Parallel Corpora as Digital Resources and Their Applications

March 17, 2020 October 20, 2020 (online!)
Riga, Latvia


Session 1

12.00–12.10 Opening
12.10–13.10 Natalia Levshina (invited talk): Parallel corpora and big questions in linguistics
13.10–13.30 Kirill Semenov, Sonia Durneva, Yulia Kuznetsova: The Russian-Chinese parallel corpus in Ruscorpora: achievements and challenges
13.30–14.00 BREAK

Session 2

14.00–14.20 Olga Lyashevskaya: Belarusian-Russian and Lithuanian-Russian parallel treebanks: three practical tasks, three dozen dependency relations, and an indefinite number of language-specific constructions
14.20-14.40 Maria Kunilovskaya: Types of translationese and register variation in English-to-Russian professional translation
14.40–15.00 Edyta Jurkiewicz-Rohrbacher, Elżbieta Kaczmarska, Alexandr Rosen: Parallel corpus as functional context of aspectual interpretation – the case of Slavic biaspectual verbs in the comparative context of Finnish
15.00–15.20 Liubov Nesterenko: Quantitative analysis of passives with agent phrase based on multilingual parallel data
15.20–15.50 BREAK

Session 3

15.50–16.10 Mikhail Mikhailov, Julia Souma: MLCCA: a Finnish-Russian mixed type corpus
16.10-16.30 Marina Akimova, Anastasia Belousova, Igor Pilshchikov, Vera Polilova: CPCL: A multilingual parallel corpus of poetic texts and new perspectives for comparative literary studies
16.30-16.50 Maria Skeppstedt, Elina Kangas, Peter Ljunglöf, Magnus Ahltorp, Gunnar Eriksson, Rickard Domeij: Plans for using texts from public authorities for creating a partly parallel Meänkieli corpus
16.50-17.10 Federico Aurora, Jens Braarvig: Bibliotheca Polyglotta

Format of the workshop

A full-day session will include one invited lecture and 10 slots for 10 or 20 minute talks + time for questions and discussion. The session will be followed by a general round table discussion.

How to submit

Abstracts (up to 500 words without references) should be submitted to by February 10 (extended!), 2020. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by February 17.

Registration for the conference is open here. Fees for participation in workshops only are not supposed to be changed even after the early-bird registration deadline and are specified as 15 euro (coffee breaks covered)

In order to be able to accept more presentations, we adapt the schedule to the main conference scheme consisting of contributions in forms of short and long papers. Please indicate your preferences (short/long presentation) when you submit your abstracts. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that all the long presentation preferences will be guaranteed the desired slot; all that is only due to the workshop time restrictions.

Who should submit and/or attend

The aim of the workshop is to bring together specialists working on the development of parallel corpora or the data from such corpora and to share our knowledge on different areas of their applications and the variety of methods used in the studies based on parallel texts. The major focus of the workshop will be the parallel corpora of particular relevance for Northern Europe, though participants from other countries or those working with other languages are also very welcome to contribute by presenting their research.

Why parallel and not just monolingual corpora

A parallel corpus "consists of the same documents in a number of languages, that is a set of texts and their translations" (Baker et al. 2006). This type of corpora is widely used in linguistics, more specifically in cross-linguistic comparison and typology. Semantic correspondences (both on lexical and grammatical levels) can be more easily extracted from parallel texts, including massive multilingual corpora (cf. Cysouw, Wälchli (eds.) 2007, Christodouloupoulos, Steedman 2015) than from monolingual corpora. The latter lack semantic annotation, and without a prior cross-linguistic comparison the categories to annotate do not often suggest themselves. Existing work on the topic includes different types of techniques for analysis (cluster and regression analysis, multidimensional scaling, collocation analysis) and visualization of linguistic data extracted from parallel corpora. A special open-source parallel corpus for typological research ParTy is collected by Natalia Levshina.

Parallel corpora and, more general, parallel texts have always been and still remain an important resource type for training and evaluating natural language processing tools, most particularly in machine translation. The hot topic of transfer learning (Ruder 2019), which, among others, focuses on different techniques of transferring models from high-resource languages to low-resource ones, makes parallel texts an important indirect object of study. For instance, parallel texts are highly relevant for building cross‑lingual parsers or word embeddings (Yarovsky et al. 2001; McDonald et al. 2011; Tiedemann 2015; Agić et al. 2016; Søgaard et al. 2019), and also can be used for more linguistically informed experiments (Östling 2015; Östling & Tiedemann 2017).

Many language pairs, however, remain scarcely represented in the domain of parallel corpora beyond some specific genres such as legalese or religious texts, and so cannot be used in forms of representative big data collections. Even parallel corpora for high-resource languages are typically composed of literary and non-fiction texts. Access to such genres as business correspondence, contracts, letters, etc. is limited. Other genres, e.g., user manuals, tourist guides, web pages, often contained low-quality data, sometimes even machine-translated. The digitalization of the accessible texts and creation of new language pairs is still an important task per se.

Relevance of parallel corpora in a wider context of digital humanities

We welcome participants working with data that can be seen as a special type of a parallel corpus, even though such data are not purely linguistic and rather concern the phenomenon relevant for the wider area of digital humanities. For instance, many publications with texts in the Circum-Baltic languages can primarily serve as the source of folklore texts and oral history in general. Nevertheless, they have usually been published with translations into higher-resourced languages, with a particular relevance of German and Russian for the region, e.g., the comprehensive bilingual collection of Latvian fairytales and legends compiled by Pēteris Šmits (Šmits 1925-1937; For the minor Finnic languages, Finnish and Estonian have often been used in translations. A corpus of international treaties compiled at Tampere University (Mikhailov et al. 2019) can be used as a source of the history of the Finnish-Russian relationships reflected in the structure, language and pragmatics of the treaties.

Texts represented in parallel corpora can also be treated from the perspective of cultural heritage and their representation (as emphasised in Derzhanski & Siruk 2013; Giouli et al. 2009). This is strongly related to the issue of the representativity of particular corpora: for instance, what texts are selected by the creators of the corpora and what is the wider cultural perspective reflected in such texts, which might be of particular relevance for low-resource languages.

Parallel texts and/or corpora are used in language learning (Doval et al. 2019) and as a translation-assisting tool, including collecting translation memories. They are one of the best resources for studying the regularities of translation and literary, cultural and social context of interlanguage translation (Zanettin 2014). For example multiple translations of the same text reflect the evolution of cultural techniques used to represent the text to the readers’ audience.

The use of parallel corpora in the study of multimodal non-verbal communication is also significant. There exists a parallel corpus of different stage versions of the same play (MultiPARC within the Russian National Corpus,, and corpora of signed languages are beginning to emerge (eg Morrissey et al 2010). Studies based on parallel corpora are also relevant for the domain of oral interpreting (Fantinuoli 2017).

The Nordic context

The Nordic and Circum-Baltic countries are home to different parallel corpora involving Nordic languages (e.g., the English-Swedish parallel corpus ESPC, the Finnish-Swedish parallel corpus KOTUS, the Lithuanian-Latvian corpus LiLa) and larger projects such as the open-source parallel corpus OPUS developed by Jörg Tiedemann (University of Helsinki), cf. (Tiedemann 2012, Skadiņš et al. 2014) for the latter. Notable centres focusing on corpus creation and corpus-based research, including parallel corpora, are Lund, Gothenburg, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tampere, Tartu and other Nordic universities. A bilingual parallel corpora project featuring various Circum-Baltic languages is run within the Russian National corpus (cf. Perkova, Sitchinava 2019).

Research topics

We welcome contributions focusing on particular cases of linguistic, historical, anthropological, pedagogical and other applications of parallel corpora, as well as more general papers discussing methods of extracting, building, aligning and annotating parallel texts for the purposes of digital humanities.

Possible topics for talks may relate to (but are not restricted to) the following:

  • creation of new parallel corpora featuring Nordic and other languages;
  • studies of phenomena characteristic for the Circum-Baltic languages (Dahl, Koptjevskaja-Tamm ed. 2001) based on parallel corpora;
  • automatic and manual annotation of linguistic data in parallel corpora on different levels, including lemmatization and grammatical tagging;
  • using parallel corpora in literary and cultural studies and other humanities;
  • parallel corpora in translation studies: historical, cultural, social and other aspects of the translation studies with regard to the parallel texts;
  • multimodal corpora, including interpreting and sign language corpora, and studies related to them


For all correspondence concerning the workshop, please contact the organizers at:

Organized by:
Natalia Perkova (Stockholm University / Uppsala University)
Dmitri Sitchinava (Institute of the Russian language / Higher School of Economics)

Please feel free to share this call with all your colleagues who might be interested in the workshop!


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