Hao-Ran Wei


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Competency-Aware Neural Machine Translation: Can Machine Translation Know its Own Translation Quality?
Pei Zhang | Baosong Yang | Hao-Ran Wei | Dayiheng Liu | Kai Fan | Luo Si | Jun Xie
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Neural machine translation (NMT) is often criticized for failures that happenwithout awareness. The lack of competency awareness makes NMT untrustworthy. This is in sharp contrast to human translators who give feedback or conduct further investigations whenever they are in doubt about predictions. To fill this gap, we propose a novel competency-aware NMT by extending conventional NMT with a self-estimator, offering abilities to translate a source sentence and estimate its competency.The self-estimator encodes the information of the decoding procedure and then examines whether it can reconstruct the original semantics of the source sentence. Experimental results on four translation tasks demonstrate that the proposed method not only carries out translation tasks intact but also delivers outstanding performance on quality estimation.Without depending on any reference or annotated data typically required by state-of-the-art metric and quality estimation methods, our model yields an even higher correlation with human quality judgments than a variety of aforementioned methods, such as BLEURT, COMET, and BERTScore. Quantitative and qualitative analyses show better robustness of competency awareness in our model.


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Continual Learning for Neural Machine Translation
Yue Cao | Hao-Ran Wei | Boxing Chen | Xiaojun Wan
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Neural machine translation (NMT) models are data-driven and require large-scale training corpus. In practical applications, NMT models are usually trained on a general domain corpus and then fine-tuned by continuing training on the in-domain corpus. However, this bears the risk of catastrophic forgetting that the performance on the general domain is decreased drastically. In this work, we propose a new continual learning framework for NMT models. We consider a scenario where the training is comprised of multiple stages and propose a dynamic knowledge distillation technique to alleviate the problem of catastrophic forgetting systematically. We also find that the bias exists in the output linear projection when fine-tuning on the in-domain corpus, and propose a bias-correction module to eliminate the bias. We conduct experiments on three representative settings of NMT application. Experimental results show that the proposed method achieves superior performance compared to baseline models in all settings.


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Iterative Domain-Repaired Back-Translation
Hao-Ran Wei | Zhirui Zhang | Boxing Chen | Weihua Luo
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

In this paper, we focus on the domain-specific translation with low resources, where in-domain parallel corpora are scarce or nonexistent. One common and effective strategy for this case is exploiting in-domain monolingual data with the back-translation method. However, the synthetic parallel data is very noisy because they are generated by imperfect out-of-domain systems, resulting in the poor performance of domain adaptation. To address this issue, we propose a novel iterative domain-repaired back-translation framework, which introduces the Domain-Repair (DR) model to refine translations in synthetic bilingual data. To this end, we construct corresponding data for the DR model training by round-trip translating the monolingual sentences, and then design the unified training framework to optimize paired DR and NMT models jointly. Experiments on adapting NMT models between specific domains and from the general domain to specific domains demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach, achieving 15.79 and 4.47 BLEU improvements on average over unadapted models and back-translation.


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Online Distilling from Checkpoints for Neural Machine Translation
Hao-Ran Wei | Shujian Huang | Ran Wang | Xin-yu Dai | Jiajun Chen
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

Current predominant neural machine translation (NMT) models often have a deep structure with large amounts of parameters, making these models hard to train and easily suffering from over-fitting. A common practice is to utilize a validation set to evaluate the training process and select the best checkpoint. Average and ensemble techniques on checkpoints can lead to further performance improvement. However, as these methods do not affect the training process, the system performance is restricted to the checkpoints generated in original training procedure. In contrast, we propose an online knowledge distillation method. Our method on-the-fly generates a teacher model from checkpoints, guiding the training process to obtain better performance. Experiments on several datasets and language pairs show steady improvement over a strong self-attention-based baseline system. We also provide analysis on data-limited setting against over-fitting. Furthermore, our method leads to an improvement in a machine reading experiment as well.