Bryan Li


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This Land is Your, My Land: Evaluating Geopolitical Bias in Language Models through Territorial Disputes
Bryan Li | Samar Haider | Chris Callison-Burch
Proceedings of the 2024 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Do the Spratly Islands belong to China, the Philippines, or Vietnam? A pretrained large language model (LLM) may answer differently if asked in the languages of each claimant country: Chinese, Tagalog, or Vietnamese. This contrasts with a multilingual human, who would likely answer consistently. In this paper, we show that LLMs recall certain geographical knowledge inconsistently when queried in different languages—a phenomenon we term geopolitical bias. As a targeted case study, we consider territorial disputes, an inherently controversial and multilingual task. We introduce BorderLines, a dataset of territorial disputes which covers 251 territories, each associated with a set of multiple-choice questions in the languages of each claimant country (49 languages in total). We also propose a suite of evaluation metrics to precisely quantify bias and consistency in responses across different languages. We then evaluate various multilingual LLMs on our dataset and metrics to probe their internal knowledge and use the proposed metrics to discover numerous inconsistencies in how these models respond in different languages. Finally, we explore several prompt modification strategies, aiming to either amplify or mitigate geopolitical bias, which highlights how brittle LLMs are and how they tailor their responses depending on cues from the interaction context. Our code and data are available at


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Multilingual Bidirectional Unsupervised Translation through Multilingual Finetuning and Back-Translation
Bryan Li | Mohammad Sadegh Rasooli | Ajay Patel | Chris Callison-burch
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Technologies for Machine Translation of Low-Resource Languages (LoResMT 2023)

We propose a two-stage approach for training a single NMT model to translate unseen languages both to and from English. For the first stage, we initialize an encoder-decoder model to pretrained XLM-R and RoBERTa weights, then perform multilingual fine-tuning on parallel data in 40 languages to English. We find this model can generalize to zero-shot translations on unseen languages. For the second stage, we leverage this generalization ability to generate synthetic parallel data from monolingual datasets, then bidirectionally train with successive rounds of back-translation. Our approach, which we EcXTra (uE/unglish-uc/uentric Crosslingual (uX/u) uTra/unsfer), is conceptually simple, only using a standard cross-entropy objective throughout. It is also data-driven, sequentially leveraging auxiliary parallel data and monolingual data. We evaluate unsupervised NMT results for 7 low-resource languages, and find that each round of back-translation training further refines bidirectional performance. Our final single EcXTra-trained model achieves competitive translation performance in all translation directions, notably establishing a new state-of-the-art for English-to-Kazakh (22.9 10.4 BLEU). Our code is available at [this URL](

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PAXQA: Generating Cross-lingual Question Answering Examples at Training Scale
Bryan Li | Chris Callison-Burch
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Existing question answering (QA) systems owe much of their success to large, high-quality training data. Such annotation efforts are costly, and the difficulty compounds in the cross-lingual setting. Therefore, prior cross-lingual QA work has focused on releasing evaluation datasets, and then applying zero-shot methods as baselines. This work proposes a synthetic data generation method for cross-lingual QA which leverages indirect supervision from existing parallel corpora. Our method termed PAXQA (Projecting annotations for cross-lingual (x) QA) decomposes cross-lingual QA into two stages. First, we apply a question generation (QG) model to the English side. Second, we apply annotation projection to translate both the questions and answers. To better translate questions, we propose a novel use of lexically-constrained machine translation, in which constrained entities are extracted from the parallel bitexts. We apply PAXQA to generate cross-lingual QA examples in 4 languages (662K examples total), and perform human evaluation on a subset to create validation and test splits. We then show that models fine-tuned on these datasets outperform prior synthetic data generation models over several extractive QA datasets. The largest performance gains are for directions with non-English questions and English contexts. Ablation studies show that our dataset generation method is relatively robust to noise from automatic word alignments, showing the sufficient quality of our generations. To facilitate follow-up work, we release our code and datasets at

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Enhancing Human Summaries for Question-Answer Generation in Education
Hannah Gonzalez | Liam Dugan | Eleni Miltsakaki | Zhiqi Cui | Jiaxuan Ren | Bryan Li | Shriyash Upadhyay | Etan Ginsberg | Chris Callison-Burch
Proceedings of the 18th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA 2023)

We address the problem of generating high-quality question-answer pairs for educational materials. Previous work on this problem showed that using summaries as input improves the quality of question generation (QG) over original textbook text and that human-written summaries result in higher quality QG than automatic summaries. In this paper, a) we show that advances in Large Language Models (LLMs) are not yet sufficient to generate quality summaries for QG and b) we introduce a new methodology for enhancing bullet point student notes into fully fledged summaries and find that our methodology yields higher quality QG. We conducted a large-scale human annotation study of generated question-answer pairs for the evaluation of our methodology. In order to aid in future research, we release a new dataset of 9.2K human annotations of generated questions.


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CREATIVESUMM: Shared Task on Automatic Summarization for Creative Writing
Divyansh Agarwal | Alexander R. Fabbri | Simeng Han | Wojciech Kryscinski | Faisal Ladhak | Bryan Li | Kathleen McKeown | Dragomir Radev | Tianyi Zhang | Sam Wiseman
Proceedings of The Workshop on Automatic Summarization for Creative Writing

This paper introduces the shared task of summrizing documents in several creative domains, namely literary texts, movie scripts, and television scripts. Summarizing these creative documents requires making complex literary interpretations, as well as understanding non-trivial temporal dependencies in texts containing varied styles of plot development and narrative structure. This poses unique challenges and is yet underexplored for text summarization systems. In this shared task, we introduce four sub-tasks and their corresponding datasets, focusing on summarizing books, movie scripts, primetime television scripts, and daytime soap opera scripts. We detail the process of curating these datasets for the task, as well as the metrics used for the evaluation of the submissions. As part of the CREATIVESUMM workshop at COLING 2022, the shared task attracted 18 submissions in total. We discuss the submissions and the baselines for each sub-task in this paper, along with directions for facilitating future work.


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Exploring Content Selection in Summarization of Novel Chapters
Faisal Ladhak | Bryan Li | Yaser Al-Onaizan | Kathleen McKeown
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We present a new summarization task, generating summaries of novel chapters using summary/chapter pairs from online study guides. This is a harder task than the news summarization task, given the chapter length as well as the extreme paraphrasing and generalization found in the summaries. We focus on extractive summarization, which requires the creation of a gold-standard set of extractive summaries. We present a new metric for aligning reference summary sentences with chapter sentences to create gold extracts and also experiment with different alignment methods. Our experiments demonstrate significant improvement over prior alignment approaches for our task as shown through automatic metrics and a crowd-sourced pyramid analysis.