Picard understanding Darmok: A Dataset and Model for Metaphor-Rich Translation in a Constructed Language

16 Jul 2021  ·  Peter Jansen, Jordan Boyd-Graber ·

Tamarian, a fictional language introduced in the Star Trek episode Darmok, communicates meaning through utterances of metaphorical references, such as "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" instead of "We should work together." This work assembles a Tamarian-English dictionary of utterances from the original episode and several follow-on novels, and uses this to construct a parallel corpus of 456 English-Tamarian utterances. A machine translation system based on a large language model (T5) is trained using this parallel corpus, and is shown to produce an accuracy of 76% when translating from English to Tamarian on known utterances.

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