Posted on Jan. 15, 2021
We have a new publication on text normalization of Dutch social media text in the journal Expert Systems with Applications.
You can access the paper here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eswa.2020.114500
Social media texts have become one of the most used forms of written language and a valuable source of information for companies. However, despite the wealth of information hidden in social media language for profiling, information extraction and sentiment analysis purposes, this user-generated content is also characterized by non-standard language. This makes it difficult to process using standard NLP techniques as these are typically trained on standard text. Text normalization is often used as a preprocessing step to overcome this problem. In this work, we take a machine translation perspective on text normalization and investigate both statistical and neural methods. We perform text normalization in a low-resource scenario and report both SMT and NMT experiments for three different Dutch user-generated text types: tweets, message board posts and text messages. Furthermore, we look into overcoming the over-normalization problem in NMT using different techniques, viz. teacher forcing, copy mechanism and byte pair encoding. Our results reveal that even though the SMT approach obtains the best results, the NMT system using CopyNet shows promising results even in this low-resource setting, solving more normalization issues than SMT although not solving all the over-normalization problems.