Jian Lan


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Unifying Discrete and Continuous Representations for Unsupervised Paraphrase Generation
Mingfeng Xue | Dayiheng Liu | Wenqiang Lei | Jie Fu | Jian Lan | Mei Li | Baosong Yang | Jun Xie | Yidan Zhang | Dezhong Peng | Jiancheng Lv
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Unsupervised paraphrase generation is a challenging task that benefits a variety of downstream NLP applications. Current unsupervised methods for paraphrase generation typically employ round-trip translation or denoising, which require translation corpus and result in paraphrases overly similar to the original sentences in surface structure. Most of these methods lack explicit control over the similarity between the original and generated sentences, and the entities are also less correctly kept. To obviate the reliance on translation data and prompt greater variations in surface structure, we propose a self-supervised pseudo-data construction method that generates diverse pseudo-paraphrases in distinct surface structures for a given sentence. To control the similarity and generate accurate entities, we propose an unsupervised paraphrasing model that encodes the sentence meaning and the entities with discrete and continuous variables, respectively. The similarity can be controlled by sampling discrete variables and the entities are kept substantially accurate due to the specific modeling of entities using continuous variables. Experimental results on two benchmark datasets demonstrate the advantages of our pseudo-data construction method compared to round-trip translation, and the superiority of our paraphrasing model over the state-of-the-art unsupervised methods.