Unsupervised Cross-lingual Representation Learning at Scale

Alexis Conneau, Kartikay Khandelwal, Naman Goyal, Vishrav Chaudhary, Guillaume Wenzek, Francisco Guzmán, Edouard Grave, Myle Ott, Luke Zettlemoyer, Veselin Stoyanov


Abstract
This paper shows that pretraining multilingual language models at scale leads to significant performance gains for a wide range of cross-lingual transfer tasks. We train a Transformer-based masked language model on one hundred languages, using more than two terabytes of filtered CommonCrawl data. Our model, dubbed XLM-R, significantly outperforms multilingual BERT (mBERT) on a variety of cross-lingual benchmarks, including +14.6% average accuracy on XNLI, +13% average F1 score on MLQA, and +2.4% F1 score on NER. XLM-R performs particularly well on low-resource languages, improving 15.7% in XNLI accuracy for Swahili and 11.4% for Urdu over previous XLM models. We also present a detailed empirical analysis of the key factors that are required to achieve these gains, including the trade-offs between (1) positive transfer and capacity dilution and (2) the performance of high and low resource languages at scale. Finally, we show, for the first time, the possibility of multilingual modeling without sacrificing per-language performance; XLM-R is very competitive with strong monolingual models on the GLUE and XNLI benchmarks. We will make our code and models publicly available.
Anthology ID:
2020.acl-main.747
Volume:
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics
Month:
July
Year:
2020
Address:
Online
Venue:
ACL
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
8440–8451
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2020.acl-main.747
DOI:
10.18653/v1/2020.acl-main.747
Bibkey:
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2020.acl-main.747.pdf
Video:
 http://slideslive.com/38928776