Historical Chinese character recognition has been suffering from the problem of lacking sufficient labeled training samples. A transfer learning method based on Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) for historical Chinese character recognition is proposed in this paper. A CNN model L is trained by printed Chinese character samples in the source domain. The network structure and weights of model L are used to initialize another CNN model T, which is regarded as the feature extractor and classifier in the target domain. The model T is then fine-tuned by a few labeled historical or handwritten Chinese character samples, and used for final evaluation in the target domain. Several experiments regarding essential factors of the CNNbased transfer learning method are conducted, showing that the proposed method is effective.
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