Transliteration pair extraction from classical Chinese buddhist literature using phonetic similarity measurement

Yu Chun Wang, Chun Kai Wu, Richard Tzong Han Tsai, Jieh Hsiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Transliteration pair extraction, the identification of transliterations of foreign loanwords in literature, is a challenging task in research fields such as historical linguistics and digital humanities. In this paper, we focus on one important type of historical literature: classical Chinese Buddhist texts. We propose an approach which can identify transliteration pairs automatically in classical Chinese texts. Our approach comprises two stages: transliteration extraction and transliteration pair identification. In order to extract more possible transliterations without introducing too many false positives, we adopt a hybrid method consisting of a suffix-array-based extraction step and a language-mo del based filtering process. Using the ALINE algorithm, we then compare the extracted transliteration candidates for phonetic similarity based on their pronunciations in the middle Chinese rime book Guangyun. Pairs with similarity above a certain threshold are consid-ered transliteration pairs. To evaluate our method, we constructed an evaluation set from several Buddhist texts such as the Samyuktagama and the Mahavibhasa, which were translated into Chinese in different eras. Precision and recall are used to measure and show the effectiveness of our method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-283
Number of pages19
JournalNew Generation Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Classical Chinese processing
  • Phonetic similarity
  • Transliteartion pair extraction


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