Continual Language Learning (CLL) in multilingual translation is inevitable when new languages are required to be translated. Due to the lack of unified and generalized benchmarks, the evaluation of existing methods is greatly influenced by experimental design which usually has a big gap from the industrial demands. In this work, we propose the first Continual Language Learning Evaluation benchmark CLLE in multilingual translation. CLLE consists of a Chinese-centric corpus — CN-25 and two CLL tasks — the close-distance language continual learning task and the language family continual learning task designed for real and disparate demands. Different from existing translation benchmarks, CLLE considers several restrictions for CLL, including domain distribution alignment, content overlap, language diversity, and the balance of corpus. Furthermore, we propose a novel framework COMETA based on Constrained Optimization and META-learning to alleviate catastrophic forgetting and dependency on history training data by using a meta-model to retain the important parameters for old languages. Our experiments prove that CLLE is a challenging CLL benchmark and that our proposed method is effective when compared with other strong baselines. Due to the construction of the corpus, the task designing and the evaluation method are independent of the centric language, we also construct and release the English-centric corpus EN-25 to facilitate academic research.
Dense retrievers encode queries and documents and map them in an embedding space using pre-trained language models. These embeddings need to be high-dimensional to fit training signals and guarantee the retrieval effectiveness of dense retrievers. However, these high-dimensional embeddings lead to larger index storage and higher retrieval latency. To reduce the embedding dimensions of dense retrieval, this paper proposes a Conditional Autoencoder (ConAE) to compress the high-dimensional embeddings to maintain the same embedding distribution and better recover the ranking features. Our experiments show that ConAE is effective in compressing embeddings by achieving comparable ranking performance with its teacher model and making the retrieval system more efficient. Our further analyses show that ConAE can alleviate the redundancy of the embeddings of dense retrieval with only one linear layer. All codes of this work are available at https://github.com/NEUIR/ConAE.
Coarse-grained linguistic information, such as named entities or phrases, facilitates adequately representation learning in pre-training. Previous works mainly focus on extending the objective of BERT’s Masked Language Modeling (MLM) from masking individual tokens to contiguous sequences of n tokens. We argue that such contiguously masking method neglects to model the intra-dependencies and inter-relation of coarse-grained linguistic information. As an alternative, we propose ERNIE-Gram, an explicitly n-gram masking method to enhance the integration of coarse-grained information into pre-training. In ERNIE-Gram, n-grams are masked and predicted directly using explicit n-gram identities rather than contiguous sequences of n tokens. Furthermore, ERNIE-Gram employs a generator model to sample plausible n-gram identities as optional n-gram masks and predict them in both coarse-grained and fine-grained manners to enable comprehensive n-gram prediction and relation modeling. We pre-train ERNIE-Gram on English and Chinese text corpora and fine-tune on 19 downstream tasks. Experimental results show that ERNIE-Gram outperforms previous pre-training models like XLNet and RoBERTa by a large margin, and achieves comparable results with state-of-the-art methods. The source codes and pre-trained models have been released at https://github.com/PaddlePaddle/ERNIE.
Grapheme-to-phoneme conversion (g2p) is the task of predicting the pronunciation of words from their orthographic representation. His- torically, g2p systems were transition- or rule- based, making generalization beyond a mono- lingual (high resource) domain impractical. Recently, neural architectures have enabled multilingual systems to generalize widely; however, all systems to date have been trained only on spelling-pronunciation pairs. We hy- pothesize that the sequences of IPA characters used to represent pronunciation do not capture its full nuance, especially when cleaned to fa- cilitate machine learning. We leverage audio data as an auxiliary modality in a multi-task training process to learn a more optimal inter- mediate representation of source graphemes; this is the first multimodal model proposed for multilingual g2p. Our approach is highly ef- fective: on our in-domain test set, our mul- timodal model reduces phoneme error rate to 2.46%, a more than 65% decrease compared to our implementation of a unimodal spelling- pronunciation model—which itself achieves state-of-the-art results on the Wiktionary test set. The advantages of the multimodal model generalize to wholly unseen languages, reduc- ing phoneme error rate on our out-of-domain test set to 6.39% from the unimodal 8.21%, a more than 20% relative decrease. Further- more, our training and test sets are composed primarily of low-resource languages, demon- strating that our multimodal approach remains useful when training data are constrained.
Reinforcement learning (RL) is an attractive solution for task-oriented dialog systems. However, extending RL-based systems to handle new intents and slots requires a system redesign. The high maintenance cost makes it difficult to apply RL methods to practical systems on a large scale. To address this issue, we propose a practical teacher-student framework to extend RL-based dialog systems without retraining from scratch. Specifically, the “student” is an extended dialog manager based on a new ontology, and the “teacher” is existing resources used for guiding the learning process of the “student”. By specifying constraints held in the new dialog manager, we transfer knowledge of the “teacher” to the “student” without additional resources. Experiments show that the performance of the extended system is comparable to the system trained from scratch. More importantly, the proposed framework makes no assumption about the unsupported intents and slots, which makes it possible to improve RL-based systems incrementally.