Seq2seq language generation models that are trained offline with multiple domains in a sequential fashion often suffer from catastrophic forgetting. Lifelong learning has been proposed to handle this problem. However, existing work such as experience replay or elastic weighted consolidation requires incremental memory space. In this work, we propose an innovative framework, RMR_DSEthat leverages a recall optimization mechanism to selectively memorize important parameters of previous tasks via regularization, and uses a domain drift estimation algorithm to compensate the drift between different do-mains in the embedding space. These designs enable the model to be trained on the current task while keep-ing the memory of previous tasks, and avoid much additional data storage. Furthermore, RMR_DSE can be combined with existing lifelong learning approaches. Our experiments on two seq2seq language generation tasks, paraphrase and dialog response generation, show thatRMR_DSE outperforms SOTA models by a considerable margin and reduces forgetting greatly.
Query rewrite (QR) is an emerging component in conversational AI systems, reducing user defect. User defect is caused by various reasons, such as errors in the spoken dialogue system, users’ slips of the tongue or their abridged language. Many of the user defects stem from personalized factors, such as user’s speech pattern, dialect, or preferences. In this work, we propose a personalized search-based QR framework, which focuses on automatic reduction of user defect. We build a personalized index for each user, which encompasses diverse affinity layers to reflect personal preferences for each user in the conversational AI. Our personalized QR system contains retrieval and ranking layers. Supported by user feedback based learning, training our models does not require hand-annotated data. Experiments on personalized test set showed that our personalized QR system is able to correct systematic and user errors by utilizing phonetic and semantic inputs.
Language model based pre-trained models such as BERT have provided significant gains across different NLP tasks. In this paper, we study different types of transformer based pre-trained models such as auto-regressive models (GPT-2), auto-encoder models (BERT), and seq2seq models (BART) for conditional data augmentation. We show that prepending the class labels to text sequences provides a simple yet effective way to condition the pre-trained models for data augmentation. Additionally, on three classification benchmarks, pre-trained Seq2Seq model outperforms other data augmentation methods in a low-resource setting. Further, we explore how different pre-trained model based data augmentation differs in-terms of data diversity, and how well such methods preserve the class-label information.
Semi-supervised learning is an efficient way to improve performance for natural language processing systems. In this work, we propose Para-SSL, a scheme to generate candidate utterances using paraphrasing and methods from semi-supervised learning. In order to perform paraphrase generation in the context of a dialog system, we automatically extract paraphrase pairs to create a paraphrase corpus. Using this data, we build a paraphrase generation system and perform one-to-many generation, followed by a validation step to select only the utterances with good quality. The paraphrase-based semi-supervised learning is applied to five functionalities in a natural language understanding system. Our proposed method for semi-supervised learning using paraphrase generation does not require user utterances and can be applied prior to releasing a new functionality to a system. Experiments show that we can achieve up to 19% of relative slot error reduction without an access to user utterances, and up to 35% when leveraging live traffic utterances.
Semi-supervised learning is an efficient method to augment training data automatically from unlabeled data. Development of many natural language understanding (NLU) applications has a challenge where unlabeled data is relatively abundant while labeled data is rather limited. In this work, we propose transductive graph-based semi-supervised learning models as well as their inductive variants for NLU. We evaluate the approach’s applicability using publicly available NLU data and models. In order to find similar utterances and construct a graph, we use a paraphrase detection model. Results show that applying the inductive graph-based semi-supervised learning can improve the error rate of the NLU model by 5%.
In this paper, we offer an in-depth analysis about the modeling and search performance. We address the question if a more complex search algorithm is necessary. Furthermore, we investigate the question if more complex models which might only be applicable during rescoring are promising. By separating the search space and the modeling using n-best list reranking, we analyze the influence of both parts of an NMT system independently. By comparing differently performing NMT systems, we show that the better translation is already in the search space of the translation systems with less performance. This results indicate that the current search algorithms are sufficient for the NMT systems. Furthermore, we could show that even a relatively small n-best list of 50 hypotheses already contain notably better translations.
Punctuation and segmentation is crucial in spoken language translation, as it has a strong impact to translation performance. However, the impact of rare or unknown words in the performance of punctuation and segmentation insertion has not been thoroughly studied. In this work, we simulate various degrees of domain-match in testing scenario and investigate their impact to the punctuation insertion task. We explore three rare word generalizing schemes using part-of-speech (POS) tokens. Experiments show that generalizing rare and unknown words greatly improves the punctuation insertion performance, reaching up to 8.8 points of improvement in F-score when applied to the out-of-domain test scenario. We show that this improvement in punctuation quality has a positive impact on a following machine translation (MT) performance, improving it by 2 BLEU points.
In this paper, we investigate a multilingual approach for speech disfluency removal. A major challenge of this task comes from the costly nature of disfluency annotation. Motivated by the fact that speech disfluencies are commonly observed throughout different languages, we investigate the potential of multilingual disfluency modeling. We suggest that learning a joint representation of the disfluencies in multiple languages can be a promising solution to the data sparsity issue. In this work, we utilize a multilingual neural machine translation system, where a disfluent speech transcript is directly transformed into a cleaned up text. Disfluency removal experiments on English and German speech transcripts show that multilingual disfluency modeling outperforms the single language systems. In a following experiment, we show that the improvements are also observed in a downstream application using the disfluency-removed transcripts as input.
In this paper, we present the KIT systems of the IWSLT 2016 machine translation evaluation. We participated in the machine translation (MT) task as well as the spoken language language translation (SLT) track for English→German and German→English translation. We use attentional neural machine translation (NMT) for all our submissions. We investigated different methods to adapt the system using small in-domain data as well as methods to train the system on these small corpora. In addition, we investigated methods to combine NMT systems that encode the input as well as the output differently. We combine systems using different vocabularies, reverse translation systems, multi-source translation system. In addition, we used pre-translation systems that facilitate phrase-based machine translation systems. Results show that applying domain adaptation and ensemble technique brings a crucial improvement of 3-4 BLEU points over the baseline system. In addition, system combination using n-best lists yields further 1-2 BLEU points.
Recently, the development of neural machine translation (NMT) has significantly improved the translation quality of automatic machine translation. While most sentences are more accurate and fluent than translations by statistical machine translation (SMT)-based systems, in some cases, the NMT system produces translations that have a completely different meaning. This is especially the case when rare words occur. When using statistical machine translation, it has already been shown that significant gains can be achieved by simplifying the input in a preprocessing step. A commonly used example is the pre-reordering approach. In this work, we used phrase-based machine translation to pre-translate the input into the target language. Then a neural machine translation system generates the final hypothesis using the pre-translation. Thereby, we use either only the output of the phrase-based machine translation (PBMT) system or a combination of the PBMT output and the source sentence. We evaluate the technique on the English to German translation task. Using this approach we are able to outperform the PBMT system as well as the baseline neural MT system by up to 2 BLEU points. We analyzed the influence of the quality of the initial system on the final result.
In this paper, we present the KIT systems participating in the TED translation tasks of the IWSLT 2014 machine translation evaluation. We submitted phrase-based translation systems for all three official directions, namely English→German, German→English, and English→French, as well as for the optional directions English→Chinese and English→Arabic. For the official directions we built systems both for the machine translation as well as the spoken language translation track. This year we improved our systems’ performance over last year through n-best list rescoring using neural network-based translation and language models and novel preordering rules based on tree information of multiple syntactic levels. Furthermore, we could successfully apply a novel phrase extraction algorithm and transliteration of unknown words for Arabic. We also submitted a contrastive system for German→English built with stemmed German adjectives. For the SLT tracks, we used a monolingual translation system to translate the lowercased ASR hypotheses with all punctuation stripped to truecased, punctuated output as a preprocessing step to our usual translation system.
Translating meetings presents a challenge since multi-speaker speech shows a variety of disfluencies. In this paper we investigate the importance of transforming speech into well-written input prior to translating multi-party meetings. We first analyze the characteristics of this data and establish oracle scores. Sentence segmentation and punctuation are performed using a language model, turn information, or a monolingual translation system. Disfluencies are removed by a CRF model trained on in-domain and out-of-domain data. For comparison, we build a combined CRF model for punctuation insertion and disfluency removal. By applying these models, multi-party meetings are transformed into fluent input for machine translation. We evaluate the models with regard to translation performance and are able to achieve an improvement of 2.1 to 4.9 BLEU points depending on the availability of turn information.
With the increasing number of applications handling spontaneous speech, the needs to process spoken languages become stronger. Speech disfluency is one of the most challenging tasks to deal with in automatic speech processing. As most applications are trained with well-formed, written texts, many issues arise when processing spontaneous speech due to its distinctive characteristics. Therefore, more data with annotated speech disfluencies will help the adaptation of natural language processing applications, such as machine translation systems. In order to support this, we have annotated speech disfluencies in German lectures at KIT. In this paper we describe how we annotated the disfluencies in the data and provide detailed statistics on the size of the corpus and the speakers. Moreover, machine translation performance on a source text including disfluencies is compared to the results of the translation of a source text without different sorts of disfluencies or no disfluencies at all.
In this paper, we present the KIT systems participating in all three official directions, namely English→German, German→English, and English→French, in translation tasks of the IWSLT 2013 machine translation evaluation. Additionally, we present the results for our submissions to the optional directions English→Chinese and English→Arabic. We used phrase-based translation systems to generate the translations. This year, we focused on adapting the systems towards ASR input. Furthermore, we investigated different reordering models as well as an extended discriminative word lexicon. Finally, we added a data selection approach for domain adaptation.
Disfluencies in speech pose severe difficulties in machine translation of spontaneous speech. This paper presents our conditional random field (CRF)-based speech disfluency detection system developed on German to improve spoken language translation performance. In order to detect speech disfluencies considering syntactics and semantics of speech utterances, we carried out a CRF-based approach using information learned from the word representation and the phrase table used for machine translation. The word representation is gained using recurrent neural networks and projected words are clustered using the k-means algorithm. Using the output from the model trained with the word representations and phrase table information, we achieve an improvement of 1.96 BLEU points on the lecture test set. By keeping or removing humanannotated disfluencies, we show an upper bound and lower bound of translation quality. In an oracle experiment we gain 3.16 BLEU points of improvement on the lecture test set, compared to the same set with all disfluencies.
Academic lectures offer valuable content, but often do not reach their full potential audience due to the language barrier. Human translations of lectures are too expensive to be widely used. Speech translation technology can be an affordable alternative in this case. State-of-the-art speech translation systems utilize statistical models that need to be trained on large amounts of in-domain data. In order to support the KIT lecture translation project in its effort to introduce speech translation technology in KIT's lecture halls, we have collected a corpus of German lectures at KIT. In this paper we describe how we recorded the lectures and how we annotated them. We further give detailed statistics on the types of lectures in the corpus and its size. We collected the corpus with the purpose in mind that it should not just be suited for training a spoken language translation system the traditional way, but should also enable us to research techniques that enable the translation system to automatically and autonomously adapt itself to the varying topics and speakers of lectures
In spoken language translation (SLT), finding proper segmentation and reconstructing punctuation marks are not only significant but also challenging tasks. In this paper we present our recent work on speech translation quality analysis for German-English by improving sentence segmentation and punctuation. From oracle experiments, we show an upper bound of translation quality if we had human-generated segmentation and punctuation on the output stream of speech recognition systems. In our oracle experiments we gain 1.78 BLEU points of improvements on the lecture test set. We build a monolingual translation system from German to German implementing segmentation and punctuation prediction as a machine translation task. Using the monolingual translation system we get an improvement of 1.53 BLEU points on the lecture test set, which is a comparable performance against the upper bound drawn by the oracle experiments.
The Quaero program is an international project promoting research and industrial innovation on technologies for automatic analysis and classification of multimedia and multilingual documents. Within the program framework, research organizations and industrial partners collaborate to develop prototypes of innovating applications and services for access and usage of multimedia data. One of the topics addressed is the translation of spoken language. Each year, a project-internal evaluation is conducted by DGA to monitor the technological advances. This work describes the design and results of the 2011 evaluation campaign. The participating partners were RWTH, KIT, LIMSI and SYSTRAN. Their approaches are compared on both ASR output and reference transcripts of speech data for the translation between French and German. The results show that the developed techniques further the state of the art and improve translation quality.