Sentence-level text simplification is currently evaluated using both automated metrics and human evaluation. For automatic evaluation, a combination of metrics is usually employed to evaluate different aspects of the simplification. Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL) is one metric that has been regularly used to measure the readability of system output. In this paper, we argue that FKGL should not be used to evaluate text simplification systems. We provide experimental analyses on recent system output showing that the FKGL score can easily be manipulated to improve the score dramatically with only minor impact on other automated metrics (BLEU and SARI). Instead of using FKGL, we suggest that the component statistics, along with others, be used for posthoc analysis to understand system behavior.
The quality of fully automated text simplification systems is not good enough for use in real-world settings; instead, human simplifications are used. In this paper, we examine how to improve the cost and quality of human simplifications by leveraging crowdsourcing. We introduce a graph-based sentence fusion approach to augment human simplifications and a reranking approach to both select high quality simplifications and to allow for targeting simplifications with varying levels of simplicity. Using the Newsela dataset (Xu et al., 2015) we show consistent improvements over experts at varying simplification levels and find that the additional sentence fusion simplifications allow for simpler output than the human simplifications alone.
The goal of text simplification (TS) is to transform difficult text into a version that is easier to understand and more broadly accessible to a wide variety of readers. In some domains, such as healthcare, fully automated approaches cannot be used since information must be accurately preserved. Instead, semi-automated approaches can be used that assist a human writer in simplifying text faster and at a higher quality. In this paper, we examine the application of autocomplete to text simplification in the medical domain. We introduce a new parallel medical data set consisting of aligned English Wikipedia with Simple English Wikipedia sentences and examine the application of pretrained neural language models (PNLMs) on this dataset. We compare four PNLMs (BERT, RoBERTa, XLNet, and GPT-2), and show how the additional context of the sentence to be simplified can be incorporated to achieve better results (6.17% absolute improvement over the best individual model). We also introduce an ensemble model that combines the four PNLMs and outperforms the best individual model by 2.1%, resulting in an overall word prediction accuracy of 64.52%.