A Survey on Evaluation Metrics for Machine Translation

Seungjun Lee, Jungseob Lee, Hyeonseok Moon, Chanjun Park, Jaehyung Seo, Sugyeong Eo, Seonmin Koo, Heuiseok Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The success of Transformer architecture has seen increased interest in machine translation (MT). The translation quality of neural network-based MT transcends that of translations derived using statistical methods. This growth in MT research has entailed the development of accurate automatic evaluation metrics that allow us to track the performance of MT. However, automatically evaluating and comparing MT systems is a challenging task. Several studies have shown that traditional metrics (e.g., BLEU, TER) show poor performance in capturing semantic similarity between MT outputs and human reference translations. To date, to improve performance, various evaluation metrics have been proposed using the Transformer architecture. However, a systematic and comprehensive literature review on these metrics is still missing. Therefore, it is necessary to survey the existing automatic evaluation metrics of MT to enable both established and new researchers to quickly understand the trend of MT evaluation over the past few years. In this survey, we present the trend of automatic evaluation metrics. To better understand the developments in the field, we provide the taxonomy of the automatic evaluation metrics. Then, we explain the key contributions and shortcomings of the metrics. In addition, we select the representative metrics from the taxonomy, and conduct experiments to analyze related problems. Finally, we discuss the limitation of the current automatic metric studies through the experimentation and our suggestions for further research to improve the automatic evaluation metrics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1006
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • Transformer
  • automatic evaluation metric
  • deep learning
  • machine translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • General Mathematics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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