OCR Improves Machine Translation for Low-Resource Languages

Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL)


We aim to investigate the performance of current OCR systems on low resource languages and low resource scripts. We introduce and make publicly available a novel benchmark, OCR4MT, consisting of real and synthetic data, enriched with noise, for 60 low-resource languages in low resource scripts. We evaluate state-of-the-art OCR systems on our benchmark and analyze most common errors. We show that OCR monolingual data is a valuable resource that can increase performance of Machine Translation models, when used in backtranslation. We then perform an ablation study to investigate how OCR errors impact Machine Translation performance and determine what is the minimum level of OCR quality needed for the monolingual data to be useful for Machine Translation.

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