Baigong Zheng


2020

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Opportunistic Decoding with Timely Correction for Simultaneous Translation
Renjie Zheng | Mingbo Ma | Baigong Zheng | Kaibo Liu | Liang Huang
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Simultaneous translation has many important application scenarios and attracts much attention from both academia and industry recently. Most existing frameworks, however, have difficulties in balancing between the translation quality and latency, i.e., the decoding policy is usually either too aggressive or too conservative. We propose an opportunistic decoding technique with timely correction ability, which always (over-)generates a certain mount of extra words at each step to keep the audience on track with the latest information. At the same time, it also corrects, in a timely fashion, the mistakes in the former overgenerated words when observing more source context to ensure high translation quality. Experiments show our technique achieves substantial reduction in latency and up to +3.1 increase in BLEU, with revision rate under 8% in Chinese-to-English and English-to-Chinese translation.

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Simultaneous Translation Policies: From Fixed to Adaptive
Baigong Zheng | Kaibo Liu | Renjie Zheng | Mingbo Ma | Hairong Liu | Liang Huang
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Adaptive policies are better than fixed policies for simultaneous translation, since they can flexibly balance the tradeoff between translation quality and latency based on the current context information. But previous methods on obtaining adaptive policies either rely on complicated training process, or underperform simple fixed policies. We design an algorithm to achieve adaptive policies via a simple heuristic composition of a set of fixed policies. Experiments on Chinese -> English and German -> English show that our adaptive policies can outperform fixed ones by up to 4 BLEU points for the same latency, and more surprisingly, it even surpasses the BLEU score of full-sentence translation in the greedy mode (and very close to beam mode), but with much lower latency.

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Incremental Text-to-Speech Synthesis with Prefix-to-Prefix Framework
Mingbo Ma | Baigong Zheng | Kaibo Liu | Renjie Zheng | Hairong Liu | Kainan Peng | Kenneth Church | Liang Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Text-to-speech synthesis (TTS) has witnessed rapid progress in recent years, where neural methods became capable of producing audios with high naturalness. However, these efforts still suffer from two types of latencies: (a) the computational latency (synthesizing time), which grows linearly with the sentence length, and (b) the input latency in scenarios where the input text is incrementally available (such as in simultaneous translation, dialog generation, and assistive technologies). To reduce these latencies, we propose a neural incremental TTS approach using the prefix-to-prefix framework from simultaneous translation. We synthesize speech in an online fashion, playing a segment of audio while generating the next, resulting in an O(1) rather than O(n) latency. Experiments on English and Chinese TTS show that our approach achieves similar speech naturalness compared to full sentence TTS, but only with a constant (1-2 words) latency.

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Fluent and Low-latency Simultaneous Speech-to-Speech Translation with Self-adaptive Training
Renjie Zheng | Mingbo Ma | Baigong Zheng | Kaibo Liu | Jiahong Yuan | Kenneth Church | Liang Huang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Simultaneous speech-to-speech translation is an extremely challenging but widely useful scenario that aims to generate target-language speech only a few seconds behind the source-language speech. In addition, we have to continuously translate a speech of multiple sentences, but all recent solutions merely focus on the single-sentence scenario. As a result, current approaches will accumulate more and more latencies in later sentences when the speaker talks faster and introduce unnatural pauses into translated speech when the speaker talks slower. To overcome these issues, we propose Self-Adaptive Translation which flexibly adjusts the length of translations to accommodate different source speech rates. At similar levels of translation quality (as measured by BLEU), our method generates more fluent target speech latency than the baseline, in both Zh<->En directions.

2019

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Simpler and Faster Learning of Adaptive Policies for Simultaneous Translation
Baigong Zheng | Renjie Zheng | Mingbo Ma | Liang Huang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Simultaneous translation is widely useful but remains challenging. Previous work falls into two main categories: (a) fixed-latency policies such as Ma et al. (2019) and (b) adaptive policies such as Gu et al. (2017). The former are simple and effective, but have to aggressively predict future content due to diverging source-target word order; the latter do not anticipate, but suffer from unstable and inefficient training. To combine the merits of both approaches, we propose a simple supervised-learning framework to learn an adaptive policy from oracle READ/WRITE sequences generated from parallel text. At each step, such an oracle sequence chooses to WRITE the next target word if the available source sentence context provides enough information to do so, otherwise READ the next source word. Experiments on German<=>English show that our method, without retraining the underlying NMT model, can learn flexible policies with better BLEU scores and similar latencies compared to previous work.

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Speculative Beam Search for Simultaneous Translation
Renjie Zheng | Mingbo Ma | Baigong Zheng | Liang Huang
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Beam search is universally used in (full-sentence) machine translation but its application to simultaneous translation remains highly non-trivial, where output words are committed on the fly. In particular, the recently proposed wait-k policy (Ma et al., 2018) is a simple and effective method that (after an initial wait) commits one output word on receiving each input word, making beam search seemingly inapplicable. To address this challenge, we propose a new speculative beam search algorithm that hallucinates several steps into the future in order to reach a more accurate decision by implicitly benefiting from a target language model. This idea makes beam search applicable for the first time to the generation of a single word in each step. Experiments over diverse language pairs show large improvement compared to previous work.

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Robust Machine Translation with Domain Sensitive Pseudo-Sources: Baidu-OSU WMT19 MT Robustness Shared Task System Report
Renjie Zheng | Hairong Liu | Mingbo Ma | Baigong Zheng | Liang Huang
Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Machine Translation (Volume 2: Shared Task Papers, Day 1)

This paper describes the machine translation system developed jointly by Baidu Research and Oregon State University for WMT 2019 Machine Translation Robustness Shared Task. Translation of social media is a very challenging problem, since its style is very different from normal parallel corpora (e.g. News) and also include various types of noises. To make it worse, the amount of social media parallel corpora is extremely limited. In this paper, we use a domain sensitive training method which leverages a large amount of parallel data from popular domains together with a little amount of parallel data from social media. Furthermore, we generate a parallel dataset with pseudo noisy source sentences which are back-translated from monolingual data using a model trained by a similar domain sensitive way. In this way, we achieve more than 10 BLEU improvement in both En-Fr and Fr-En translation compared with the baseline methods.

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STACL: Simultaneous Translation with Implicit Anticipation and Controllable Latency using Prefix-to-Prefix Framework
Mingbo Ma | Liang Huang | Hao Xiong | Renjie Zheng | Kaibo Liu | Baigong Zheng | Chuanqiang Zhang | Zhongjun He | Hairong Liu | Xing Li | Hua Wu | Haifeng Wang
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Simultaneous translation, which translates sentences before they are finished, is use- ful in many scenarios but is notoriously dif- ficult due to word-order differences. While the conventional seq-to-seq framework is only suitable for full-sentence translation, we pro- pose a novel prefix-to-prefix framework for si- multaneous translation that implicitly learns to anticipate in a single translation model. Within this framework, we present a very sim- ple yet surprisingly effective “wait-k” policy trained to generate the target sentence concur- rently with the source sentence, but always k words behind. Experiments show our strat- egy achieves low latency and reasonable qual- ity (compared to full-sentence translation) on 4 directions: zh↔en and de↔en.

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Simultaneous Translation with Flexible Policy via Restricted Imitation Learning
Baigong Zheng | Renjie Zheng | Mingbo Ma | Liang Huang
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Simultaneous translation is widely useful but remains one of the most difficult tasks in NLP. Previous work either uses fixed-latency policies, or train a complicated two-staged model using reinforcement learning. We propose a much simpler single model that adds a “delay” token to the target vocabulary, and design a restricted dynamic oracle to greatly simplify training. Experiments on Chinese <-> English simultaneous translation show that our work leads to flexible policies that achieve better BLEU scores and lower latencies compared to both fixed and RL-learned policies.