David Dale


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The first neural machine translation system for the Erzya language
David Dale
Proceedings of the first workshop on NLP applications to field linguistics

We present the first neural machine translation system for translation between the endangered Erzya language and Russian and the dataset collected by us to train and evaluate it. The BLEU scores are 17 and 19 for translation to Erzya and Russian respectively, and more than half of the translations are rated as acceptable by native speakers. We also adapt our model to translate between Erzya and 10 other languages, but without additional parallel data, the quality on these directions remains low. We release the translation models along with the collected text corpus, a new language identification model, and a multilingual sentence encoder adapted for the Erzya language. These resources will be available at https://github.com/slone-nlp/myv-nmt.

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ParaDetox: Detoxification with Parallel Data
Varvara Logacheva | Daryna Dementieva | Sergey Ustyantsev | Daniil Moskovskiy | David Dale | Irina Krotova | Nikita Semenov | Alexander Panchenko
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present a novel pipeline for the collection of parallel data for the detoxification task. We collect non-toxic paraphrases for over 10,000 English toxic sentences. We also show that this pipeline can be used to distill a large existing corpus of paraphrases to get toxic-neutral sentence pairs. We release two parallel corpora which can be used for the training of detoxification models. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first parallel datasets for this task.We describe our pipeline in detail to make it fast to set up for a new language or domain, thus contributing to faster and easier development of new parallel resources.We train several detoxification models on the collected data and compare them with several baselines and state-of-the-art unsupervised approaches. We conduct both automatic and manual evaluations. All models trained on parallel data outperform the state-of-the-art unsupervised models by a large margin. This suggests that our novel datasets can boost the performance of detoxification systems.

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A large-scale computational study of content preservation measures for text style transfer and paraphrase generation
Nikolay Babakov | David Dale | Varvara Logacheva | Alexander Panchenko
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Student Research Workshop

Text style transfer and paraphrasing of texts are actively growing areas of NLP, dozens of methods for solving these tasks have been recently introduced. In both tasks, the system is supposed to generate a text which should be semantically similar to the input text. Therefore, these tasks are dependent on methods of measuring textual semantic similarity. However, it is still unclear which measures are the best to automatically evaluate content preservation between original and generated text. According to our observations, many researchers still use BLEU-like measures, while there exist more advanced measures including neural-based that significantly outperform classic approaches. The current problem is the lack of a thorough evaluation of the available measures. We close this gap by conducting a large-scale computational study by comparing 57 measures based on different principles on 19 annotated datasets. We show that measures based on cross-encoder models outperform alternative approaches in almost all cases.We also introduce the Mutual Implication Score (MIS), a measure that uses the idea of paraphrasing as a bidirectional entailment and outperforms all other measures on the paraphrase detection task and performs on par with the best measures in the text style transfer task.


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Text Detoxification using Large Pre-trained Neural Models
David Dale | Anton Voronov | Daryna Dementieva | Varvara Logacheva | Olga Kozlova | Nikita Semenov | Alexander Panchenko
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We present two novel unsupervised methods for eliminating toxicity in text. Our first method combines two recent ideas: (1) guidance of the generation process with small style-conditional language models and (2) use of paraphrasing models to perform style transfer. We use a well-performing paraphraser guided by style-trained language models to keep the text content and remove toxicity. Our second method uses BERT to replace toxic words with their non-offensive synonyms. We make the method more flexible by enabling BERT to replace mask tokens with a variable number of words. Finally, we present the first large-scale comparative study of style transfer models on the task of toxicity removal. We compare our models with a number of methods for style transfer. The models are evaluated in a reference-free way using a combination of unsupervised style transfer metrics. Both methods we suggest yield new SOTA results.

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SkoltechNLP at SemEval-2021 Task 5: Leveraging Sentence-level Pre-training for Toxic Span Detection
David Dale | Igor Markov | Varvara Logacheva | Olga Kozlova | Nikita Semenov | Alexander Panchenko
Proceedings of the 15th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2021)

This work describes the participation of the Skoltech NLP group team (Sk) in the Toxic Spans Detection task at SemEval-2021. The goal of the task is to identify the most toxic fragments of a given sentence, which is a binary sequence tagging problem. We show that fine-tuning a RoBERTa model for this problem is a strong baseline. This baseline can be further improved by pre-training the RoBERTa model on a large dataset labeled for toxicity at the sentence level. While our solution scored among the top 20% participating models, it is only 2 points below the best result. This suggests the viability of our approach.