In order to communicate, it's necessary to refer to actions. Speakers do not have a problem finding the right verb for a specific action in their own language. However, in a foreign language, they often have difficulty choosing the appropriate verb. The reason is that one verb can refer, in its own meaning, to many different actions and we cannot be certain that the same set of alternatives is allowed in another language. Like second language learners, automatic translation systems also suffer from this problem, especially when the translation of a simple sentence is required.The reason for these mistranslations is that the set of possible interpretations of general action verbs, such as prendere, spingere, girare, comprimere in Italian and take, catch, push e turn in English and their cross-linguistic correspondences, are not mastered by the system and, indeed, are not explicitly settled neither in dictionaries nor in any current language ontology.
The IMAGACT dictionary has now delivered a language infrastructure covering the set of actions most frequently referred to in everyday language. Using English and Italian spoken corpora, it has identified 1010 distinct action concepts and visually represented them with prototypical scenes either animated in 3D or filmed.