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Uses of Machine Translation in the Sentiment Analysis of Tweets

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This paper reports on the viability of using machine translation (MT) for determining the original sentiment of tweets, when translating tweets made in internationally less used language into more frequently used ones. The results of the study show that it is possible to use MT and sentiment analysis (SA) systems to produce SA results with significant precision.
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Uses of Machine Translation in the
Sentiment Analysis of Tweets
Jānis PEISENIEKSa, 1 and Raivis SKADIŅŠ
b
a
University of Latvia, Latvia
b
Tilde, Latvia
Abstract. This paper reports on the viability of using machine translation (MT) for
determining the original sentiment of tweets, when translating tweets made in
internationally less used language into more frequently used ones. The results of
the study show that it is possible to use MT and sentiment analysis (SA) systems to
produce SA results with significant precision.
Keywords. Machine translation, sentiment analysis, Latvian
Introduction
Sentiment analysis has been a very active field of study lately, and there have been a lot
of high quality tools developed for English. These tools allow for near real-time
analysis of various user generated data sources like online reviews, blogs, news, and
social networks. By using sentiment analysis on these data sources, it is possible to
gain a deeper understanding of social processes and help businesses and governments
make well informed decisions. However the main problem of these tools is that they
are usually created for large, internationally used languages.
We wanted to see whether it was possible to use publicly available MT and SA
systems to discern the sentiment of a tweet that was written in an internationally less
used language, in this case, Latvian.
1. Related Work
One of the main problems in cross-language sentiment translation is the quality of the
translation software and whether translations obtained using MT can be used in
sentiment analysis. To this aim, supervised Machine Translation systems have been
used on the English language [1] to produce training data for other languages. On the
other hand, a recent study [2] has shown, that the quality of such work can be sub-
optimal.
Balahur, Turchi et. al. [3] have also shown that it is possible to use MT systems to
train multilingual sentiment classifiers, where the training of classifiers in one language
also improves the abilities of classifiers in other languages.
1 Corresponding Author: Jānis Peisenieks, 29 Raina Blvd., Riga, Latvia; E-mail: janis@peisenieks.lv
Human Language Technologies – The Baltic Perspective
A. Utka et al. (Eds.)
© 2014 The authors and IOS Press.
This article is published online with Open Access by IOS Press and distributed under the terms
of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License.
doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-442-8-126
126
2. Test Corpus
In order to study the viability of the proposed approach, a well annotated test corpus of
tweets written in Latvian is necessary. The authors created such a corpus, because no
such corpus was publicly available.
By using a custom crowd sourcing website, a tweet test corpus with sentiment
polarity annotation was created with 3 sentiment classes: positive, neutral, and negative.
The tweets for this website were gathered from Twitter's real-time API from November
2013 to March 2014, using a rough contour of Latvia as the query for the Twitter API.
Furthermore, the Twitter API provides a language for each tweet, and only tweets with
Latvian or no language were used.
In order to assess the sentiment of a tweet accurately, each tweet was rated 11
times (some tweets have up to 13 ratings due to real time specifics of the website), and
only the ones with strong annotator consensus were included in the test corpus. In total,
~20,000 tweet ratings were processed.
These ~20,000 ratings produced 1,722 adequately rated tweets, and of these, 1,177
had the required annotator consensus to be included in the test corpus.
Table 1. Distribution of tweets in sentiment classes in the test corpus
Sentiment class Tweet count
Positive 383
Neutral 627
Negative 167
The distribution of these tweets (Table 1) reflects the distribution of tweets being
tweeted in Latvian. The whole test corpus has been made publicly available on the code
collaboration website Github.com2.
Additionally, Fleiss’s kappa [4] was used to measure the reliability of agreement
between the annotators and is 0.284, which, according to Landis and Koch [5], can
only be described as fair agreement. This could have been influenced by the lack of the
“skip” functionality in the crowd-sourcing website, which would allow the annotator to
skip the current tweet if it contained no sentiment information.
3. Uses of MT in SA
To study the viability of the proposed approach, 3 publicly available MT and SA
systems were chosen.
The MT systems used in this study were chosen based on their performance of
LV-EN translations [6], and those are Google Translate, Bing Translator, and Tilde
Translator. The whole of the test corpus was translated from Latvian to English using
each of the MT systems.
In order to assess the sentiment of the translated tweets, 3 publicly available SA
systems (AlchemyAPI, Textalytics, and Semantria) were chosen, based on their
performance [7] and ease of use. The publicly available SDKs for each of the SA
2 https://github.com/FnTm/latvian-tweet-sentiment-corpus
J. Peisenieks and R. Skadin
,š / Uses of Machine Translation in the Sentiment Analysis of Tweets 127
systems were used to analyze the sentiment of all of the translations, thus producing
MT+SA system pairs, the performance of which could be evaluated.
4. Evaluation and Results
We used the standard performance metrics, such as precision, recall, and F1-measure
(Table 2), to evaluate the SA results. While processing the SA results, it became
apparent that not all of the SA tools properly process the neutral sentiment class, which
means that the SA tool would either produce results that are indistinguishable from no
sentiment or that are hard to identify. Additionally, the SA systems that could at least
partially recognize the neutral sentiment class had a very low precision and extremely
low recall, which could be caused by the difficulty to distinguish text with a neutral
sentiment from text with no sentiment. Because of this, all of the further
research/interpretation was done only on positive and negative sentiment classes.
Table 2. Precision, recall, and F1-measure of MT+SA system pairs
Sentiment class
MT+SA
system pair
Positive
Negative
Neutral
Prec. Rec. F1 Prec. Rec. F1 Prec. Rec. F1
Google Textalytics 0.64 0.70 0.67 0.62 0.39 0.48 0.20 0.00 0.01
Tilde Textalytics 0.64 0.61 0.63 0.58 0.39 0.47 0.12 0.00 0.01
Bing Textalytics 0.55 0.74 0.63 0.59 0.36 0.45 0.21 0.01 0.02
Google AlchemyAPI 0.46 0.74 0.57 0.38 0.75 0.50 - - -
Tilde AlchemyAPI 0.45 0.74 0.56 0.38 0.69 0.49 - - -
Bing AlchemyAPI 0.46 0.78 0.58 0.39 0.72 0.51 - - -
Google Semantria 0.63 0.59 0.61 0.49 0.40 0.44 0.35 0.02 0.03
Tilde Semantria 0.61 0.47 0.53 0.48 0.35 0.40 0.50 0.02 0.04
Bing Semantria 0.65 0.59 0.62 0.50 0.42 0.45 0.33 0.01 0.02
Additionally, the overall accuracy of the MT+SA pairs was measured (Table 3) as
the total percentage of tweets classified correctly. For easier interpretation, this same
data has been graphed in Figure 1.
Table 3. Overall Accuracy of MT+SA pairs
MT+SA
system pair
Accuracy Confidence interval ±
Tilde Textalytics 54.73% 4.16%
Tilde Semantria 45.64% 4.16%
Tilde AlchemyAPI 72.55% 3.73%
Google Textalytics 61.27% 4.07%
Google Semantria 55.45% 4.15%
Google AlchemyAPI 74.55% 3.64%
Bing Textalytics 63.27% 4.03%
Bing Semantria 54.73% 4.16%
Bing AlchemyAPI 76.00% 3.57%
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,š / Uses of Machine Translation in the Sentiment Analysis of Tweets128
Figure 1. Overall Accuracy of MT+SA pairs
As can be seen from these results and from the standpoint of SA systems,
AlchemyAPI is the clear leader, with the best SA results irrespective of the MT system
used to translate the tweets. From the standpoint of MT systems, Bing Translator is the
MT system that acquired the best results, however the results are not decisive in this
matter.
Interestingly, the MT+SA pair with the highest overall accuracy (Bing Translator +
AlchemyAPI) did not produce the best results in other metrics. One part of the answer
to this question is that the mentioned pair is not the best, however it is consistent.
However, it is possible that the way in which the experiments were conducted,
accompanied with the characteristics of the test set, allowed for an interesting error to
occur.
When looking at the SA systems, only AlchemyAPI does not even try to process
the neutral sentiment class, which allows for a more broad classification in the other
sentiment classes. This means that AlchemyAPI classifies more tweets as having either
a positive or negative sentiment, where the other SA systems would produce no
sentiment for the particular tweet. This can be easily seen in Figure 2 which shows the
percentage of classified tweets that are false-positives. This means that a tweet that has
been classified, for example, as a positive, is in fact from the neutral sentiment class.
Thus, even though AlchemyAPI provides for a higher overall accuracy, it also has
more problems of correctly identifying neutral data. Also interestingly, the percentage
of false positives between the positive and negative sentiment classes is quite small
(~7%), which means that even though a lot of tweets have been incorrectly classified,
the false-positives introduce very little bias to the data. This could mean that these false
positives would have minimal impact in real-world use cases.
J. Peisenieks and R. Skadin
,š / Uses of Machine Translation in the Sentiment Analysis of Tweets 129
Figure 2. Percentage of false positives in classified tweets
5. Conclusions
The evaluation of the proposed approach shows that it is possible to do binary
sentiment analysis on tweets originally written in a less internationally used language,
with a high degree of accuracy. Additionally, it is clear that doing this sort of
classification using 3 sentiment classes would provide results with a low degree of
accuracy.
It should also be noted that during the binary sentiment analysis of tweets, a
significant amount of false positives occur. Depending on the particular use case, this
may or may not present problems and skew the end results.
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Conference Paper
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