Fitsum Gaim


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Question-Answering in a Low-resourced Language: Benchmark Dataset and Models for Tigrinya
Fitsum Gaim | Wonsuk Yang | Hancheol Park | Jong Park
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Question-Answering (QA) has seen significant advances recently, achieving near human-level performance over some benchmarks. However, these advances focus on high-resourced languages such as English, while the task remains unexplored for most other languages, mainly due to the lack of annotated datasets. This work presents a native QA dataset for an East African language, Tigrinya. The dataset contains 10.6K question-answer pairs spanning 572 paragraphs extracted from 290 news articles on various topics. The dataset construction method is discussed, which is applicable to constructing similar resources for related languages. We present comprehensive experiments and analyses of several resource-efficient approaches to QA, including monolingual, cross-lingual, and multilingual setups, along with comparisons against machine-translated silver data. Our strong baseline models reach 76% in the F1 score, while the estimated human performance is 92%, indicating that the benchmark presents a good challenge for future work. We make the dataset, models, and leaderboard publicly available.


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GeezSwitch: Language Identification in Typologically Related Low-resourced East African Languages
Fitsum Gaim | Wonsuk Yang | Jong C. Park
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Language identification is one of the fundamental tasks in natural language processing that is a prerequisite to data processing and numerous applications. Low-resourced languages with similar typologies are generally confused with each other in real-world applications such as machine translation, affecting the user’s experience. In this work, we present a language identification dataset for five typologically and phylogenetically related low-resourced East African languages that use the Ge’ez script as a writing system; namely Amharic, Blin, Ge’ez, Tigre, and Tigrinya. The dataset is built automatically from selected data sources, but we also performed a manual evaluation to assess its quality. Our approach to constructing the dataset is cost-effective and applicable to other low-resource languages. We integrated the dataset into an existing language-identification tool and also fine-tuned several Transformer based language models, achieving very strong results in all cases. While the task of language identification is easy for the informed person, such datasets can make a difference in real-world deployments and also serve as part of a benchmark for language understanding in the target languages. The data and models are made available at