In 1975 Searle mentioned to speak idiomatically unless there is some good
reason not to do so. Fillmore, Kay, and O’ Connor in 1988 defined an
idiomatic expression or construction as something that a language user
could fail to know while knowing everything else in the language. Our
language is rich of conversational phrases, idioms, metaphors, and
generally expressions used in metaphorical meaning. These idiomatic
expressions pose a particular challenge for Machine Translation (MT),
because their translation mostly does not result literally, but logically.
The present book shows how idiomatic expressions can be recognized and
correctly translated with the help of a bilingual idiom dictionary
(English-German), a monolingual (German) corpus, and morphosyntactic rules.
The work focuses on the field of Example-based Machine Translation (EBMT).
A theory of idiomatic expressions with their syntactic and semantic
properties is provided, followed by the practical part of the book which
describes how the hybrid EBMT system METIS-II is able to correctly process
idiomatic expressions. A comparison of METIS-II with three commercial
systems shows that idioms are not impossible to translate as it was
predicted in 1952: “The only way for a machine to treat idioms is - not to
This book furnishes plenty of examples of idiomatic phrases and provides
the foundation for how MT systems can process and translate idioms by means
of simple linguistic resources.