Phonetic Models for Generating Spelling Variants

Rahul Bhagat, Eduard Hovy

Proper names, whether English or non-English, have several different spellings when transliterated from a non-English source language into English. Knowing the different variations can significantly improve the results of name-searches on various source texts, especially when recall is important. In this paper we propose two novel phonetic models to generate numerous candidate variant spellings of a name. Our methods show threefold improvement over the baseline and generate four times as many good name variants compared to a human while maintaining a respectable precision of 0.68.