Vocabulary selection, or lexical shortlisting, is a well-known technique to improve latency of Neural Machine Translation models by constraining the set of allowed output words during inference. The chosen set is typically determined by separately trained alignment model parameters, independent of the source-sentence context at inference time. While vocabulary selection appears competitive with respect to automatic quality metrics in prior work, we show that it can fail to select the right set of output words, particularly for semantically non-compositional linguistic phenomena such as idiomatic expressions, leading to reduced translation quality as perceived by humans. Trading off latency for quality by increasing the size of the allowed set is often not an option in real-world scenarios. We propose a model of vocabulary selection, integrated into the neural translation model, that predicts the set of allowed output words from contextualized encoder representations. This restores translation quality of an unconstrained system, as measured by human evaluations on WMT newstest2020 and idiomatic expressions, at an inference latency competitive with alignment-based selection using aggressive thresholds, thereby removing the dependency on separately trained alignment models.
Customer feedback can be an important signal for improving commercial machine translation systems. One solution for fixing specific translation errors is to remove the related erroneous training instances followed by re-training of the machine translation system, which we refer to as instance-specific data filtering. Influence functions (IF) have been shown to be effective in finding such relevant training examples for classification tasks such as image classification, toxic speech detection and entailment task. Given a probing instance, IF find influential training examples by measuring the similarity of the probing instance with a set of training examples in gradient space. In this work, we examine the use of influence functions for Neural Machine Translation (NMT). We propose two effective extensions to a state of the art influence function and demonstrate on the sub-problem of copied training examples that IF can be applied more generally than hand-crafted regular expressions.
Building neural machine translation systems to perform well on a specific target domain is a well-studied problem. Optimizing system performance for multiple, diverse target domains however remains a challenge. We study this problem in an adaptation setting where the goal is to preserve the existing system quality while incorporating data for domains that were not the focus of the original translation system. We find that we can improve over the performance trade-off offered by Elastic Weight Consolidation with a relatively simple data mixing strategy. At comparable performance on the new domains, catastrophic forgetting is mitigated significantly on strong WMT baselines. Combining both approaches improves the Pareto frontier on this task.
We present Sockeye 2, a modernized and streamlined version of the Sockeye neural machine translation (NMT) toolkit. New features include a simplified code base through the use of MXNet’s Gluon API, a focus on state of the art model architectures, and distributed mixed precision training. These improvements result in faster training and inference, higher automatic metric scores, and a shorter path from research to production.
The performance of Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models relies heavily on the availability of sufficient amounts of parallel data, and an efficient and effective way of leveraging the vastly available amounts of monolingual data has yet to be found. We propose to modify the decoder in a neural sequence-to-sequence model to enable multi-task learning for two strongly related tasks: target-side language modeling and translation. The decoder predicts the next target word through two channels, a target-side language model on the lowest layer, and an attentional recurrent model which is conditioned on the source representation. This architecture allows joint training on both large amounts of monolingual and moderate amounts of bilingual data to improve NMT performance. Initial results in the news domain for three language pairs show moderate but consistent improvements over a baseline trained on bilingual data only.