for biting midges, Alzheimer as a
correct translation for Alzheimer’s disease, even without the explicit addition of a translation
for disease, or recognising spm as a valid translation for bpm (abbreviation for beats per
minute). In other instances, the terminologist lacked the necessary domain expertise to easily
recognise specialised terms, e.g. recognising that the Dutch term sartanen is a synonym for
angiotensine receptorblokkers or knowing whether arterial disease can be translated as
vaatziekte (literally vascular disease) or if these are different diseases.
In only nine cases did the domain specialist not agree on a term pair deemed incorrect
by the terminologist, including small mistakes made by both annotators. More interesting
categories are the next three: same lemma different full form, incorrect but strongly related
(both semantically and morphologically, e.g. same concept but different part of speech) and
correct but number debatable (e.g. when a singular term expresses the same meaning as a
plural term in the other language). The task was to only consider term pairs correct when
they are in the same form. Overall, the terminologist seems to have had the advantage in this
case, annotating more consistently. Some of these differences are also due to how strict the
instructions were interpreted. For instance, a term like medication (or medicatie in Dutch) is
singular, so is it a correct translation for drug (geneesmiddel) but not for drugs
(geneesmiddelen)? The domain specialist only validated the two singular forms, whereas the
terminologist validated both. She reasoned that medication could be used to describe a
collection of more than one drug and that, in the case of translations, medication could often
be used for both the singular and plural forms. Similarly, for terms which can be used in
plural but rarely are, e.g. pain(s), discomfort(s), bleeding(s), tendency/-ies, etc. The
terminologist’s strategy in these cases was to err on the side of leniency, while the domain
specialist tended to only approve term pairs with the same grammatical number. This is also
reflected in the category debatable, which contains term pairs that are perhaps not literal
translations but could, in many cases, be used as equivalents. An example would be oorzaak
(literally: cause) as an equivalent for aetiological factor. These two are not synonyms but, in
the context of medical texts, can sometimes be used for the same concept. Another example
is coagulation, which, technically, can refer to other concepts than blood coagulation, but in
the context of these medical texts, it may be fair to assume they can be used as synonyms.
An exception to this pattern of leniency for the terminologist versus strictness of the
domain specialist is in the case of untranslated (English) terms in the Dutch text. The
terminologist only approved untranslated terms when they were Named Entities or so
common in Dutch that they are used more or equally regularly than the actual Dutch term.
For instance, the suggested Dutch translations for ACE-inhibitor were ACE-remmer or ACEinhibitor. The latter variant may appear to be an untranslated English term at first sight, yet it
is common enough to also appear with a Dutch plural form: ACE-inhibitoren, rather than the
English plural ACE-inhibitors. This led the terminologist to accept both ACE-remmer and
105 A. Rigouts Terryn
ACE-inhibitor as valid Dutch translations. The domain specialist also rejects some very
clearly untranslated terms but is less consistent when the difference is more subtle, e.g. an
ending in -y instead of -ie, or a plural in -s instead of -en. The final categories to discuss are
the Named Entities, for which we distinguish between organisations, brands and personal
names. The terminologist decided to approve all of the above for the sake of consistency.
The translations may not be very informative, since source and target terms should be
identical, but the named entities can still be relevant search terms. The domain specialist
generally rejected named entities (especially person names), but with many exceptions.
Overall, it appears that the annotators tackled this task with slightly different mindsets.
The terminologist was less strict and more likely to approve non-literal translations than the
domain specialist, who was stricter, except for non-translated (English) terms as Dutch
equivalents. In conclusion, both the terminologist and the domain specialists had advantages
and disadvantages. While the domain specialist was able to identify correct term pairs for
specialized medical concepts more efficiently, the terminologist could use her experience to
annotate more consistently and make informed decisions about term pairs which are less
obviously equivalent. Some of these differences are, of course, due to the very general
instructions for this task. Ideally, decisions such as whether to annotate proper names should
be made beforehand by the client. Moreover, since only two annotators participated in this
comparison, we should be careful about generalising these results. Still, the results suggest
that the two annotation styles are complementary.
In this paper, we have shown how multilingual automatic term extraction from a parallel
corpus has potential for a real-world application such as search engine optimisation. We
showed how, despite the need for manual validation, ATE can efficiently produce a list of
candidate terms that contains many relevant search terms and, for most of these, good
equivalents are found automatically in the other languages. Four potential applications were
suggested: (1) multilingual searches, (2) autocompletion of search terms, (3) searching for
morphologically related forms using the automatic lemmatisation, and (4) searching for
semantically related forms by clustering multiple translations (and back-translations) for the
same candidate term.
A suitable format for validation was developed based on feedback from ebpracticenet,
who are currently validating the dataset for the implementation of the first application. For
this validation, they chose to collaborate with a domain specialist (a medical doctor), who is
fluent in the three languages. This is a common strategy, since it is often assumed that
domain expertise is necessary to efficiently manage terminology. However, we asked an
experienced terminologist without domain expertise to also validate a sample of the dataset.
This resulted in 10,000 shared annotations to compare. It was found that, while domain
expertise can be an advantage in the case of very specialised terms, the experienced
AJAL 106
terminologist was able to annotate more consistently. The domain specialist was generally
stricter with the validation, but, since there were only two participants, it is unclear whether
this was caused by the lack of detail in the instructions, which left room for the usual
subjectivity of this task, or, whether these differences were due to the different backgrounds
of the annotators. This would be an interesting path to investigate further, so that users may
make a better informed and motivated decision about the person best suited for their
validation task.
Even this small-scale study already suggests that, ideally, validation of the results of
multilingual automatic term extraction for a real-world application such as search engine
optimisation would happen in a multidisciplinary setting, i.e. involving both a terminologist
and a domain specialist. Clear instructions should be determined beforehand, preferably
combining the input of the client and both a terminologist and domain specialist. One
strategy would be to start by having both annotators validate a small subsample and
analysing the results and differences to formulate the most suitable strategy for the
remainder of the task. Whichever strategy is preferred, the validation will likely benefit from
the complementary skills of both a domain specialist and a terminologist.
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