Bashar Talafha


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VoxArabica: A Robust Dialect-Aware Arabic Speech Recognition System
Abdul Waheed | Bashar Talafha | Peter Sullivan | AbdelRahim Elmadany | Muhammad Abdul-Mageed
Proceedings of ArabicNLP 2023

Arabic is a complex language with many varieties and dialects spoken by ~ 450 millions all around the world. Due to the linguistic diversity and vari-ations, it is challenging to build a robust and gen-eralized ASR system for Arabic. In this work, we address this gap by developing and demoing a system, dubbed VoxArabica, for dialect identi-fication (DID) as well as automatic speech recog-nition (ASR) of Arabic. We train a wide range of models such as HuBERT (DID), Whisper, and XLS-R (ASR) in a supervised setting for Arabic DID and ASR tasks. Our DID models are trained to identify 17 different dialects in addition to MSA. We finetune our ASR models on MSA, Egyptian, Moroccan, and mixed data. Additionally, for the re-maining dialects in ASR, we provide the option to choose various models such as Whisper and MMS in a zero-shot setting. We integrate these models into a single web interface with diverse features such as audio recording, file upload, model selec-tion, and the option to raise flags for incorrect out-puts. Overall, we believe VoxArabica will be use-ful for a wide range of audiences concerned with Arabic research. Our system is currently running at

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WojoodNER 2023: The First Arabic Named Entity Recognition Shared Task
Mustafa Jarrar | Muhammad Abdul-Mageed | Mohammed Khalilia | Bashar Talafha | AbdelRahim Elmadany | Nagham Hamad | Alaa’ Omar
Proceedings of ArabicNLP 2023

We present WojoodNER-2023, the first Arabic Named Entity Recognition (NER) Shared Task. The primary focus of WojoodNER 2023 is on Arabic NER, offering a novel NER datasets (i.e., Wojood) and the definition of subtasks designed to facilitate meaningful comparisons between different NER approaches. WojoodNER-2023 encompassed two Subtasks: FlatNER and NestedNER. A total of 45 unique teams registered for this shared task, with 11 of them actively participating in the test phase. Specifically, 11 teams participated in FlatNER, while 8 teams tackled NestedNER. The winning team achieved F1 score of 91.96 and 93.73 in FlatNER and NestedNER respectively.


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ALUE: Arabic Language Understanding Evaluation
Haitham Seelawi | Ibraheem Tuffaha | Mahmoud Gzawi | Wael Farhan | Bashar Talafha | Riham Badawi | Zyad Sober | Oday Al-Dweik | Abed Alhakim Freihat | Hussein Al-Natsheh
Proceedings of the Sixth Arabic Natural Language Processing Workshop

The emergence of Multi-task learning (MTL)models in recent years has helped push thestate of the art in Natural Language Un-derstanding (NLU). We strongly believe thatmany NLU problems in Arabic are especiallypoised to reap the benefits of such models. Tothis end we propose the Arabic Language Un-derstanding Evaluation Benchmark (ALUE),based on 8 carefully selected and previouslypublished tasks. For five of these, we providenew privately held evaluation datasets to en-sure the fairness and validity of our benchmark. We also provide a diagnostic dataset to helpresearchers probe the inner workings of theirmodels.Our initial experiments show thatMTL models outperform their singly trainedcounterparts on most tasks. But in order to en-tice participation from the wider community,we stick to publishing singly trained baselinesonly. Nonetheless, our analysis reveals thatthere is plenty of room for improvement inArabic NLU. We hope that ALUE will playa part in helping our community realize someof these improvements. Interested researchersare invited to submit their results to our online,and publicly accessible leaderboard.


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Multi-dialect Arabic BERT for Country-level Dialect Identification
Bashar Talafha | Mohammad Ali | Muhy Eddin Za’ter | Haitham Seelawi | Ibraheem Tuffaha | Mostafa Samir | Wael Farhan | Hussein Al-Natsheh
Proceedings of the Fifth Arabic Natural Language Processing Workshop

Arabic dialect identification is a complex problem for a number of inherent properties of the language itself. In this paper, we present the experiments conducted, and the models developed by our competing team, Mawdoo3 AI, along the way to achieving our winning solution to subtask 1 of the Nuanced Arabic Dialect Identification (NADI) shared task. The dialect identification subtask provides 21,000 country-level labeled tweets covering all 21 Arab countries. An unlabeled corpus of 10M tweets from the same domain is also presented by the competition organizers for optional use. Our winning solution itself came in the form of an ensemble of different training iterations of our pre-trained BERT model, which achieved a micro-averaged F1-score of 26.78% on the subtask at hand. We publicly release the pre-trained language model component of our winning solution under the name of Multi-dialect-Arabic-BERT model, for any interested researcher out there.


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Mawdoo3 AI at MADAR Shared Task: Arabic Tweet Dialect Identification
Bashar Talafha | Wael Farhan | Ahmed Altakrouri | Hussein Al-Natsheh
Proceedings of the Fourth Arabic Natural Language Processing Workshop

Arabic dialect identification is an inherently complex problem, as Arabic dialect taxonomy is convoluted and aims to dissect a continuous space rather than a discrete one. In this work, we present machine and deep learning approaches to predict 21 fine-grained dialects form a set of given tweets per user. We adopted numerous feature extraction methods most of which showed improvement in the final model, such as word embedding, Tf-idf, and other tweet features. Our results show that a simple LinearSVC can outperform any complex deep learning model given a set of curated features. With a relatively complex user voting mechanism, we were able to achieve a Macro-Averaged F1-score of 71.84% on MADAR shared subtask-2. Our best submitted model ranked second out of all participating teams.

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Mawdoo3 AI at MADAR Shared Task: Arabic Fine-Grained Dialect Identification with Ensemble Learning
Ahmad Ragab | Haitham Seelawi | Mostafa Samir | Abdelrahman Mattar | Hesham Al-Bataineh | Mohammad Zaghloul | Ahmad Mustafa | Bashar Talafha | Abed Alhakim Freihat | Hussein Al-Natsheh
Proceedings of the Fourth Arabic Natural Language Processing Workshop

In this paper we discuss several models we used to classify 25 city-level Arabic dialects in addition to Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) as part of MADAR shared task (sub-task 1). We propose an ensemble model of a group of experimentally designed best performing classifiers on a various set of features. Our system achieves an accuracy of 69.3% macro F1-score with an improvement of 1.4% accuracy from the baseline model on the DEV dataset. Our best run submitted model ranked as third out of 19 participating teams on the TEST dataset with only 0.12% macro F1-score behind the top ranked system.

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Team JUST at the MADAR Shared Task on Arabic Fine-Grained Dialect Identification
Bashar Talafha | Ali Fadel | Mahmoud Al-Ayyoub | Yaser Jararweh | Mohammad AL-Smadi | Patrick Juola
Proceedings of the Fourth Arabic Natural Language Processing Workshop

In this paper, we describe our team’s effort on the MADAR Shared Task on Arabic Fine-Grained Dialect Identification. The task requires building a system capable of differentiating between 25 different Arabic dialects in addition to MSA. Our approach is simple. After preprocessing the data, we use Data Augmentation (DA) to enlarge the training data six times. We then build a language model and extract n-gram word-level and character-level TF-IDF features and feed them into an MNB classifier. Despite its simplicity, the resulting model performs really well producing the 4th highest F-measure and region-level accuracy and the 5th highest precision, recall, city-level accuracy and country-level accuracy among the participating teams.