Syntax-directed translation tools require the specification of a language by means of a formal grammar. This grammar must conform to the specific requirements of the parser generator to be used. This grammar is then annotated with semantic actions for the resulting system to perform its desired function. In this paper, we introduce ModelCC, a model-based parser generator that decouples language specification from language processing, avoiding some of the problems caused by grammar-driven parser generators. ModelCC receives a conceptual model as input, along with constraints that annotate it. It is then able to create a parser for the desired textual syntax and the generated parser fully automates the instantiation of the language conceptual model. ModelCC also includes a reference resolution mechanism so that ModelCC is able to instantiate abstract syntax graphs, rather than mere abstract syntax trees.