Christopher Dipersio

Also published as: Christopher DiPersio


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Cross-lingual transfer for low-resource Arabic language understanding
Khadige Abboud | Olga Golovneva | Christopher DiPersio
Proceedings of the The Seventh Arabic Natural Language Processing Workshop (WANLP)

This paper explores cross-lingual transfer learning in natural language understanding (NLU), with the focus on bootstrapping Arabic from high-resource English and French languages for domain classification, intent classification, and named entity recognition tasks. We adopt a BERT-based architecture and pretrain three models using open-source Wikipedia data and large-scale commercial datasets: monolingual:Arabic, bilingual:Arabic-English, and trilingual:Arabic-English-French models. Additionally, we use off-the-shelf machine translator to translate internal data from source English language to the target Arabic language, in an effort to enhance transfer learning through translation. We conduct experiments that finetune the three models for NLU tasks and evaluate them on a large internal dataset. Despite the morphological, orthographical, and grammatical differences between Arabic and the source languages, transfer learning performance gains from source languages and through machine translation are achieved on a real-world Arabic test dataset in both a zero-shot setting and in a setting when the models are further finetuned on labeled data from the target language.


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Using Alternate Representations of Text for Natural Language Understanding
Venkat Varada | Charith Peris | Yangsook Park | Christopher Dipersio
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Conversational AI

One of the core components of voice assistants is the Natural Language Understanding (NLU) model. Its ability to accurately classify the user’s request (or “intent”) and recognize named entities in an utterance is pivotal to the success of these assistants. NLU models can be challenged in some languages by code-switching or morphological and orthographic variations. This work explores the possibility of improving the accuracy of NLU models for Indic languages via the use of alternate representations of input text for NLU, specifically ISO-15919 and IndicSOUNDEX, a custom SOUNDEX designed to work for Indic languages. We used a deep neural network based model to incorporate the information from alternate representations into the NLU model. We show that using alternate representations significantly improves the overall performance of NLU models when training data is limited.