Text-editing models have recently become a prominent alternative to seq2seq models for monolingual text-generation tasks such as grammatical error correction, text simplification, and style transfer. These tasks share a common trait – they exhibit a large amount of textual overlap between the source and target texts. Text-editing models take advantage of this observation and learn to generate the output by predicting edit operations applied to the source sequence. In contrast, seq2seq models generate outputs word-by-word from scratch thus making them slow at inference time. Text-editing models provide several benefits over seq2seq models including faster inference speed, higher sample efficiency, and better control and interpretability of the outputs. This tutorial provides a comprehensive overview of the text-edit based models and current state-of-the-art approaches analyzing their pros and cons. We discuss challenges related to deployment and how these models help to mitigate hallucination and bias, both pressing challenges in the field of text generation.
We present EdiT5 - a novel semi-autoregressive text-editing approach designed to combine the strengths of non-autoregressive text-editing and autoregressive decoding. EdiT5 is faster at inference times than conventional sequence-to-sequence (seq2seq) models, while being capable of modeling flexible input-output transformations.This is achieved by decomposing the generation process into three sub-tasks: (1) tagging to decide on the subset of input tokens to be preserved in the output, (2) re-ordering to define their order in the output text, and (3) insertion to infill the missing tokens that are not present in the input. The tagging and re-ordering steps, which are responsible for generating the largest portion of the output, are non-autoregressive, while the insertion uses an autoregressive decoder.Depending on the task, EdiT5 requires significantly fewer autoregressive steps demonstrating speedups of up to 25x when compared to classic seq2seq models. Quality-wise, EdiT5 is initialized with a pre-trained T5 checkpoint yielding comparable performance to T5 in high-resource settings and clearly outperforms it on low-resource settings when evaluated on three NLG tasks: Sentence Fusion, Grammatical Error Correction, and Decontextualization.
This paper presents a simple recipe to trainstate-of-the-art multilingual Grammatical Error Correction (GEC) models. We achieve this by first proposing a language-agnostic method to generate a large number of synthetic examples. The second ingredient is to use large-scale multilingual language models (up to 11B parameters). Once fine-tuned on language-specific supervised sets we surpass the previous state-of-the-art results on GEC benchmarks in four languages: English, Czech, German and Russian. Having established a new set of baselines for GEC, we make our results easily reproducible and accessible by releasing a CLANG-8 dataset. It is produced by using our best model, which we call gT5, to clean the targets of a widely used yet noisy Lang-8 dataset. cLang-8 greatly simplifies typical GEC training pipelines composed of multiple fine-tuning stages – we demonstrate that performing a single fine-tuning stepon cLang-8 with the off-the-shelf language models yields further accuracy improvements over an already top-performing gT5 model for English.
We present FELIX – a flexible text-editing approach for generation, designed to derive maximum benefit from the ideas of decoding with bi-directional contexts and self-supervised pretraining. In contrast to conventional sequenceto-sequence (seq2seq) models, FELIX is efficient in low-resource settings and fast at inference time, while being capable of modeling flexible input-output transformations. We achieve this by decomposing the text-editing task into two sub-tasks: tagging to decide on the subset of input tokens and their order in the output text and insertion to in-fill the missing tokens in the output not present in the input. The tagging model employs a novel Pointer mechanism, while the insertion model is based on a Masked Language Model (MLM). Both of these models are chosen to be non-autoregressive to guarantee faster inference. FELIX performs favourably when compared to recent text-editing methods and strong seq2seq baselines when evaluated on four NLG tasks: Sentence Fusion, Machine Translation Automatic Post-Editing, Summarization, and Text Simplification
Sentence fusion is the task of joining related sentences into coherent text. Current training and evaluation schemes for this task are based on single reference ground-truths and do not account for valid fusion variants. We show that this hinders models from robustly capturing the semantic relationship between input sentences. To alleviate this, we present an approach in which ground-truth solutions are automatically expanded into multiple references via curated equivalence classes of connective phrases. We apply this method to a large-scale dataset and use the augmented dataset for both model training and evaluation. To improve the learning of semantic representation using multiple references, we enrich the model with auxiliary discourse classification tasks under a multi-tasking framework. Our experiments highlight the improvements of our approach over state-of-the-art models.
The ability to combine symbols to generate language is a defining characteristic of human intelligence, particularly in the context of artistic story-telling through lyrics. We develop a method for synthesizing a rap verse based on the content of any text (e.g., a news article), or for augmenting pre-existing rap lyrics. Our method, called Rapformer, is based on training a Transformer-based denoising autoencoder to reconstruct rap lyrics from content words extracted from the lyrics, trying to preserve the essential meaning, while matching the target style. Rapformer features a novel BERT-based paraphrasing scheme for rhyme enhancement which increases the average rhyme density of output lyrics by 10%. Experimental results on three diverse input domains show that Rapformer is capable of generating technically fluent verses that offer a good trade-off between content preservation and style transfer. Furthermore, a Turing-test-like experiment reveals that Rapformer fools human lyrics experts 25% of the time.
We propose Masker, an unsupervised text-editing method for style transfer. To tackle cases when no parallel source–target pairs are available, we train masked language models (MLMs) for both the source and the target domain. Then we find the text spans where the two models disagree the most in terms of likelihood. This allows us to identify the source tokens to delete to transform the source text to match the style of the target domain. The deleted tokens are replaced with the target MLM, and by using a padded MLM variant, we avoid having to predetermine the number of inserted tokens. Our experiments on sentence fusion and sentiment transfer demonstrate that Masker performs competitively in a fully unsupervised setting. Moreover, in low-resource settings, it improves supervised methods’ accuracy by over 10 percentage points when pre-training them on silver training data generated by Masker.
Sentence fusion is the task of joining several independent sentences into a single coherent text. Current datasets for sentence fusion are small and insufficient for training modern neural models. In this paper, we propose a method for automatically-generating fusion examples from raw text and present DiscoFuse, a large scale dataset for discourse-based sentence fusion. We author a set of rules for identifying a diverse set of discourse phenomena in raw text, and decomposing the text into two independent sentences. We apply our approach on two document collections: Wikipedia and Sports articles, yielding 60 million fusion examples annotated with discourse information required to reconstruct the fused text. We develop a sequence-to-sequence model on DiscoFuse and thoroughly analyze its strengths and weaknesses with respect to the various discourse phenomena, using both automatic as well as human evaluation. Finally, we conduct transfer learning experiments with WebSplit, a recent dataset for text simplification. We show that pretraining on DiscoFuse substantially improves performance on WebSplit when viewed as a sentence fusion task.
We propose LaserTagger - a sequence tagging approach that casts text generation as a text editing task. Target texts are reconstructed from the inputs using three main edit operations: keeping a token, deleting it, and adding a phrase before the token. To predict the edit operations, we propose a novel model, which combines a BERT encoder with an autoregressive Transformer decoder. This approach is evaluated on English text on four tasks: sentence fusion, sentence splitting, abstractive summarization, and grammar correction. LaserTagger achieves new state-of-the-art results on three of these tasks, performs comparably to a set of strong seq2seq baselines with a large number of training examples, and outperforms them when the number of examples is limited. Furthermore, we show that at inference time tagging can be more than two orders of magnitude faster than comparable seq2seq models, making it more attractive for running in a live environment.
Conversational agents offer users a natural-language interface to accomplish tasks, entertain themselves, or access information. Informational dialogue is particularly challenging in that the agent has to hold a conversation on an open topic, and to achieve a reasonable coverage it generally needs to digest and present unstructured information from textual sources. Making responses based on such sources sound natural and fit appropriately into the conversation context is a topic of ongoing research, one of the key issues of which is preventing the agent’s responses from sounding repetitive. Targeting this issue, we propose a new task, known as redundancy localization, which aims to pinpoint semantic overlap between text passages. To help address it systematically, we formalize the task, prepare a public dataset with fine-grained redundancy labels, and propose a model utilizing a weak training signal defined over the results of a passage-retrieval system on web texts. The proposed model demonstrates superior performance compared to a state-of-the-art entailment model and yields encouraging results when applied to a real-world dialogue.