GALE Phase 1 Arabic Newsgroup Parallel Text - Part 1

Item Name: GALE Phase 1 Arabic Newsgroup Parallel Text - Part 1
Author(s): Xiaoyi Ma, Dalal Zakhary, Stephanie Strassel
LDC Catalog No.: LDC2009T03
ISBN: 1-58563-506-5
ISLRN: 146-868-323-212-9
Release Date: February 16, 2009
Member Year(s): 2009
DCMI Type(s): Text
Data Source(s): newsgroups, weblogs
Project(s): GALE
Application(s): machine translation
Language(s): English, Standard Arabic, Arabic
Language ID(s): eng, arb, ara
License(s): LDC User Agreement for Non-Members
Online Documentation: LDC2009T03 Documents
Licensing Instructions: Subscription & Standard Members, and Non-Members
Citation: Ma, Xiaoyi, Dalal Zakhary, and Stephanie Strassel. GALE Phase 1 Arabic Newsgroup Parallel Text - Part 1 LDC2009T03. Web Download. Philadelphia: Linguistic Data Consortium, 2009.
Related Works: View


GALE Phase 1 Arabic Newsgroup Parallel Text - Part 1, Linguistic Data Consortium (LDC) catalog number LDC2009T03 and isbn 1-58563-506-5, was prepared by LDC and contains a total of 178,000 words (264 files) of Arabic newsgroup text and its translation selected from thirty-five sources. Newsgroups consist of posts to electronic bulletin boards, Usenet newsgroups, discussion groups and similar forums. This release was used as training data in Phase 1 (year 1) of the DARPA-funded GALE program.

LDC has released the following GALE Phase 1 & 2 Arabic Parallel Text data sets:

  • GALE Phase 1 Arabic Broadcast News Parallel Text - Part 1 (LDC2007T24)
  • GALE Phase 1 Arabic Broadcast News Parallel Text - Part 2 (LDC2008T09)
  • GALE Phase 1 Arabic Blog Parallel Text (LDC2008T02)
  • GALE Phase 1 Arabic Newsgroup Parallel Text - Part 1 (LDC2009T03)
  • GALE Phase 1 Arabic Newsgroup Parallel Text - Part 2 (LDC2009T09)
  • GALE Phase 2 Arabic Broadcast Conversation Parallel Text Part 1 (LDC2012T06)
  • GALE Phase 2 Arabic Broadcast Conversation Parallel Text Part 2 (LDC2012T14)
  • GALE Phase 2 Arabic Newswire Parallel Text (LDC2012T17)
  • GALE Phase 2 Arabic Broadcast News Parallel Text (LDC2012T18)
  • GALE Phase 2 Arabic Web Parallel Text (LDC2013T01)

Source Data

Preparing the source data involved four stages of work: data scouting, data harvesting, formatting and data selection.

Data scouting involved manually searching the web for suitable newsgroup text. Data scouts were assigned particular topics and genres along with a production target in order to focus their web search. Formal annotation guidelines and a customized annotation toolkit helped data scouts to manage the search process and to track progress.

Data scouts logged their decisions about potentital text of interest (sites, threads and posts) to a database. A nightly process queried the annotation database and harvested all designated URLs. Whenever possible, the entire site was downloaded, not just the individual thread or post located by the data scout.

Once the text was downloaded, its format was standardized (by running various scripts) so that the data could be more easily integrated into downstream annotation processes. Original-format versions of each document were also preserved. Typically, a new script was required for each new domain name that was identified. After scripts were run, an optional manual process corrected any remaining formatting problems. The selected documents were then reviewed for content-suitability using a semi-automatic process. A statistical approach was used to rank a document's relevance to a set of already-selected documents labeled as "good." An annotator then reviewed the list of relevance-ranked documents and selected those which were suitable for a particular annotation task or for annotation in general. These newly-judged documents in turn provided additional input for the generation of new ranked lists.

Manual sentence unit/segment (SU) annotation was also performed on a subset of files following LDC's Quick Rich Transcription specification. Three types of end of sentence SU were identified:

  • statement SU
  • question SU
  • incomplete SU


After files were selected, the files were reformatted into a human-readable translation format, and the files were then assigned to professional translators for careful translation. Translators followed LDC's GALE translation guidelines, which describe the makeup of the translation team, the source data format, the translation data format, best practices for translating certain linguistic features (such as names and speech disfluencies) and quality control procedures applied to completed translations.

TDF Format

All final data are presented in Tab Delimited Format (TDF). TDF is compatible with other transcription formats, such as the Transcriber format and AG format maklng it easy to process.

Each line of a TDF file corresponds to a speech segment and contains 13 tab delimited fields:

field data_type
1 file unicode
2 channel int
3 start float
4 end float
5 speaker unicode
6 speakerType unicode
7 speakerDialect unicode
8 transcript unicode
9 section int
10 turn int
11 segment int
12 sectionType unicode
13 suType unicode

A source TDF file and its translation are the same except that the transcript in the source TDF is replaced by its English translation.

Some fields are inapplicable to newsgroup text. Those include the channel, start time, end time and speaker dialect fields. Those fields are either empty or contain values as a place holder.


All data are encoded in UTF8.


This work was supported in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, GALE Program Grant No. HR0011-06-1-0003. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Government, and no official endorsement should be inferred.


For an example of the data in this corpus, please examine this screen capture of a source and its translation.

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