The scarcity of parallel data is a major limitation for Neural Machine Translation (NMT) systems, in particular for translation into morphologically rich languages (MRLs). An important way to overcome the lack of parallel data is to leverage target monolingual data, which is typically more abundant and easier to collect. We evaluate a number of techniques to achieve this, ranging from back-translation to random token masking, on the challenging task of translating English into four typologically diverse MRLs, under low-resource settings. Additionally, we introduce Inflection Pre-Training (or PT-Inflect), a novel pre-training objective whereby the NMT system is pre-trained on the task of re-inflecting lemmatized target sentences before being trained on standard source-to-target language translation. We conduct our evaluation on four typologically diverse target MRLs, and find that PT-Inflect surpasses NMT systems trained only on parallel data. While PT-Inflect is outperformed by back-translation overall, combining the two techniques leads to gains in some of the evaluated language pairs.
Subword-level models have been the dominant paradigm in NLP. However, character-level models have the benefit of seeing each character individually, providing the model with more detailed information that ultimately could lead to better models. Recent works have shown character-level models to be competitive with subword models, but costly in terms of time and computation. Character-level models with a downsampling component alleviate this, but at the cost of quality, particularly for machine translation. This work analyzes the problems of previous downsampling methods and introduces a novel downsampling method which is informed by subwords.This new downsampling method not only outperforms existing downsampling methods, showing that downsampling characters can be done without sacrificing quality, but also leads to promising performance compared to subword models for translation.
Massively multilingual models are promising for transfer learning across tasks and languages. However, existing methods are unable to fully leverage training data when it is available in different task-language combinations. To exploit such heterogeneous supervision, we propose Hyper-X, a single hypernetwork that unifies multi-task and multilingual learning with efficient adaptation. It generates weights for adapter modules conditioned on both tasks and language embeddings. By learning to combine task and language-specific knowledge, our model enables zero-shot transfer for unseen languages and task-language combinations. Our experiments on a diverse set of languages demonstrate that Hyper-X achieves the best or competitive gain when a mixture of multiple resources is available, while on par with strong baseline in the standard scenario. Hyper-X is also considerably more efficient in terms of parameters and resources compared to methods that train separate adapters. Finally, Hyper-X consistently produces strong results in few-shot scenarios for new languages, showing the versatility of our approach beyond zero-shot transfer.
Recent advances in multilingual language modeling have brought the idea of a truly universal parser closer to reality. However, such models are still not immune to the “curse of multilinguality”: Cross-language interference and restrained model capacity remain major obstacles. To address this, we propose a novel language adaptation approach by introducing contextual language adapters to a multilingual parser. Contextual language adapters make it possible to learn adapters via language embeddings while sharing model parameters across languages based on contextual parameter generation. Moreover, our method allows for an easy but effective integration of existing linguistic typology features into the parsing model. Because not all typological features are available for every language, we further combine typological feature prediction with parsing in a multi-task model that achieves very competitive parsing performance without the need for an external prediction system for missing features. The resulting parser, UDapter, can be used for dependency parsing as well as sequence labeling tasks such as POS tagging, morphological tagging, and NER. In dependency parsing, it outperforms strong monolingual and multilingual baselines on the majority of both high-resource and low-resource (zero-shot) languages, showing the success of the proposed adaptation approach. In sequence labeling tasks, our parser surpasses the baseline on high resource languages, and performs very competitively in a zero-shot setting. Our in-depth analyses show that adapter generation via typological features of languages is key to this success.1
This paper describes the methods behind the systems submitted by the University of Groningen for the WMT 2021 Unsupervised Machine Translation task for German–Lower Sorbian (DE–DSB): a high-resource language to a low-resource one. Our system uses a transformer encoder-decoder architecture in which we make three changes to the standard training procedure. First, our training focuses on two languages at a time, contrasting with a wealth of research on multilingual systems. Second, we introduce a novel method for initializing the vocabulary of an unseen language, achieving improvements of 3.2 BLEU for DE->DSB and 4.0 BLEU for DSB->DE.Lastly, we experiment with the order in which offline and online back-translation are used to train an unsupervised system, finding that using online back-translation first works better for DE->DSB by 2.76 BLEU. Our submissions ranked first (tied with another team) for DSB->DE and third for DE->DSB.
Dravidian languages, such as Kannada and Tamil, are notoriously difficult to translate by state-of-the-art neural models. This stems from the fact that these languages are morphologically very rich as well as being low-resourced. In this paper, we focus on subword segmentation and evaluate Linguistically Motivated Vocabulary Reduction (LMVR) against the more commonly used SentencePiece (SP) for the task of translating from English into four different Dravidian languages. Additionally we investigate the optimal subword vocabulary size for each language. We find that SP is the overall best choice for segmentation, and that larger dictionary sizes lead to higher translation quality.
This paper investigates very low resource language model pretraining, when less than 100 thousand sentences are available. We find that, in very low-resource scenarios, statistical n-gram language models outperform state-of-the-art neural models. Our experiments show that this is mainly due to the focus of the former on a local context. As such, we introduce three methods to improve a neural model’s performance in the low-resource setting, finding that limiting the model’s self-attention is the most effective one, improving on downstream tasks such as NLI and POS tagging by up to 5% for the languages we test on: English, Hindi, and Turkish.
This paper describes our submission for the English-Tamil news translation task of WMT-2020. The various techniques and Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models used by our team are presented and discussed, including back-translation, fine-tuning and word dropout. Additionally, our experiments show that using a linguistically motivated subword segmentation technique (Ataman et al., 2017) does not consistently outperform the more widely used, non-linguistically motivated SentencePiece algorithm (Kudo and Richardson, 2018), despite the agglutinative nature of Tamil morphology.
This paper describes the methods behind the systems submitted by the University of Groningen for the WMT 2020 Unsupervised Machine Translation task for German–Upper Sorbian. We investigate the usefulness of data selection in the unsupervised setting. We find that we can perform data selection using a pretrained model and show that the quality of a set of sentences or documents can have a great impact on the performance of the UNMT system trained on it. Furthermore, we show that document-level data selection should be preferred for training the XLM model when possible. Finally, we show that there is a trade-off between quality and quantity of the data used to train UNMT systems.
Unsupervised Machine Translation has been advancing our ability to translate without parallel data, but state-of-the-art methods assume an abundance of monolingual data. This paper investigates the scenario where monolingual data is limited as well, finding that current unsupervised methods suffer in performance under this stricter setting. We find that the performance loss originates from the poor quality of the pretrained monolingual embeddings, and we offer a potential solution: dependency-based word embeddings. These embeddings result in a complementary word representation which offers a boost in performance of around 1.5 BLEU points compared to standard word2vec when monolingual data is limited to 1 million sentences per language. We also find that the inclusion of sub-word information is crucial to improving the quality of the embeddings.
n this paper, we introduce a new type of shared task — which is collaborative rather than competitive — designed to support and fosterthe reproduction of research results. We also describe the first event running such a novel challenge, present the results obtained, discussthe lessons learned and ponder on future undertakings.
Recent advances in multilingual dependency parsing have brought the idea of a truly universal parser closer to reality. However, cross-language interference and restrained model capacity remain major obstacles. To address this, we propose a novel multilingual task adaptation approach based on contextual parameter generation and adapter modules. This approach enables to learn adapters via language embeddings while sharing model parameters across languages. It also allows for an easy but effective integration of existing linguistic typology features into the parsing network. The resulting parser, UDapter, outperforms strong monolingual and multilingual baselines on the majority of both high-resource and low-resource (zero-shot) languages, showing the success of the proposed adaptation approach. Our in-depth analyses show that soft parameter sharing via typological features is key to this success.
Cross-lingual word embedding models learn a shared vector space for two or more languages so that words with similar meaning are represented by similar vectors regardless of their language. Although the existing models achieve high performance on pairs of morphologically simple languages, they perform very poorly on morphologically rich languages such as Turkish and Finnish. In this paper, we propose a morpheme-based model in order to increase the performance of cross-lingual word embeddings on morphologically rich languages. Our model includes a simple extension which enables us to exploit morphemes for cross-lingual mapping. We applied our model for the Turkish-Finnish language pair on the bilingual word translation task. Results show that our model outperforms the baseline models by 2% in the nearest neighbour ranking.
This paper describes our submission to SIGMORPHON 2019 Task 2: Morphological analysis and lemmatization in context. Our model is a multi-task sequence to sequence neural network, which jointly learns morphological tagging and lemmatization. On the encoding side, we exploit character-level as well as contextual information. We introduce a multi-attention decoder to selectively focus on different parts of character and word sequences. To further improve the model, we train on multiple datasets simultaneously and use external embeddings for initialization. Our final model reaches an average morphological tagging F1 score of 94.54 and a lemma accuracy of 93.91 on the test data, ranking respectively 3rd and 6th out of 13 teams in the SIGMORPHON 2019 shared task.
We present a simple knowledge-based WSD method that uses word and sense embeddings to compute the similarity between the gloss of a sense and the context of the word. Our method is inspired by the Lesk algorithm as it exploits both the context of the words and the definitions of the senses. It only requires large unlabeled corpora and a sense inventory such as WordNet, and therefore does not rely on annotated data. We explore whether additional extensions to Lesk are compatible with our method. The results of our experiments show that by lexically extending the amount of words in the gloss and context, although it works well for other implementations of Lesk, harms our method. Using a lexical selection method on the context words, on the other hand, improves it. The combination of our method with lexical selection enables our method to outperform state-of the art knowledge-based systems.
This study focuses on an essential precondition for reproducibility in computational linguistics: the willingness of authors to share relevant source code and data. Ten years after Ted Pedersen’s influential “Last Words” contribution in Computational Linguistics, we investigate to what extent researchers in computational linguistics are willing and able to share their data and code. We surveyed all 395 full papers presented at the 2011 and 2016 ACL Annual Meetings, and identified whether links to data and code were provided. If working links were not provided, authors were requested to provide this information. Although data were often available, code was shared less often. When working links to code or data were not provided in the paper, authors provided the code in about one third of cases. For a selection of ten papers, we attempted to reproduce the results using the provided data and code. We were able to reproduce the results approximately for six papers. For only a single paper did we obtain the exact same results. Our findings show that even though the situation appears to have improved comparing 2016 to 2011, empiricism in computational linguistics still largely remains a matter of faith. Nevertheless, we are somewhat optimistic about the future. Ensuring reproducibility is not only important for the field as a whole, but also seems worthwhile for individual researchers: The median citation count for studies with working links to the source code is higher.
Recently introduced neural network parsers allow for new approaches to circumvent data sparsity issues by modeling character level information and by exploiting raw data in a semi-supervised setting. Data sparsity is especially prevailing when transferring to non-standard domains. In this setting, lexical normalization has often been used in the past to circumvent data sparsity. In this paper, we investigate whether these new neural approaches provide similar functionality as lexical normalization, or whether they are complementary. We provide experimental results which show that a separate normalization component improves performance of a neural network parser even if it has access to character level information as well as external word embeddings. Further improvements are obtained by a straightforward but novel approach in which the top-N best candidates provided by the normalization component are available to the parser.
In this paper, we explore the performance of a linear SVM trained on language independent character features for the NLI Shared Task 2017. Our basic system (GRONINGEN) achieves the best performance (87.56 F1-score) on the evaluation set using only 1-9 character n-grams as features. We compare this against several ensemble and meta-classifiers in order to examine how the linear system fares when combined with other, especially non-linear classifiers. Special emphasis is placed on the topic bias that exists by virtue of the assessment essay prompt distribution.
This work explores different approaches of using normalization for parser adaptation. Traditionally, normalization is used as separate pre-processing step. We show that integrating the normalization model into the parsing algorithm is more beneficial. This way, multiple normalization candidates can be leveraged, which improves parsing performance on social media. We test this hypothesis by modifying the Berkeley parser; out-of-the-box it achieves an F1 score of 66.52. Our integrated approach reaches a significant improvement with an F1 score of 67.36, while using the best normalization sequence results in an F1 score of only 66.94.
Most state-of-the-art parsers take an approach to produce an analysis for any input despite errors. However, small grammatical mistakes in a sentence often cause parser to fail to build a correct syntactic tree. Applications that can identify and correct mistakes during parsing are particularly interesting for processing user-generated noisy content. Such systems potentially could take advantage of linguistic depth of broad-coverage precision grammars. In order to choose the best correction for an utterance, probabilities of parse trees of different sentences should be comparable which is not supported by discriminative methods underlying parsing software for processing deep grammars. In the present work we assess the treelet model for determining generative probabilities for HPSG parsing with error correction. In the first experiment the treelet model is applied to the parse selection task and shows superior exact match accuracy than the baseline and PCFG. In the second experiment it is tested for the ability to score the parse tree of the correct sentence higher than the constituency tree of the original version of the sentence containing grammatical error.
In the POS tagging task, there are two kinds of statistical models: one is generative model, such as the HMM, the others are discriminative models, such as the Maximum Entropy Model (MEM). POS multi-tagging decoding method includes the N-best paths method and forward-backward method. In this paper, we use the forward-backward decoding method based on a combined model of HMM and MEM. If P(t) is the forward-backward probability of each possible tag t, we first calculate P(t) according HMM and MEM separately. For all tags options in a certain position in a sentence, we normalize P(t) in HMM and MEM separately. Probability of the combined model is the sum of normalized forward-backward probabilities P norm(t) in HMM and MEM. For each word w, we select the best tag in which the probability of combined model is the highest. In the experiments, we use combined model and get higher accuracy than any single model on POS tagging tasks of three languages, which are Chinese, English and Dutch. The result indicates that our combined model is effective.
The computational linguistics community in The Netherlands and Belgium has long recognized the dire need for a major reference corpus of written Dutch. In part to answer this need, the STEVIN programme was established. To pave the way for the effective building of a 500-million-word reference corpus of written Dutch, a pilot project was established. The Dutch Corpus Initiative project or D-Coi was highly successful in that it not only realized about 10% of the projected large reference corpus, but also established the best practices and developed all the protocols and the necessary tools for building the larger corpus within the confines of a necessarily limited budget. We outline the steps involved in an endeavour of this kind, including the major highlights and possible pitfalls. Once converted to a suitable XML format, further linguistic annotation based on the state-of-the-art tools developed either before or during the pilot by the consortium partners proved easily and fruitfully applicable. Linguistic enrichment of the corpus includes PoS tagging, syntactic parsing and semantic annotation, involving both semantic role labeling and spatiotemporal annotation. D-Coi is expected to be followed by SoNaR, during which the 500-million-word reference corpus of Dutch should be built.
The construction of a 500-million-word reference corpus of written Dutch has been identified as one of the priorities in the Dutch/Flemish STEVIN programme. For part of this corpus, manually corrected syntactic annotations will be provided. The paper presents the background of the syntactic annotation efforts, the Alpino parser which is used as an important tool for constructing the syntactic annotations, as well as a number of other annotation tools and guidelines. For the full STEVIN corpus, automatically derived syntactic annotations will be provided in a later phase of the programme. A number of arguments is provided suggesting that such a resource can be very useful for applications in information extraction, ontology building, lexical acquisition, machine translation and corpus linguistics.
Natural language analysis systems which combine knowledge-based and corpus-based methods are now becoming accurate enough to be used in various applications. We describe one such parsing system for Dutch, known as Alpino, and we show how corpus-based methods are essential to obtain accurate knowledge-based parsers. In particular we show a variety of cases where large amounts of parser output are used to improve the parser.