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In this paper, we propose a novel BTG-forest-based alignment method. Based on a fast unsupervised initialization of parameters using variational IBM models, we synchronously parse parallel sentences top-down and align hierarchically under the constraint of BTG. Our two-step method can achieve the same run-time and comparable translation performance as fast_align while it yields smaller phrase tables. Final SMT results show that our method even outperforms in the experiment of distantly related languages, e.g., English-Japanese.arXiv:1711.07265v1 fatcat:wnao5ntu6vhs3b5uumsrsv4jpm