Bonaventure F. P. Dossou


2023

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MasakhaNEWS: News Topic Classification for African languages
David Ifeoluwa Adelani | Marek Masiak | Israel Abebe Azime | Jesujoba Alabi | Atnafu Lambebo Tonja | Christine Mwase | Odunayo Ogundepo | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Akintunde Oladipo | Doreen Nixdorf | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Sana Al-azzawi | Blessing Sibanda | Davis David | Lolwethu Ndolela | Jonathan Mukiibi | Tunde Ajayi | Tatiana Moteu | Brian Odhiambo | Abraham Owodunni | Nnaemeka Obiefuna | Muhidin Mohamed | Shamsuddeen Hassan Muhammad | Teshome Mulugeta Ababu | Saheed Abdullahi Salahudeen | Mesay Gemeda Yigezu | Tajuddeen Gwadabe | Idris Abdulmumin | Mahlet Taye | Oluwabusayo Awoyomi | Iyanuoluwa Shode | Tolulope Adelani | Habiba Abdulganiyu | Abdul-Hakeem Omotayo | Adetola Adeeko | Abeeb Afolabi | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Olanrewaju Samuel | Clemencia Siro | Wangari Kimotho | Onyekachi Ogbu | Chinedu Mbonu | Chiamaka Chukwuneke | Samuel Fanijo | Jessica Ojo | Oyinkansola Awosan | Tadesse Kebede | Toadoum Sari Sakayo | Pamela Nyatsine | Freedmore Sidume | Oreen Yousuf | Mardiyyah Oduwole | Kanda Tshinu | Ussen Kimanuka | Thina Diko | Siyanda Nxakama | Sinodos Nigusse | Abdulmejid Johar | Shafie Mohamed | Fuad Mire Hassan | Moges Ahmed Mehamed | Evrard Ngabire | Jules Jules | Ivan Ssenkungu | Pontus Stenetorp
Proceedings of the 13th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing and the 3rd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

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Proceedings of the Seventh Widening NLP Workshop (WiNLP 2023)
Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Isidora Tourni | Hatem Haddad | Shaily Bhatt | Fatemehsadat Mireshghallah | Sunipa Dev | Tanvi Anand | Weijia Xu | Atnafu Lambebo Tonja | Alfredo Gomez | Chanjun Park
Proceedings of the Seventh Widening NLP Workshop (WiNLP 2023)

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MasakhaPOS: Part-of-Speech Tagging for Typologically Diverse African languages
Cheikh M. Bamba Dione | David Ifeoluwa Adelani | Peter Nabende | Jesujoba Alabi | Thapelo Sindane | Happy Buzaaba | Shamsuddeen Hassan Muhammad | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Perez Ogayo | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Catherine Gitau | Derguene Mbaye | Jonathan Mukiibi | Blessing Sibanda | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Andiswa Bukula | Rooweither Mabuya | Allahsera Auguste Tapo | Edwin Munkoh-Buabeng | Victoire Memdjokam Koagne | Fatoumata Ouoba Kabore | Amelia Taylor | Godson Kalipe | Tebogo Macucwa | Vukosi Marivate | Tajuddeen Gwadabe | Mboning Tchiaze Elvis | Ikechukwu Onyenwe | Gratien Atindogbe | Tolulope Adelani | Idris Akinade | Olanrewaju Samuel | Marien Nahimana | Théogène Musabeyezu | Emile Niyomutabazi | Ester Chimhenga | Kudzai Gotosa | Patrick Mizha | Apelete Agbolo | Seydou Traore | Chinedu Uchechukwu | Aliyu Yusuf | Muhammad Abdullahi | Dietrich Klakow
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this paper, we present AfricaPOS, the largest part-of-speech (POS) dataset for 20 typologically diverse African languages. We discuss the challenges in annotating POS for these languages using the universal dependencies (UD) guidelines. We conducted extensive POS baseline experiments using both conditional random field and several multilingual pre-trained language models. We applied various cross-lingual transfer models trained with data available in the UD. Evaluating on the AfricaPOS dataset, we show that choosing the best transfer language(s) in both single-source and multi-source setups greatly improves the POS tagging performance of the target languages, in particular when combined with parameter-fine-tuning methods. Crucially, transferring knowledge from a language that matches the language family and morphosyntactic properties seems to be more effective for POS tagging in unseen languages.

2022

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Quality at a Glance: An Audit of Web-Crawled Multilingual Datasets
Julia Kreutzer | Isaac Caswell | Lisa Wang | Ahsan Wahab | Daan van Esch | Nasanbayar Ulzii-Orshikh | Allahsera Tapo | Nishant Subramani | Artem Sokolov | Claytone Sikasote | Monang Setyawan | Supheakmungkol Sarin | Sokhar Samb | Benoît Sagot | Clara Rivera | Annette Rios | Isabel Papadimitriou | Salomey Osei | Pedro Ortiz Suarez | Iroro Orife | Kelechi Ogueji | Andre Niyongabo Rubungo | Toan Q. Nguyen | Mathias Müller | André Müller | Shamsuddeen Hassan Muhammad | Nanda Muhammad | Ayanda Mnyakeni | Jamshidbek Mirzakhalov | Tapiwanashe Matangira | Colin Leong | Nze Lawson | Sneha Kudugunta | Yacine Jernite | Mathias Jenny | Orhan Firat | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Sakhile Dlamini | Nisansa de Silva | Sakine Çabuk Ballı | Stella Biderman | Alessia Battisti | Ahmed Baruwa | Ankur Bapna | Pallavi Baljekar | Israel Abebe Azime | Ayodele Awokoya | Duygu Ataman | Orevaoghene Ahia | Oghenefego Ahia | Sweta Agrawal | Mofetoluwa Adeyemi
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

With the success of large-scale pre-training and multilingual modeling in Natural Language Processing (NLP), recent years have seen a proliferation of large, Web-mined text datasets covering hundreds of languages. We manually audit the quality of 205 language-specific corpora released with five major public datasets (CCAligned, ParaCrawl, WikiMatrix, OSCAR, mC4). Lower-resource corpora have systematic issues: At least 15 corpora have no usable text, and a significant fraction contains less than 50% sentences of acceptable quality. In addition, many are mislabeled or use nonstandard/ambiguous language codes. We demonstrate that these issues are easy to detect even for non-proficient speakers, and supplement the human audit with automatic analyses. Finally, we recommend techniques to evaluate and improve multilingual corpora and discuss potential risks that come with low-quality data releases.

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A Few Thousand Translations Go a Long Way! Leveraging Pre-trained Models for African News Translation
David Adelani | Jesujoba Alabi | Angela Fan | Julia Kreutzer | Xiaoyu Shen | Machel Reid | Dana Ruiter | Dietrich Klakow | Peter Nabende | Ernie Chang | Tajuddeen Gwadabe | Freshia Sackey | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Chris Emezue | Colin Leong | Michael Beukman | Shamsuddeen Muhammad | Guyo Jarso | Oreen Yousuf | Andre Niyongabo Rubungo | Gilles Hacheme | Eric Peter Wairagala | Muhammad Umair Nasir | Benjamin Ajibade | Tunde Ajayi | Yvonne Gitau | Jade Abbott | Mohamed Ahmed | Millicent Ochieng | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Perez Ogayo | Jonathan Mukiibi | Fatoumata Ouoba Kabore | Godson Kalipe | Derguene Mbaye | Allahsera Auguste Tapo | Victoire Memdjokam Koagne | Edwin Munkoh-Buabeng | Valencia Wagner | Idris Abdulmumin | Ayodele Awokoya | Happy Buzaaba | Blessing Sibanda | Andiswa Bukula | Sam Manthalu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent advances in the pre-training for language models leverage large-scale datasets to create multilingual models. However, low-resource languages are mostly left out in these datasets. This is primarily because many widely spoken languages that are not well represented on the web and therefore excluded from the large-scale crawls for datasets. Furthermore, downstream users of these models are restricted to the selection of languages originally chosen for pre-training. This work investigates how to optimally leverage existing pre-trained models to create low-resource translation systems for 16 African languages. We focus on two questions: 1) How can pre-trained models be used for languages not included in the initial pretraining? and 2) How can the resulting translation models effectively transfer to new domains? To answer these questions, we create a novel African news corpus covering 16 languages, of which eight languages are not part of any existing evaluation dataset. We demonstrate that the most effective strategy for transferring both additional languages and additional domains is to leverage small quantities of high-quality translation data to fine-tune large pre-trained models.

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AfroLM: A Self-Active Learning-based Multilingual Pretrained Language Model for 23 African Languages
Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Atnafu Lambebo Tonja | Oreen Yousuf | Salomey Osei | Abigail Oppong | Iyanuoluwa Shode | Oluwabusayo Olufunke Awoyomi | Chris Emezue
Proceedings of The Third Workshop on Simple and Efficient Natural Language Processing (SustaiNLP)

In recent years, multilingual pre-trained language models have gained prominence due to their remarkable performance on numerous downstream Natural Language Processing tasks (NLP). However, pre-training these large multilingual language models requires a lot of training data, which is not available for African Languages. Active learning is a semi-supervised learning algorithm, in which a model consistently and dynamically learns to identify the most beneficial samples to train itself on, in order to achieve better optimization and performance on downstream tasks. Furthermore, active learning effectively and practically addresses real-world data scarcity. Despite all its benefits, active learning, in the context of NLP and especially multilingual language models pretraining, has received little consideration. In this paper, we present AfroLM, a multilingual language model pretrained from scratch on 23 African languages (the largest effort to date) using our novel self-active learning framework. Pretrained on a dataset significantly (14x) smaller than existing baselines, AfroLM outperforms many multilingual pretrained language models (AfriBERTa, XLMR-base, mBERT) on various NLP downstream tasks (NER, text classification, and sentiment analysis). Additional out-of-domain sentiment analysis experiments show that AfroLM is able to generalize well across various domains. We release the code source, and our datasets used in our framework at https://github.com/bonaventuredossou/MLM_AL.

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MasakhaNER 2.0: Africa-centric Transfer Learning for Named Entity Recognition
David Adelani | Graham Neubig | Sebastian Ruder | Shruti Rijhwani | Michael Beukman | Chester Palen-Michel | Constantine Lignos | Jesujoba Alabi | Shamsuddeen Muhammad | Peter Nabende | Cheikh M. Bamba Dione | Andiswa Bukula | Rooweither Mabuya | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Blessing Sibanda | Happy Buzaaba | Jonathan Mukiibi | Godson Kalipe | Derguene Mbaye | Amelia Taylor | Fatoumata Kabore | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Perez Ogayo | Catherine Gitau | Edwin Munkoh-Buabeng | Victoire Memdjokam Koagne | Allahsera Auguste Tapo | Tebogo Macucwa | Vukosi Marivate | Mboning Tchiaze Elvis | Tajuddeen Gwadabe | Tosin Adewumi | Orevaoghene Ahia | Joyce Nakatumba-Nabende | Neo Lerato Mokono | Ignatius Ezeani | Chiamaka Chukwuneke | Mofetoluwa Oluwaseun Adeyemi | Gilles Quentin Hacheme | Idris Abdulmumin | Odunayo Ogundepo | Oreen Yousuf | Tatiana Moteu | Dietrich Klakow
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

African languages are spoken by over a billion people, but they are under-represented in NLP research and development. Multiple challenges exist, including the limited availability of annotated training and evaluation datasets as well as the lack of understanding of which settings, languages, and recently proposed methods like cross-lingual transfer will be effective. In this paper, we aim to move towards solutions for these challenges, focusing on the task of named entity recognition (NER). We present the creation of the largest to-date human-annotated NER dataset for 20 African languages. We study the behaviour of state-of-the-art cross-lingual transfer methods in an Africa-centric setting, empirically demonstrating that the choice of source transfer language significantly affects performance. While much previous work defaults to using English as the source language, our results show that choosing the best transfer language improves zero-shot F1 scores by an average of 14% over 20 languages as compared to using English.

2021

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MMTAfrica: Multilingual Machine Translation for African Languages
Chris Chinenye Emezue | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou
Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on Machine Translation

In this paper, we focus on the task of multilingual machine translation for African languages and describe our contribution in the 2021 WMT Shared Task: Large-Scale Multilingual Machine Translation. We introduce MMTAfrica, the first many-to-many multilingual translation system for six African languages: Fon (fon), Igbo (ibo), Kinyarwanda (kin), Swahili/Kiswahili (swa), Xhosa (xho), and Yoruba (yor) and two non-African languages: English (eng) and French (fra). For multilingual translation concerning African languages, we introduce a novel backtranslation and reconstruction objective, BT&REC, inspired by the random online back translation and T5 modelling framework respectively, to effectively leverage monolingual data. Additionally, we report improvements from MMTAfrica over the FLORES 101 benchmarks (spBLEU gains ranging from +0.58 in Swahili to French to +19.46 in French to Xhosa).

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MasakhaNER: Named Entity Recognition for African Languages
David Ifeoluwa Adelani | Jade Abbott | Graham Neubig | Daniel D’souza | Julia Kreutzer | Constantine Lignos | Chester Palen-Michel | Happy Buzaaba | Shruti Rijhwani | Sebastian Ruder | Stephen Mayhew | Israel Abebe Azime | Shamsuddeen H. Muhammad | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Joyce Nakatumba-Nabende | Perez Ogayo | Aremu Anuoluwapo | Catherine Gitau | Derguene Mbaye | Jesujoba Alabi | Seid Muhie Yimam | Tajuddeen Rabiu Gwadabe | Ignatius Ezeani | Rubungo Andre Niyongabo | Jonathan Mukiibi | Verrah Otiende | Iroro Orife | Davis David | Samba Ngom | Tosin Adewumi | Paul Rayson | Mofetoluwa Adeyemi | Gerald Muriuki | Emmanuel Anebi | Chiamaka Chukwuneke | Nkiruka Odu | Eric Peter Wairagala | Samuel Oyerinde | Clemencia Siro | Tobius Saul Bateesa | Temilola Oloyede | Yvonne Wambui | Victor Akinode | Deborah Nabagereka | Maurice Katusiime | Ayodele Awokoya | Mouhamadane MBOUP | Dibora Gebreyohannes | Henok Tilaye | Kelechi Nwaike | Degaga Wolde | Abdoulaye Faye | Blessing Sibanda | Orevaoghene Ahia | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Kelechi Ogueji | Thierno Ibrahima DIOP | Abdoulaye Diallo | Adewale Akinfaderin | Tendai Marengereke | Salomey Osei
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

We take a step towards addressing the under- representation of the African continent in NLP research by bringing together different stakeholders to create the first large, publicly available, high-quality dataset for named entity recognition (NER) in ten African languages. We detail the characteristics of these languages to help researchers and practitioners better understand the challenges they pose for NER tasks. We analyze our datasets and conduct an extensive empirical evaluation of state- of-the-art methods across both supervised and transfer learning settings. Finally, we release the data, code, and models to inspire future research on African NLP.1

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OkwuGbé: End-to-End Speech Recognition for Fon and Igbo
Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Chris Chinenye Emezue
Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Widening Natural Language Processing

Language is a fundamental component of human communication. African low-resourced languages have recently been a major subject of research in machine translation, and other text-based areas of NLP. However, there is still very little comparable research in speech recognition for African languages. OkwuGbé is a step towards building speech recognition systems for African low-resourced languages. Using Fon and Igbo as our case study, we build two end-to-end deep neural network-based speech recognition models. We present a state-of-the-art automatic speech recognition (ASR) model for Fon, and a benchmark ASR model result for Igbo. Our findings serve both as a guide for future NLP research for Fon and Igbo in particular, and the creation of speech recognition models for other African low-resourced languages in general. The Fon and Igbo models source code have been made publicly available. Moreover, Okwugbe, a python library has been created to make easier the process of ASR model building and training.

2020

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Participatory Research for Low-resourced Machine Translation: A Case Study in African Languages
Wilhelmina Nekoto | Vukosi Marivate | Tshinondiwa Matsila | Timi Fasubaa | Taiwo Fagbohungbe | Solomon Oluwole Akinola | Shamsuddeen Muhammad | Salomon Kabongo Kabenamualu | Salomey Osei | Freshia Sackey | Rubungo Andre Niyongabo | Ricky Macharm | Perez Ogayo | Orevaoghene Ahia | Musie Meressa Berhe | Mofetoluwa Adeyemi | Masabata Mokgesi-Selinga | Lawrence Okegbemi | Laura Martinus | Kolawole Tajudeen | Kevin Degila | Kelechi Ogueji | Kathleen Siminyu | Julia Kreutzer | Jason Webster | Jamiil Toure Ali | Jade Abbott | Iroro Orife | Ignatius Ezeani | Idris Abdulkadir Dangana | Herman Kamper | Hady Elsahar | Goodness Duru | Ghollah Kioko | Murhabazi Espoir | Elan van Biljon | Daniel Whitenack | Christopher Onyefuluchi | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Blessing Sibanda | Blessing Bassey | Ayodele Olabiyi | Arshath Ramkilowan | Alp Öktem | Adewale Akinfaderin | Abdallah Bashir
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Research in NLP lacks geographic diversity, and the question of how NLP can be scaled to low-resourced languages has not yet been adequately solved. ‘Low-resourced’-ness is a complex problem going beyond data availability and reflects systemic problems in society. In this paper, we focus on the task of Machine Translation (MT), that plays a crucial role for information accessibility and communication worldwide. Despite immense improvements in MT over the past decade, MT is centered around a few high-resourced languages. As MT researchers cannot solve the problem of low-resourcedness alone, we propose participatory research as a means to involve all necessary agents required in the MT development process. We demonstrate the feasibility and scalability of participatory research with a case study on MT for African languages. Its implementation leads to a collection of novel translation datasets, MT benchmarks for over 30 languages, with human evaluations for a third of them, and enables participants without formal training to make a unique scientific contribution. Benchmarks, models, data, code, and evaluation results are released at https://github.com/masakhane-io/masakhane-mt.
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