Collaborative multilingual knowledge management based on controlled natural language

Kaarel Kaljurand*, Tobias Kuhn, Laura Canedo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


User interfaces are a critical aspect of semantic knowledge representation systems, as users have to understand and use a formal representation language to model a particular domain of interest, which is known to be a difficult task. Things are even more challenging in a multilingual setting, where users speaking different languages have to create a multilingual ontology. To address these problems, we introduce a semantic wiki system that is based on controlled natural language to provide an intuitive yet formal interface. We use a well-defined subset of Attempto Controlled English (ACE) implemented in Grammatical Framework to automatically produce precise bidirectional translations between ACE and language fragments of a number of other natural languages, making the wiki content accessible multilingually. Because ACE has a partial but deterministic mapping to the Web Ontology Language, our wiki engine can offer automatic reasoning and question answering on the wiki content. Users speaking different languages can therefore build, query, and view a common knowledge base in their own language. We present the results of a user evaluation where participants using different languages were asked to write and assess statements about European geography. Our results show that users reach a high level of consensus, which is not negatively affected by the presence of automatic translation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-258
Number of pages18
JournalSemantic Web
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Attempto Controlled English
  • controlled natural language
  • Grammatical Framework
  • multilinguality
  • Semantic wiki


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