Conference paper

Web page language identification based on URLs

Given only the URL of a web page, can we identify its language? This is the question that we examine in this paper. Such a language classifier is, for example, useful for crawlers of web search engines, which frequently try to satisfy certain language quotas. To determine the language of uncrawled web pages, they have to download the page, which might be wasteful, if the page is not in the desired language. With URL-based language classifiers these redundant downloads can be avoided. We apply a variety of machine learning algorithms to the language identification task and evaluate their performance in extensive experiments for five languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. Our best methods achieve an F-measure, averaged over all languages, of around .90 for both a random sample of 1,260 web page from a large web crawl and for 25k pages from the ODP directory. For 5k pages of web search engine results we even achieve an Fmeasure of .96. The achieved recall for these collections is .93, .88 and .95 respectively. Two independent human evaluators performed considerably worse on the task, with an F-measure of .75 and a typical recall of a mere .67. Using only country-code top-level domains, such as .de or .fr yields a good precision, but a typical recall of below .60 and an F- measure of around .68.


    • LTAA-CONF-2008-004

    Record created on 2008-11-04, modified on 2016-08-08

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