Ancient Korean Neural Machine Translation

Chanjun Park, Chanhee Lee, Yeongwook Yang, Heuiseok Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Translation of the languages of ancient times can serve as a source for the content of various digital media and can be helpful in various fields such as natural phenomena, medicine, and science. Owing to these needs, there has been a global movement to translate ancient languages, but expert minds are required for this purpose. It is difficult to train language experts, and more importantly, manual translation is a slow process. Consequently, the recovery of ancient characters using machine translation has been recently investigated, but there is currently no literature on the machine translation of ancient Korean. This paper proposes the first ancient Korean neural machine translation model using a Transformer. This model can improve the efficiency of a translator by quickly providing a draft translation for a number of untranslated ancient documents. Furthermore, a new subword tokenization method called the Share Vocabulary and Entity Restriction Byte Pair Encoding is proposed based on the characteristics of ancient Korean sentences. This proposed method yields an increase in the performance of the original conventional subword tokenization methods such as byte pair encoding by 5.25 BLEU points. In addition, various decoding strategies such as n-gram blocking and ensemble models further improve the performance by 2.89 BLEU points. The model has been made publicly available as a software application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9125904
Pages (from-to)116617-116625
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 IEEE.


  • Ancient Korean translation
  • neural machine translation
  • share vocabulary and entity restriction byte pair encoding
  • subword tokenization
  • transformer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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