Chung-hong Chan, Jing Zeng, Hartmut Wessler, Marc Jungblut, Kasper Welbers, Joseph Bajjalieh, Wouter van Atteveldt, Scott Althaus
Reproducible Extraction of Cross-lingual Topics (rectr)

Communication Methods and Measures, 2020: 14, Heft 4, S. 285-305
ISSN: 1931-2458 (print), 1931-2466 (online)

With global media content databases and online content being available, analyzing topical structures in different languages simultaneously has become an urgent computational task. Some previous studies have analyzed topics in a multilingual corpus by translating all items into a single language using a machine translation service, such as Google Translate. We argue that this method is not reproducible in the long run and proposes a new method – Reproducible Extraction of Cross-lingual Topics Using R (rectr). Our method utilizes open-source-aligned word embeddings to understand the cross-lingual meanings of words and has a mechanism to normalize residual influence from language differences. We present a benchmark that compares the topics extracted from a corpus of English, German, and French news using our method with methods used in the literature. We show that our method is not only reproducible but can also generate high-quality cross-lingual topics. We demonstrate how our method can be applied in tracking news topics across time and languages.