Agent metaphor for machine translation mediated communication

Chunqi Shi*, Donghui Lin, Toru Ishida

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)


Machine translation is increasingly used to support multilingual communication. Because of unavoidable translation errors, multilingual communication cannot accurately transfer information. We propose to shift from the transparentchannel metaphor to the human-interpreter (agent) metaphor. Instead of viewing machine translation mediated communication as a transparent channel, the interpreter (agent) encourages the dialog participants to collaborate, as their interactivity will be helpful in reducing the number of translation errors, the noise of the channel. We examine the translation issues raised by multilingual communication, and analyze the impact of interactivity on the elimination of translation errors. We propose an implementation of the agent metaphor, which promotes interactivity between dialog participants and the machine translator. We design the architecture of our agent, analyze the interaction process, describe decision support and autonomous behavior, and provide an example of repair strategy preparation. We conduct an English-Chinese communication task experiment on tangram arrangement. The experiment shows that, compared to the transparent-channel metaphor, our agent metaphor reduced human communication effort by 21.6%.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIUI 2013 - Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Mar 19
Externally publishedYes
Event18th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, IUI 2013 - Santa Monica, CA, United States
Duration: 2013 Mar 192013 Mar 22

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, Proceedings IUI


Conference18th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, IUI 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanta Monica, CA


  • Agent
  • Interactivity
  • Machine translation mediated communication
  • Repair strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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