Recent developments in machine translation and multilingual text generation have led researchers to adopt trained metrics such as COMET or BLEURT, which treat evaluation as a regression problem and use representations from multilingual pre-trained models such as XLM-RoBERTa or mBERT. Yet studies on related tasks suggest that these models are most efficient when they are large, which is costly and impractical for evaluation. We investigate the trade-off between multilinguality and model capacity with RemBERT, a state-of-the-art multilingual language model, using data from the WMT Metrics Shared Task. We present a series of experiments which show that model size is indeed a bottleneck for cross-lingual transfer, then demonstrate how distillation can help addressing this bottleneck, by leveraging synthetic data generation and transferring knowledge from one teacher to multiple students trained on related languages. Our method yields up to 10.5% improvement over vanilla fine-tuning and reaches 92.6% of RemBERT’s performance using only a third of its parameters.
The quality of machine translation systems has dramatically improved over the last decade, and as a result, evaluation has become an increasingly challenging problem. This paper describes our contribution to the WMT 2020 Metrics Shared Task, the main benchmark for automatic evaluation of translation. We make several submissions based on BLEURT, a previously published which uses transfer learning. We extend the metric beyond English and evaluate it on 14 language pairs for which fine-tuning data is available, as well as 4 “zero-shot” language pairs, for which we have no labelled examples. Additionally, we focus on English to German and demonstrate how to combine BLEURT’s predictions with those of YiSi and use alternative reference translations to enhance the performance. Empirical results show that the models achieve competitive results on the WMT Metrics 2019 Shared Task, indicating their promise for the 2020 edition.