In Neural Machine Translation, it is typically assumed that the sentence with the highest estimated probability should also be the translation with the highest quality as measured by humans. In this work, we question this assumption and show that model estimates and translation quality only vaguely correlate. We apply Minimum Bayes Risk (MBR) decoding on unbiased samples to optimize diverse automated metrics of translation quality as an alternative inference strategy to beam search. Instead of targeting the hypotheses with the highest model probability, MBR decoding extracts the hypotheses with the highest estimated quality. Our experiments show that the combination of a neural translation model with a neural reference-based metric, Bleurt, results in significant improvement in human evaluations. This improvement is obtained with translations different from classical beam-search output: These translations have much lower model likelihood and are less favored by surface metrics like Bleu.
Pairwise data automatically constructed from weakly supervised signals has been widely used for training deep learning models. Pairwise datasets such as parallel texts can have uneven quality levels overall, but usually contain data subsets that are more useful as learning examples. We present two methods to refine data that are aimed to obtain that kind of subsets in a self-supervised way. Our methods are based on iteratively training dual-encoder models to compute similarity scores. We evaluate our methods on de-noising parallel texts and training neural machine translation models. We find that: (i) The self-supervised refinement achieves most machine translation gains in the first iteration, but following iterations further improve its intrinsic evaluation. (ii) Machine translations can improve the de-noising performance when combined with selection steps. (iii) Our methods are able to reach the performance of a supervised method. Being entirely self-supervised, our methods are well-suited to handle pairwise data without the need of prior knowledge or human annotations.