Two decades after their invention, the IBM word-based translation models, widely available in the GIZA++ toolkit, remain the dominant approach to word alignment and an integral part of many statistical translation systems. Although many models have surpassed them in accuracy, none have supplanted them in practice. In this paper, we propose a simple extension to the IBM models: an ℓ0 prior to encourage sparsity in the word-to-word translation model. We explain how to implement this extension efficiently for large-scale data (also released as a modification to GIZA++) and demonstrate, in experiments on Czech, Arabic, Chinese, and Urdu to English translation, significant improvements over IBM Model 4 in both word alignment (up to +6.7 F1) and translation quality (up to +1.4 Bleu).
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