Alexander Jones


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Sentiment-based Candidate Selection for NMT
Alexander Jones | Derry Wijaya
Proceedings of Machine Translation Summit XVIII: Research Track

The explosion of user-generated content (UGC)—e.g. social media posts and comments and and reviews—has motivated the development of NLP applications tailored to these types of informal texts. Prevalent among these applications have been sentiment analysis and machine translation (MT). Grounded in the observation that UGC features highly idiomatic and sentiment-charged language and we propose a decoder-side approach that incorporates automatic sentiment scoring into the MT candidate selection process. We train monolingual sentiment classifiers in English and Spanish and in addition to a multilingual sentiment model and by fine-tuning BERT and XLM-RoBERTa. Using n-best candidates generated by a baseline MT model with beam search and we select the candidate that minimizes the absolute difference between the sentiment score of the source sentence and that of the translation and and perform two human evaluations to assess the produced translations. Unlike previous work and we select this minimally divergent translation by considering the sentiment scores of the source sentence and translation on a continuous interval and rather than using e.g. binary classification and allowing for more fine-grained selection of translation candidates. The results of human evaluations show that and in comparison to the open-source MT baseline model on top of which our sentiment-based pipeline is built and our pipeline produces more accurate translations of colloquial and sentiment-heavy source texts.

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Majority Voting with Bidirectional Pre-translation For Bitext Retrieval
Alexander Jones | Derry Tanti Wijaya
Proceedings of the 14th Workshop on Building and Using Comparable Corpora (BUCC 2021)

Obtaining high-quality parallel corpora is of paramount importance for training NMT systems. However, as many language pairs lack adequate gold-standard training data, a popular approach has been to mine so-called “pseudo-parallel” sentences from paired documents in two languages. In this paper, we outline some drawbacks with current methods that rely on an embedding similarity threshold, and propose a heuristic method in its place. Our method involves translating both halves of a paired corpus before mining, and then performing a majority vote on sentence pairs mined in three ways: after translating documents in language x to language y, after translating language y to x, and using the original documents in languages x and y. We demonstrate success with this novel approach on the Tatoeba similarity search benchmark in 64 low-resource languages, and on NMT in Kazakh and Gujarati. We also uncover the effect of resource-related factors (i.e. how much monolingual/bilingual data is available for a given language) on the optimal choice of bitext mining method, demonstrating that there is currently no one-size-fits-all approach for this task. We make the code and data used in our experiments publicly available.

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A Massively Multilingual Analysis of Cross-linguality in Shared Embedding Space
Alexander Jones | William Yang Wang | Kyle Mahowald
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

In cross-lingual language models, representations for many different languages live in the same space. Here, we investigate the linguistic and non-linguistic factors affecting sentence-level alignment in cross-lingual pretrained language models for 101 languages and 5,050 language pairs. Using BERT-based LaBSE and BiLSTM-based LASER as our models, and the Bible as our corpus, we compute a task-based measure of cross-lingual alignment in the form of bitext retrieval performance, as well as four intrinsic measures of vector space alignment and isomorphism. We then examine a range of linguistic, quasi-linguistic, and training-related features as potential predictors of these alignment metrics. The results of our analyses show that word order agreement and agreement in morphological complexity are two of the strongest linguistic predictors of cross-linguality. We also note in-family training data as a stronger predictor than language-specific training data across the board. We verify some of our linguistic findings by looking at the effect of morphological segmentation on English-Inuktitut alignment, in addition to examining the effect of word order agreement on isomorphism for 66 zero-shot language pairs from a different corpus. We make the data and code for our experiments publicly available.