Jonathan May


2024

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Can Language Model Moderators Improve the Health of Online Discourse?
Hyundong Cho | Shuai Liu | Taiwei Shi | Darpan Jain | Basem Rizk | Yuyang Huang | Zixun Lu | Nuan Wen | Jonathan Gratch | Emilio Ferrara | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2024 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Conversational moderation of online communities is crucial to maintaining civility for a constructive environment, but it is challenging to scale and harmful to moderators. The inclusion of sophisticated natural language generation modules as a force multiplier to aid human moderators is a tantalizing prospect, but adequate evaluation approaches have so far been elusive. In this paper, we establish a systematic definition of conversational moderation effectiveness grounded on moderation literature and establish design criteria for conducting realistic yet safe evaluation. We then propose a comprehensive evaluation framework to assess models’ moderation capabilities independently of human intervention. With our framework, we conduct the first known study of language models as conversational moderators, finding that appropriately prompted models that incorporate insights from social science can provide specific and fair feedback on toxic behavior but struggle to influence users to increase their levels of respect and cooperation.

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Leitner-Guided Memory Replay for Cross-lingual Continual Learning
Meryem M’hamdi | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2024 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Cross-lingual continual learning aims to continuously fine-tune a downstream model on emerging data from new languages. One major challenge in cross-lingual continual learning is catastrophic forgetting: a stability-plasticity dilemma, where performance on previously seen languages decreases as the model learns to transfer to new languages. Experience replay, which revisits data from a fixed-size memory of old languages while training on new ones, is among the most successful approaches for solving this dilemma. Faced with the challenge of dynamically storing the memory with high-quality examples while complying with its fixed size limitations, we consider Leitner queuing, a human-inspired spaced-repetition technique, to determine what should be replayed at each phase of learning. Via a controlled set of quantitative and qualitative analyses across different memory strategies, we show that, just like humans, carefully picking informative examples to be prioritized in cross-lingual memory replay helps tame the stability-plasticity dilemma. Compared to vanilla and strong memory replay baselines, our Leitner-guided approach significantly and consistently decreases forgetting while maintaining accuracy across natural language understanding tasks, language orders, and languages.

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LegalDiscourse: Interpreting When Laws Apply and To Whom
Alexander Spangher | Zihan Xue | Te-Lin Wu | Mark Hansen | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2024 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies (Volume 1: Long Papers)

While legal AI has made strides in recent years, it still struggles with basic legal concepts: _when_ does a law apply? _Who_ does it applies to? _What_ does it do? We take a _discourse_ approach to addressing these problems and introduce a novel taxonomy for span-and-relation parsing of legal texts. We create a dataset, _LegalDiscourse_ of 602 state-level law paragraphs consisting of 3,715 discourse spans and 1,671 relations. Our trained annotators have an agreement-rate 𝜅>.8, yet few-shot GPT3.5 performs poorly at span identification and relation classification. Although fine-tuning improves performance, GPT3.5 still lags far below human level. We demonstrate the usefulness of our schema by creating a web application with journalists. We collect over 100,000 laws for 52 U.S. states and territories using 20 scrapers we built, and apply our trained models to 6,000 laws using U.S. Census population numbers. We describe two journalistic outputs stemming from this application: (1) an investigation into the increase in liquor licenses following population growth and (2) a decrease in applicable laws under different under-count projections.

2023

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Bridging the Gap between Native Text and Translated Text through Adversarial Learning: A Case Study on Cross-Lingual Event Extraction
Pengfei Yu | Jonathan May | Heng Ji
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

Recent research in cross-lingual learning has found that combining large-scale pretrained multilingual language models with machine translation can yield good performance. We explore this idea for cross-lingual event extraction with a new model architecture that jointly encodes a source language input sentence with its translation to the target language during training, and takes a target language sentence with its translation back to the source language as input during evaluation. However, we observe significant representational gap between the native source language texts during training and the texts translated into source language during evaluation, as well as the texts translated into target language during training and the native target language texts during evaluation. This representational gap undermines the effectiveness of cross-lingual transfer learning for event extraction with machine-translated data. In order to mitigate this problem, we propose an adversarial training framework that encourages the language model to produce more similar representations for the translated text and the native text. To be specific, we train the language model such that its hidden representations are able to fool a jointly trained discriminator that distinguishes translated texts’ representations from native texts’ representations. We conduct experiments on cross-lingual for event extraction across three languages. Results demonstrate that our proposed adversarial training can effectively incorporate machine translation to improve event extraction, while simply adding machine-translated data yields unstable performance due to the representational gap.

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Know Where You’re Going: Meta-Learning for Parameter-Efficient Fine-Tuning
Mozhdeh Gheini | Xuezhe Ma | Jonathan May
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

A recent family of techniques, dubbed lightweight fine-tuning methods, facilitates parameter-efficient transfer by updating only a small set of additional parameters while keeping the parameters of the original model frozen. While proven to be an effective approach, there are no existing studies on if and how such knowledge of the downstream fine-tuning approach calls for complementary measures after pre-training and before fine-tuning. In this work, we show that taking the ultimate choice of fine-tuning into consideration boosts the performance of parameter-efficient fine-tuning. By relying on optimization-based meta-learning using MAML with certain modifications for our distinct purpose, we prime the pre-trained model specifically for parameter-efficient fine-tuning, resulting in gains of up to 4.96 points on cross-lingual NER fine-tuning. Our ablation settings and analyses further reveal that the specific approach we take to meta-learning is crucial for the attained gains.

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Analyzing Norm Violations in Live-Stream Chat
Jihyung Moon | Dong-Ho Lee | Hyundong Cho | Woojeong Jin | Chan Park | Minwoo Kim | Jonathan May | Jay Pujara | Sungjoon Park
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Toxic language, such as hate speech, can deter users from participating in online communities and enjoying popular platforms. Previous approaches to detecting toxic language and norm violations have been primarily concerned with conversations from online forums and social media, such as Reddit and Twitter. These approaches are less effective when applied to conversations on live-streaming platforms, such as Twitch and YouTube Live, as each comment is only visible for a limited time and lacks a thread structure that establishes its relationship with other comments. In this work, we share the first NLP study dedicated to detecting norm violations in conversations on live-streaming platforms. We define norm violation categories in live-stream chats and annotate 4,583 moderated comments from Twitch. We articulate several facets of live-stream data that differ from other forums, and demonstrate that existing models perform poorly in this setting. By conducting a user study, we identify the informational context humans use in live-stream moderation, and train models leveraging context to identify norm violations. Our results show that appropriate contextual information can boost moderation performance by 35%.

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Identifying Informational Sources in News Articles
Alexander Spangher | Nanyun Peng | Emilio Ferrara | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

News articles are driven by the informational sources journalists use in reporting. Modeling when, how and why sources get used together in stories can help us better understand the information we consume and even help journalists with the task of producing it. In this work, we take steps toward this goal by constructing the largest and widest-ranging annotated dataset, to date, of informational sources used in news writing. We first show that our dataset can be used to train high-performing models for information detection and source attribution. Then, we introduce a novel task, source prediction, to study the compositionality of sources in news articles – i.e. how they are chosen to complement each other. We show good modeling performance on this task, indicating that there is a pattern to the way different sources are used together in news storytelling. This insight opens the door for a focus on sources in narrative science (i.e. planning-based language generation) and computational journalism (i.e. a source-recommendation system to aid journalists writing stories). All data and model code can be found at https://github.com/alex2awesome/source-exploration.

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Continual Dialogue State Tracking via Example-Guided Question Answering
Hyundong Cho | Andrea Madotto | Zhaojiang Lin | Khyathi Chandu | Satwik Kottur | Jing Xu | Jonathan May | Chinnadhurai Sankar
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Dialogue systems are frequently updated to accommodate new services, but naively updating them by continually training with data for new services in diminishing performance on previously learnt services. Motivated by the insight that dialogue state tracking (DST), a crucial component of dialogue systems that estimates the user’s goal as a conversation proceeds, is a simple natural language understanding task, we propose reformulating it as a bundle of granular example-guided question answering tasks to minimize the task shift between services and thus benefit continual learning. Our approach alleviates service-specific memorization and teaches a model to contextualize the given question and example to extract the necessary information from the conversation. We find that a model with just 60M parameters can achieve a significant boost by learning to learn from in-context examples retrieved by a retriever trained to identify turns with similar dialogue state changes. Combining our method with dialogue-level memory replay, our approach attains state of the art performance on DST continual learning metrics without relying on any complex regularization or parameter expansion methods.

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Challenges in Context-Aware Neural Machine Translation
Linghao Jin | Jacqueline He | Jonathan May | Xuezhe Ma
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Context-aware neural machine translation, a paradigm that involves leveraging information beyond sentence-level context to resolve inter-sentential discourse dependencies and improve document-level translation quality, has given rise to a number of recent techniques. However, despite well-reasoned intuitions, most context-aware translation models show only modest improvements over sentence-level systems. In this work, we investigate and present several core challenges that impede progress within the field, relating to discourse phenomena, context usage, model architectures, and document-level evaluation. To address these problems, we propose a more realistic setting for document-level translation, called paragraph-to-paragraph (PARA2PARA) translation, and collect a new dataset of Chinese-English novels to promote future research.

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Cross-lingual Continual Learning
Meryem M’hamdi | Xiang Ren | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The longstanding goal of multi-lingual learning has been to develop a universal cross-lingual model that can withstand the changes in multi-lingual data distributions. There has been a large amount of work to adapt such multi-lingual models to unseen target languages. However, the majority of work in this direction focuses on the standard one-hop transfer learning pipeline from source to target languages, whereas in realistic scenarios, new languages can be incorporated at any time in a sequential manner. In this paper, we present a principled Cross-lingual Continual Learning (CCL) evaluation paradigm, where we analyze different categories of approaches used to continually adapt to emerging data from different languages. We provide insights into what makes multilingual sequential learning particularly challenging. To surmount such challenges, we benchmark a representative set of cross-lingual continual learning algorithms and analyze their knowledge preservation, accumulation, and generalization capabilities compared to baselines on carefully curated datastreams. The implications of this analysis include a recipe for how to measure and balance different cross-lingual continual learning desiderata, which go beyond conventional transfer learning.

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RECAP: Retrieval-Enhanced Context-Aware Prefix Encoder for Personalized Dialogue Response Generation
Shuai Liu | Hyundong Cho | Marjorie Freedman | Xuezhe Ma | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Endowing chatbots with a consistent persona is essential to an engaging conversation, yet it remains an unresolved challenge. In this work, we propose a new retrieval-enhanced approach for personalized response generation. Specifically, we design a hierarchical transformer retriever trained on dialogue domain data to perform personalized retrieval and a context-aware prefix encoder that fuses the retrieved information to the decoder more effectively. Extensive experiments on a real-world dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of our model at generating more fluent and personalized responses. We quantitatively evaluate our model’s performance under a suite of human and automatic metrics and find it to be superior compared to state-of-the-art baselines on English Reddit conversations.

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WinoQueer: A Community-in-the-Loop Benchmark for Anti-LGBTQ+ Bias in Large Language Models
Virginia Felkner | Ho-Chun Herbert Chang | Eugene Jang | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present WinoQueer: a benchmark specifically designed to measure whether large language models (LLMs) encode biases that are harmful to the LGBTQ+ community. The benchmark is community-sourced, via application of a novel method that generates a bias benchmark from a community survey. We apply our benchmark to several popular LLMs and find that off-the-shelf models generally do exhibit considerable anti-queer bias. Finally, we show that LLM bias against a marginalized community can be somewhat mitigated by finetuning on data written about or by members of that community, and that social media text written by community members is more effective than news text written about the community by non-members. Our method for community-in-the-loop benchmark development provides a blueprint for future researchers to develop community-driven, harms-grounded LLM benchmarks for other marginalized communities.

2022

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Building an Event Extractor with Only a Few Examples
Pengfei Yu | Zixuan Zhang | Clare Voss | Jonathan May | Heng Ji
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Deep Learning for Low-Resource Natural Language Processing

Supervised event extraction models require a substantial amount of training data to perform well. However, event annotation requires a lot of human effort and costs much time, which limits the application of existing supervised approaches to new event types. In order to reduce manual labor and shorten the time to build an event extraction system for an arbitrary event ontology, we present a new framework to train such systems much more efficiently without large annotations. Our event trigger labeling model uses a weak supervision approach, which only requires a set of keywords, a small number of examples and an unlabeled corpus, on which our approach automatically collects weakly supervised annotations. Our argument role labeling component performs zero-shot learning, which only requires the names of the argument roles of new event types. The source codes of our event trigger detection1 and event argument extraction2 models are publicly available for research purposes. We also release a dockerized system connecting the two models into an unified event extraction pipeline.

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Segmenting Numerical Substitution Ciphers
Nada Aldarrab | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Deciphering historical substitution ciphers is a challenging problem. Example problems that have been previously studied include detecting cipher type, detecting plaintext language, and acquiring the substitution key for segmented ciphers. However, attacking unsegmented ciphers is still a challenging task. Segmentation (i.e. finding substitution units) is essential for cracking those ciphers. In this work, we propose the first automatic methods to segment those ciphers using Byte Pair Encoding (BPE) and unigram language models. Our methods achieve an average segmentation error of 2% on 100 randomly-generated monoalphabetic ciphers and 27% on 3 real historical homophonic ciphers. We also propose a method for solving non-deterministic ciphers with existing keys using a lattice and a pretrained language model. Our method leads to the full solution of the IA cipher; a real historical cipher that has not been fully solved until this work.

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Machine Translation Robustness to Natural Asemantic Variation
Jacob Bremerman | Xiang Ren | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Current Machine Translation (MT) models still struggle with more challenging input, such as noisy data and tail-end words and phrases. Several works have addressed this robustness issue by identifying specific categories of noise and variation then tuning models to perform better on them. An important yet under-studied category involves minor variations in nuance (non-typos) that preserve meaning w.r.t. the target language. We introduce and formalize this category as Natural Asemantic Variation (NAV) and investigate it in the context of MT robustness. We find that existing MT models fail when presented with NAV data, but we demonstrate strategies to improve performance on NAV by fine-tuning them with human-generated variations. We also show that NAV robustness can be transferred across languages and find that synthetic perturbations can achieve some but not all of the benefits of organic NAV data.

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Opponent Modeling in Negotiation Dialogues by Related Data Adaptation
Kushal Chawla | Gale Lucas | Jonathan May | Jonathan Gratch
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Opponent modeling is the task of inferring another party’s mental state within the context of social interactions. In a multi-issue negotiation, it involves inferring the relative importance that the opponent assigns to each issue under discussion, which is crucial for finding high-value deals. A practical model for this task needs to infer these priorities of the opponent on the fly based on partial dialogues as input, without needing additional annotations for training. In this work, we propose a ranker for identifying these priorities from negotiation dialogues. The model takes in a partial dialogue as input and predicts the priority order of the opponent. We further devise ways to adapt related data sources for this task to provide more explicit supervision for incorporating the opponent’s preferences and offers, as a proxy to relying on granular utterance-level annotations. We show the utility of our proposed approach through extensive experiments based on two dialogue datasets. We find that the proposed data adaptations lead to strong performance in zero-shot and few-shot scenarios. Moreover, they allow the model to perform better than baselines while accessing fewer utterances from the opponent. We release our code to support future work in this direction.

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Know Thy Strengths: Comprehensive Dialogue State Tracking Diagnostics
Hyundong Cho | Chinnadhurai Sankar | Christopher Lin | Kaushik Ram Sadagopan | Shahin Shayandeh | Asli Celikyilmaz | Jonathan May | Ahmad Beirami
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Recent works that revealed the vulnerability of dialogue state tracking (DST) models to distributional shifts have made holistic comparisons on robustness and qualitative analyses increasingly important for understanding their relative performance. We present our findings from standardized and comprehensive DST diagnoses, which have previously been sparse and uncoordinated, using our toolkit, CheckDST, a collection of robustness tests and failure mode analytics. We discover that different classes of DST models have clear strengths and weaknesses, where generation models are more promising for handling language variety while span-based classification models are more robust to unseen entities. Prompted by this discovery, we also compare checkpoints from the same model and find that the standard practice of selecting checkpoints using validation loss/accuracy is prone to overfitting and each model class has distinct patterns of failure. Lastly, we demonstrate how our diagnoses motivate a pre-finetuning procedure with non-dialogue data that offers comprehensive improvements to generation models by alleviating the impact of distributional shifts through transfer learning.

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Investigating the Benefits of Free-Form Rationales
Jiao Sun | Swabha Swayamdipta | Jonathan May | Xuezhe Ma
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Free-form rationales aim to aid model interpretability by supplying the background knowledge that can help understand model decisions. Crowdsourced rationales are provided for commonsense QA instances in popular datasets such as CoS-E and ECQA, but their utility remains under-investigated. We present human studies which show that ECQA rationales indeed provide additional background information to understand a decision, while over 88% of CoS-E rationales do not. Inspired by this finding, we ask: can the additional context provided by free-form rationales benefit models, similar to human users? We investigate the utility of rationales as an additional source of supervision, by varying the quantity and quality of rationales during training. After controlling for instances where rationales leak the correct answer while not providing additional background knowledge, we find that incorporating only 5% of rationales during training can boost model performance by 47.22% for CoS-E and 57.14% for ECQA during inference. Moreover, we also show that rationale quality matters: compared to crowdsourced rationales, T5-generated rationales provide not only weaker supervision to models, but are also not helpful for humans in aiding model interpretability.

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NewsEdits: A News Article Revision Dataset and a Novel Document-Level Reasoning Challenge
Alexander Spangher | Xiang Ren | Jonathan May | Nanyun Peng
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

News article revision histories provide clues to narrative and factual evolution in news articles. To facilitate analysis of this evolution, we present the first publicly available dataset of news revision histories, NewsEdits. Our dataset is large-scale and multilingual; it contains 1.2 million articles with 4.6 million versions from over 22 English- and French-language newspaper sources based in three countries, spanning 15 years of coverage (2006-2021).We define article-level edit actions: Addition, Deletion, Edit and Refactor, and develop a high-accuracy extraction algorithm to identify these actions. To underscore the factual nature of many edit actions, we conduct analyses showing that added and deleted sentences are more likely to contain updating events, main content and quotes than unchanged sentences. Finally, to explore whether edit actions are predictable, we introduce three novel tasks aimed at predicting actions performed during version updates. We show that these tasks are possible for expert humans but are challenging for large NLP models. We hope this can spur research in narrative framing and help provide predictive tools for journalists chasing breaking news.

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Augmenting Training Data for Massive Semantic Matching Models in Low-Traffic E-commerce Stores
Ashutosh Joshi | Shankar Vishwanath | Choon Teo | Vaclav Petricek | Vishy Vishwanathan | Rahul Bhagat | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Industry Track

Extreme multi-label classification (XMC) systems have been successfully applied in e-commerce (Shen et al., 2020; Dahiya et al., 2021) for retrieving products based on customer behavior. Such systems require large amounts of customer behavior data (e.g. queries, clicks, purchases) for training. However, behavioral data is limited in low-traffic e-commerce stores, impacting performance of these systems. In this paper, we present a technique that augments behavioral training data via query reformulation. We use the Aggregated Label eXtreme Multi-label Classification (AL-XMC) system (Shen et al., 2020) as an example semantic matching model and show via crowd-sourced human judgments that, when the training data is augmented through query reformulations, the quality of AL-XMC improves over a baseline that does not use query reformulation. We also show in online A/B tests that our method significantly improves business metrics for the AL-XMC model.

2021

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Summary-Oriented Question Generation for Informational Queries
Xusen Yin | Li Zhou | Kevin Small | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Document-grounded Dialogue and Conversational Question Answering (DialDoc 2021)

Users frequently ask simple factoid questions for question answering (QA) systems, attenuating the impact of myriad recent works that support more complex questions. Prompting users with automatically generated suggested questions (SQs) can improve user understanding of QA system capabilities and thus facilitate more effective use. We aim to produce self-explanatory questions that focus on main document topics and are answerable with variable length passages as appropriate. We satisfy these requirements by using a BERT-based Pointer-Generator Network trained on the Natural Questions (NQ) dataset. Our model shows SOTA performance of SQ generation on the NQ dataset (20.1 BLEU-4). We further apply our model on out-of-domain news articles, evaluating with a QA system due to the lack of gold questions and demonstrate that our model produces better SQs for news articles – with further confirmation via a human evaluation.

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Macro-Average: Rare Types Are Important Too
Thamme Gowda | Weiqiu You | Constantine Lignos | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

While traditional corpus-level evaluation metrics for machine translation (MT) correlate well with fluency, they struggle to reflect adequacy. Model-based MT metrics trained on segment-level human judgments have emerged as an attractive replacement due to strong correlation results. These models, however, require potentially expensive re-training for new domains and languages. Furthermore, their decisions are inherently non-transparent and appear to reflect unwelcome biases. We explore the simple type-based classifier metric, MacroF1, and study its applicability to MT evaluation. We find that MacroF1 is competitive on direct assessment, and outperforms others in indicating downstream cross-lingual information retrieval task performance. Further, we show that MacroF1 can be used to effectively compare supervised and unsupervised neural machine translation, and reveal significant qualitative differences in the methods’ outputs.

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CaSiNo: A Corpus of Campsite Negotiation Dialogues for Automatic Negotiation Systems
Kushal Chawla | Jaysa Ramirez | Rene Clever | Gale Lucas | Jonathan May | Jonathan Gratch
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Automated systems that negotiate with humans have broad applications in pedagogy and conversational AI. To advance the development of practical negotiation systems, we present CaSiNo: a novel corpus of over a thousand negotiation dialogues in English. Participants take the role of campsite neighbors and negotiate for food, water, and firewood packages for their upcoming trip. Our design results in diverse and linguistically rich negotiations while maintaining a tractable, closed-domain environment. Inspired by the literature in human-human negotiations, we annotate persuasion strategies and perform correlation analysis to understand how the dialogue behaviors are associated with the negotiation performance. We further propose and evaluate a multi-task framework to recognize these strategies in a given utterance. We find that multi-task learning substantially improves the performance for all strategy labels, especially for the ones that are the most skewed. We release the dataset, annotations, and the code to propel future work in human-machine negotiations: https://github.com/kushalchawla/CaSiNo

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X-METRA-ADA: Cross-lingual Meta-Transfer learning Adaptation to Natural Language Understanding and Question Answering
Meryem M’hamdi | Doo Soon Kim | Franck Dernoncourt | Trung Bui | Xiang Ren | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Multilingual models, such as M-BERT and XLM-R, have gained increasing popularity, due to their zero-shot cross-lingual transfer learning capabilities. However, their generalization ability is still inconsistent for typologically diverse languages and across different benchmarks. Recently, meta-learning has garnered attention as a promising technique for enhancing transfer learning under low-resource scenarios: particularly for cross-lingual transfer in Natural Language Understanding (NLU). In this work, we propose X-METRA-ADA, a cross-lingual MEta-TRAnsfer learning ADAptation approach for NLU. Our approach adapts MAML, an optimization-based meta-learning approach, to learn to adapt to new languages. We extensively evaluate our framework on two challenging cross-lingual NLU tasks: multilingual task-oriented dialog and typologically diverse question answering. We show that our approach outperforms naive fine-tuning, reaching competitive performance on both tasks for most languages. Our analysis reveals that X-METRA-ADA can leverage limited data for faster adaptation.

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WARP: Word-level Adversarial ReProgramming
Karen Hambardzumyan | Hrant Khachatrian | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Transfer learning from pretrained language models recently became the dominant approach for solving many NLP tasks. A common approach to transfer learning for multiple tasks that maximize parameter sharing trains one or more task-specific layers on top of the language model. In this paper, we present an alternative approach based on adversarial reprogramming, which extends earlier work on automatic prompt generation. Adversarial reprogramming attempts to learn task-specific word embeddings that, when concatenated to the input text, instruct the language model to solve the specified task. Using up to 25K trainable parameters per task, this approach outperforms all existing methods with up to 25M trainable parameters on the public leaderboard of the GLUE benchmark. Our method, initialized with task-specific human-readable prompts, also works in a few-shot setting, outperforming GPT-3 on two SuperGLUE tasks with just 32 training samples.

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Can Sequence-to-Sequence Models Crack Substitution Ciphers?
Nada Aldarrab | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Decipherment of historical ciphers is a challenging problem. The language of the target plaintext might be unknown, and ciphertext can have a lot of noise. State-of-the-art decipherment methods use beam search and a neural language model to score candidate plaintext hypotheses for a given cipher, assuming the plaintext language is known. We propose an end-to-end multilingual model for solving simple substitution ciphers. We test our model on synthetic and real historical ciphers and show that our proposed method can decipher text without explicit language identification while still being robust to noise.

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Many-to-English Machine Translation Tools, Data, and Pretrained Models
Thamme Gowda | Zhao Zhang | Chris Mattmann | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

While there are more than 7000 languages in the world, most translation research efforts have targeted a few high resource languages. Commercial translation systems support only one hundred languages or fewer, and do not make these models available for transfer to low resource languages. In this work, we present useful tools for machine translation research: MTData, NLCodec and RTG. We demonstrate their usefulness by creating a multilingual neural machine translation model capable of translating from 500 source languages to English. We make this multilingual model readily downloadable and usable as a service, or as a parent model for transfer-learning to even lower-resource languages.

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Multitask Semi-Supervised Learning for Class-Imbalanced Discourse Classification
Alexander Spangher | Jonathan May | Sz-Rung Shiang | Lingjia Deng
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

As labeling schemas evolve over time, small differences can render datasets following older schemas unusable. This prevents researchers from building on top of previous annotation work and results in the existence, in discourse learning in particular, of many small class-imbalanced datasets. In this work, we show that a multitask learning approach can combine discourse datasets from similar and diverse domains to improve discourse classification. We show an improvement of 4.9% Micro F1-score over current state-of-the-art benchmarks on the NewsDiscourse dataset, one of the largest discourse datasets recently published, due in part to label correlations across tasks, which improve performance for underrepresented classes. We also offer an extensive review of additional techniques proposed to address resource-poor problems in NLP, and show that none of these approaches can improve classification accuracy in our setting.

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Salience-Aware Event Chain Modeling for Narrative Understanding
Xiyang Zhang | Muhao Chen | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Storytelling, whether via fables, news reports, documentaries, or memoirs, can be thought of as the communication of interesting and related events that, taken together, form a concrete process. It is desirable to extract the event chains that represent such processes. However, this extraction remains a challenging problem. We posit that this is due to the nature of the texts from which chains are discovered. Natural language text interleaves a narrative of concrete, salient events with background information, contextualization, opinion, and other elements that are important for a variety of necessary discourse and pragmatics acts but are not part of the principal chain of events being communicated. We introduce methods for extracting this principal chain from natural language text, by filtering away non-salient events and supportive sentences. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our methods at isolating critical event chains by comparing their effect on downstream tasks. We show that by pre-training large language models on our extracted chains, we obtain improvements in two tasks that benefit from a clear understanding of event chains: narrative prediction and event-based temporal question answering. The demonstrated improvements and ablative studies confirm that our extraction method isolates critical event chains.

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Cross-Attention is All You Need: Adapting Pretrained Transformers for Machine Translation
Mozhdeh Gheini | Xiang Ren | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We study the power of cross-attention in the Transformer architecture within the context of transfer learning for machine translation, and extend the findings of studies into cross-attention when training from scratch. We conduct a series of experiments through fine-tuning a translation model on data where either the source or target language has changed. These experiments reveal that fine-tuning only the cross-attention parameters is nearly as effective as fine-tuning all parameters (i.e., the entire translation model). We provide insights into why this is the case and observe that limiting fine-tuning in this manner yields cross-lingually aligned embeddings. The implications of this finding for researchers and practitioners include a mitigation of catastrophic forgetting, the potential for zero-shot translation, and the ability to extend machine translation models to several new language pairs with reduced parameter storage overhead.

2020

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Learning to Generalize for Sequential Decision Making
Xusen Yin | Ralph Weischedel | Jonathan May
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

We consider problems of making sequences of decisions to accomplish tasks, interacting via the medium of language. These problems are often tackled with reinforcement learning approaches. We find that these models do not generalize well when applied to novel task domains. However, the large amount of computation necessary to adequately train and explore the search space of sequential decision making, under a reinforcement learning paradigm, precludes the inclusion of large contextualized language models, which might otherwise enable the desired generalization ability. We introduce a teacher-student imitation learning methodology and a means of converting a reinforcement learning model into a natural language understanding model. Together, these methodologies enable the introduction of contextualized language models into the sequential decision making problem space. We show that models can learn faster and generalize more, leveraging both the imitation learning and the reformulation. Our models exceed teacher performance on various held-out decision problems, by up to 7% on in-domain problems and 24% on out-of-domain problems.

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Finding the Optimal Vocabulary Size for Neural Machine Translation
Thamme Gowda | Jonathan May
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

We cast neural machine translation (NMT) as a classification task in an autoregressive setting and analyze the limitations of both classification and autoregression components. Classifiers are known to perform better with balanced class distributions during training. Since the Zipfian nature of languages causes imbalanced classes, we explore its effect on NMT. We analyze the effect of various vocabulary sizes on NMT performance on multiple languages with many data sizes, and reveal an explanation for why certain vocabulary sizes are better than others.

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Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Semantic Evaluation
Aurelie Herbelot | Xiaodan Zhu | Alexis Palmer | Nathan Schneider | Jonathan May | Ekaterina Shutova
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

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Cross-lingual Structure Transfer for Zero-resource Event Extraction
Di Lu | Ananya Subburathinam | Heng Ji | Jonathan May | Shih-Fu Chang | Avi Sil | Clare Voss
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Most of the current cross-lingual transfer learning methods for Information Extraction (IE) have been only applied to name tagging. To tackle more complex tasks such as event extraction we need to transfer graph structures (event trigger linked to multiple arguments with various roles) across languages. We develop a novel share-and-transfer framework to reach this goal with three steps: (1) Convert each sentence in any language to language-universal graph structures; in this paper we explore two approaches based on universal dependency parses and complete graphs, respectively. (2) Represent each node in the graph structure with a cross-lingual word embedding so that all sentences in multiple languages can be represented with one shared semantic space. (3) Using this common semantic space, train event extractors from English training data and apply them to languages that do not have any event annotations. Experimental results on three languages (Spanish, Russian and Ukrainian) without any annotations show this framework achieves comparable performance to a state-of-the-art supervised model trained from more than 1,500 manually annotated event mentions.

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Grounding Conversations with Improvised Dialogues
Hyundong Cho | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Effective dialogue involves grounding, the process of establishing mutual knowledge that is essential for communication between people. Modern dialogue systems are not explicitly trained to build common ground, and therefore overlook this important aspect of communication. Improvisational theater (improv) intrinsically contains a high proportion of dialogue focused on building common ground, and makes use of the yes-and principle, a strong grounding speech act, to establish coherence and an actionable objective reality. We collect a corpus of more than 26,000 yes-and turns, transcribing them from improv dialogues and extracting them from larger, but more sparsely populated movie script dialogue corpora, via a bootstrapped classifier. We fine-tune chit-chat dialogue systems with our corpus to encourage more grounded, relevant conversation and confirm these findings with human evaluations.

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Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on NLP for COVID-19 at ACL 2020
Karin Verspoor | Kevin Bretonnel Cohen | Mark Dredze | Emilio Ferrara | Jonathan May | Robert Munro | Cecile Paris | Byron Wallace
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on NLP for COVID-19 at ACL 2020

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Enabling Low-Resource Transfer Learning across COVID-19 Corpora by Combining Event-Extraction and Co-Training
Alexander Spangher | Nanyun Peng | Jonathan May | Emilio Ferrara
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on NLP for COVID-19 at ACL 2020

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Connecting the Dots: Event Graph Schema Induction with Path Language Modeling
Manling Li | Qi Zeng | Ying Lin | Kyunghyun Cho | Heng Ji | Jonathan May | Nathanael Chambers | Clare Voss
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Event schemas can guide our understanding and ability to make predictions with respect to what might happen next. We propose a new Event Graph Schema, where two event types are connected through multiple paths involving entities that fill important roles in a coherent story. We then introduce Path Language Model, an auto-regressive language model trained on event-event paths, and select salient and coherent paths to probabilistically construct these graph schemas. We design two evaluation metrics, instance coverage and instance coherence, to evaluate the quality of graph schema induction, by checking when coherent event instances are covered by the schema graph. Intrinsic evaluations show that our approach is highly effective at inducing salient and coherent schemas. Extrinsic evaluations show the induced schema repository provides significant improvement to downstream end-to-end Information Extraction over a state-of-the-art joint neural extraction model, when used as additional global features to unfold instance graphs.

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Experience Grounds Language
Yonatan Bisk | Ari Holtzman | Jesse Thomason | Jacob Andreas | Yoshua Bengio | Joyce Chai | Mirella Lapata | Angeliki Lazaridou | Jonathan May | Aleksandr Nisnevich | Nicolas Pinto | Joseph Turian
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Language understanding research is held back by a failure to relate language to the physical world it describes and to the social interactions it facilitates. Despite the incredible effectiveness of language processing models to tackle tasks after being trained on text alone, successful linguistic communication relies on a shared experience of the world. It is this shared experience that makes utterances meaningful. Natural language processing is a diverse field, and progress throughout its development has come from new representational theories, modeling techniques, data collection paradigms, and tasks. We posit that the present success of representation learning approaches trained on large, text-only corpora requires the parallel tradition of research on the broader physical and social context of language to address the deeper questions of communication.

2019

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Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation
Jonathan May | Ekaterina Shutova | Aurelie Herbelot | Xiaodan Zhu | Marianna Apidianaki | Saif M. Mohammad
Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

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Contextualized Cross-Lingual Event Trigger Extraction with Minimal Resources
Meryem M’hamdi | Marjorie Freedman | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)

Event trigger extraction is an information extraction task of practical utility, yet it is challenging due to the difficulty of disambiguating word sense meaning. Previous approaches rely extensively on hand-crafted language-specific features and are applied mainly to English for which annotated datasets and Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools are available. However, the availability of such resources varies from one language to another. Recently, contextualized Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) models have established state-of-the-art performance for a variety of NLP tasks. However, there has not been much effort in exploring language transfer using BERT for event extraction. In this work, we treat event trigger extraction as a sequence tagging problem and propose a cross-lingual framework for training it without any hand-crafted features. We experiment with different flavors of transfer learning from high-resourced to low-resourced languages and compare the performance of different multilingual embeddings for event trigger extraction. Our results show that training in a multilingual setting outperforms language-specific models for both English and Chinese. Our work is the first to experiment with two event architecture variants in a cross-lingual setting, to show the effectiveness of contextualized embeddings obtained using BERT, and to explore and analyze its performance on Arabic.

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A Grounded Unsupervised Universal Part-of-Speech Tagger for Low-Resource Languages
Ronald Cardenas | Ying Lin | Heng Ji | Jonathan May
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)

Unsupervised part of speech (POS) tagging is often framed as a clustering problem, but practical taggers need to ground their clusters as well. Grounding generally requires reference labeled data, a luxury a low-resource language might not have. In this work, we describe an approach for low-resource unsupervised POS tagging that yields fully grounded output and requires no labeled training data. We find the classic method of Brown et al. (1992) clusters well in our use case and employ a decipherment-based approach to grounding. This approach presumes a sequence of cluster IDs is a ‘ciphertext’ and seeks a POS tag-to-cluster ID mapping that will reveal the POS sequence. We show intrinsically that, despite the difficulty of the task, we obtain reasonable performance across a variety of languages. We also show extrinsically that incorporating our POS tagger into a name tagger leads to state-of-the-art tagging performance in Sinhalese and Kinyarwanda, two languages with nearly no labeled POS data available. We further demonstrate our tagger’s utility by incorporating it into a true ‘zero-resource’ variant of the MALOPA (Ammar et al., 2016) dependency parser model that removes the current reliance on multilingual resources and gold POS tags for new languages. Experiments show that including our tagger makes up much of the accuracy lost when gold POS tags are unavailable.

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Cross-lingual Multi-Level Adversarial Transfer to Enhance Low-Resource Name Tagging
Lifu Huang | Heng Ji | Jonathan May
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)

We focus on improving name tagging for low-resource languages using annotations from related languages. Previous studies either directly project annotations from a source language to a target language using cross-lingual representations or use a shared encoder in a multitask network to transfer knowledge. These approaches inevitably introduce noise to the target language annotation due to mismatched source-target sentence structures. To effectively transfer the resources, we develop a new neural architecture that leverages multi-level adversarial transfer: (1) word-level adversarial training, which projects source language words into the same semantic space as those of the target language without using any parallel corpora or bilingual gazetteers, and (2) sentence-level adversarial training, which yields language-agnostic sequential features. Our neural architecture outperforms previous approaches on CoNLL data sets. Moreover, on 10 low-resource languages, our approach achieves up to 16% absolute F-score gain over all high-performing baselines on cross-lingual transfer without using any target-language resources.

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Cross-lingual Structure Transfer for Relation and Event Extraction
Ananya Subburathinam | Di Lu | Heng Ji | Jonathan May | Shih-Fu Chang | Avirup Sil | Clare Voss
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

The identification of complex semantic structures such as events and entity relations, already a challenging Information Extraction task, is doubly difficult from sources written in under-resourced and under-annotated languages. We investigate the suitability of cross-lingual structure transfer techniques for these tasks. We exploit relation- and event-relevant language-universal features, leveraging both symbolic (including part-of-speech and dependency path) and distributional (including type representation and contextualized representation) information. By representing all entity mentions, event triggers, and contexts into this complex and structured multilingual common space, using graph convolutional networks, we can train a relation or event extractor from source language annotations and apply it to the target language. Extensive experiments on cross-lingual relation and event transfer among English, Chinese, and Arabic demonstrate that our approach achieves performance comparable to state-of-the-art supervised models trained on up to 3,000 manually annotated mentions: up to 62.6% F-score for Relation Extraction, and 63.1% F-score for Event Argument Role Labeling. The event argument role labeling model transferred from English to Chinese achieves similar performance as the model trained from Chinese. We thus find that language-universal symbolic and distributional representations are complementary for cross-lingual structure transfer.

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Do Nuclear Submarines Have Nuclear Captains? A Challenge Dataset for Commonsense Reasoning over Adjectives and Objects
James Mullenbach | Jonathan Gordon | Nanyun Peng | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

How do adjectives project from a noun to its parts? If a motorcycle is red, are its wheels red? Is a nuclear submarine’s captain nuclear? These questions are easy for humans to judge using our commonsense understanding of the world, but are difficult for computers. To attack this challenge, we crowdsource a set of human judgments that answer the English-language question “Given a whole described by an adjective, does the adjective also describe a given part?” We build strong baselines for this task with a classification approach. Our findings indicate that, despite the recent successes of large language models on tasks aimed to assess commonsense knowledge, these models do not greatly outperform simple word-level models based on pre-trained word embeddings. This provides evidence that the amount of commonsense knowledge encoded in these language models does not extend far beyond that already baked into the word embeddings. Our dataset will serve as a useful testbed for future research in commonsense reasoning, especially as it relates to adjectives and objects

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What Matters for Neural Cross-Lingual Named Entity Recognition: An Empirical Analysis
Xiaolei Huang | Jonathan May | Nanyun Peng
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Building named entity recognition (NER) models for languages that do not have much training data is a challenging task. While recent work has shown promising results on cross-lingual transfer from high-resource languages, it is unclear what knowledge is transferred. In this paper, we first propose a simple and efficient neural architecture for cross-lingual NER. Experiments show that our model achieves competitive performance with the state-of-the-art. We further explore how transfer learning works for cross-lingual NER on two transferable factors: sequential order and multilingual embedding. Our results shed light on future research for improving cross-lingual NER.

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Cross-lingual Joint Entity and Word Embedding to Improve Entity Linking and Parallel Sentence Mining
Xiaoman Pan | Thamme Gowda | Heng Ji | Jonathan May | Scott Miller
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Deep Learning Approaches for Low-Resource NLP (DeepLo 2019)

Entities, which refer to distinct objects in the real world, can be viewed as language universals and used as effective signals to generate less ambiguous semantic representations and align multiple languages. We propose a novel method, CLEW, to generate cross-lingual data that is a mix of entities and contextual words based on Wikipedia. We replace each anchor link in the source language with its corresponding entity title in the target language if it exists, or in the source language otherwise. A cross-lingual joint entity and word embedding learned from this kind of data not only can disambiguate linkable entities but can also effectively represent unlinkable entities. Because this multilingual common space directly relates the semantics of contextual words in the source language to that of entities in the target language, we leverage it for unsupervised cross-lingual entity linking. Experimental results show that CLEW significantly advances the state-of-the-art: up to 3.1% absolute F-score gain for unsupervised cross-lingual entity linking. Moreover, it provides reliable alignment on both the word/entity level and the sentence level, and thus we use it to mine parallel sentences for all (302, 2) language pairs in Wikipedia.

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Translating Translationese: A Two-Step Approach to Unsupervised Machine Translation
Nima Pourdamghani | Nada Aldarrab | Marjan Ghazvininejad | Kevin Knight | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Given a rough, word-by-word gloss of a source language sentence, target language natives can uncover the latent, fully-fluent rendering of the translation. In this work we explore this intuition by breaking translation into a two step process: generating a rough gloss by means of a dictionary and then ‘translating’ the resulting pseudo-translation, or ‘Translationese’ into a fully fluent translation. We build our Translationese decoder once from a mish-mash of parallel data that has the target language in common and then can build dictionaries on demand using unsupervised techniques, resulting in rapidly generated unsupervised neural MT systems for many source languages. We apply this process to 14 test languages, obtaining better or comparable translation results on high-resource languages than previously published unsupervised MT studies, and obtaining good quality results for low-resource languages that have never been used in an unsupervised MT scenario.

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SARAL: A Low-Resource Cross-Lingual Domain-Focused Information Retrieval System for Effective Rapid Document Triage
Elizabeth Boschee | Joel Barry | Jayadev Billa | Marjorie Freedman | Thamme Gowda | Constantine Lignos | Chester Palen-Michel | Michael Pust | Banriskhem Kayang Khonglah | Srikanth Madikeri | Jonathan May | Scott Miller
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

With the increasing democratization of electronic media, vast information resources are available in less-frequently-taught languages such as Swahili or Somali. That information, which may be crucially important and not available elsewhere, can be difficult for monolingual English speakers to effectively access. In this paper we present an end-to-end cross-lingual information retrieval (CLIR) and summarization system for low-resource languages that 1) enables English speakers to search foreign language repositories of text and audio using English queries, 2) summarizes the retrieved documents in English with respect to a particular information need, and 3) provides complete transcriptions and translations as needed. The SARAL system achieved the top end-to-end performance in the most recent IARPA MATERIAL CLIR+summarization evaluations. Our demonstration system provides end-to-end open query retrieval and summarization capability, and presents the original source text or audio, speech transcription, and machine translation, for two low resource languages.

2018

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Out-of-the-box Universal Romanization Tool uroman
Ulf Hermjakob | Jonathan May | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of ACL 2018, System Demonstrations

We present uroman, a tool for converting text in myriads of languages and scripts such as Chinese, Arabic and Cyrillic into a common Latin-script representation. The tool relies on Unicode data and other tables, and handles nearly all character sets, including some that are quite obscure such as Tibetan and Tifinagh. uroman converts digital numbers in various scripts to Western Arabic numerals. Romanization enables the application of string-similarity metrics to texts from different scripts without the need and complexity of an intermediate phonetic representation. The tool is freely and publicly available as a Perl script suitable for inclusion in data processing pipelines and as an interactive demo web page.

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Translating a Language You Don’t Know In the Chinese Room
Ulf Hermjakob | Jonathan May | Michael Pust | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of ACL 2018, System Demonstrations

In a corruption of John Searle’s famous AI thought experiment, the Chinese Room (Searle, 1980), we twist its original intent by enabling humans to translate text, e.g. from Uyghur to English, even if they don’t have any prior knowledge of the source language. Our enabling tool, which we call the Chinese Room, is equipped with the same resources made available to a machine translation engine. We find that our superior language model and world knowledge allows us to create perfectly fluent and nearly adequate translations, with human expertise required only for the target language. The Chinese Room tool can be used to rapidly create small corpora of parallel data when bilingual translators are not readily available, in particular for low-resource languages.

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Towards Controllable Story Generation
Nanyun Peng | Marjan Ghazvininejad | Jonathan May | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Storytelling

We present a general framework of analyzing existing story corpora to generate controllable and creative new stories. The proposed framework needs little manual annotation to achieve controllable story generation. It creates a new interface for humans to interact with computers to generate personalized stories. We apply the framework to build recurrent neural network (RNN)-based generation models to control story ending valence and storyline. Experiments show that our methods successfully achieve the control and enhance the coherence of stories through introducing storylines. with additional control factors, the generation model gets lower perplexity, and yields more coherent stories that are faithful to the control factors according to human evaluation.

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Proceedings of the 12th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation
Marianna Apidianaki | Saif M. Mohammad | Jonathan May | Ekaterina Shutova | Steven Bethard | Marine Carpuat
Proceedings of the 12th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

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Recurrent Neural Networks as Weighted Language Recognizers
Yining Chen | Sorcha Gilroy | Andreas Maletti | Jonathan May | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

We investigate the computational complexity of various problems for simple recurrent neural networks (RNNs) as formal models for recognizing weighted languages. We focus on the single-layer, ReLU-activation, rational-weight RNNs with softmax, which are commonly used in natural language processing applications. We show that most problems for such RNNs are undecidable, including consistency, equivalence, minimization, and the determination of the highest-weighted string. However, for consistent RNNs the last problem becomes decidable, although the solution length can surpass all computable bounds. If additionally the string is limited to polynomial length, the problem becomes NP-complete. In summary, this shows that approximations and heuristic algorithms are necessary in practical applications of those RNNs.

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ELISA-EDL: A Cross-lingual Entity Extraction, Linking and Localization System
Boliang Zhang | Ying Lin | Xiaoman Pan | Di Lu | Jonathan May | Kevin Knight | Heng Ji
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Demonstrations

We demonstrate ELISA-EDL, a state-of-the-art re-trainable system to extract entity mentions from low-resource languages, link them to external English knowledge bases, and visualize locations related to disaster topics on a world heatmap. We make all of our data sets, resources and system training and testing APIs publicly available for research purpose.

2017

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Cross-lingual Name Tagging and Linking for 282 Languages
Xiaoman Pan | Boliang Zhang | Jonathan May | Joel Nothman | Kevin Knight | Heng Ji
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The ambitious goal of this work is to develop a cross-lingual name tagging and linking framework for 282 languages that exist in Wikipedia. Given a document in any of these languages, our framework is able to identify name mentions, assign a coarse-grained or fine-grained type to each mention, and link it to an English Knowledge Base (KB) if it is linkable. We achieve this goal by performing a series of new KB mining methods: generating “silver-standard” annotations by transferring annotations from English to other languages through cross-lingual links and KB properties, refining annotations through self-training and topic selection, deriving language-specific morphology features from anchor links, and mining word translation pairs from cross-lingual links. Both name tagging and linking results for 282 languages are promising on Wikipedia data and on-Wikipedia data.

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SemEval-2017 Task 9: Abstract Meaning Representation Parsing and Generation
Jonathan May | Jay Priyadarshi
Proceedings of the 11th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2017)

In this report we summarize the results of the 2017 AMR SemEval shared task. The task consisted of two separate yet related subtasks. In the parsing subtask, participants were asked to produce Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) (Banarescu et al., 2013) graphs for a set of English sentences in the biomedical domain. In the generation subtask, participants were asked to generate English sentences given AMR graphs in the news/forum domain. A total of five sites participated in the parsing subtask, and four participated in the generation subtask. Along with a description of the task and the participants’ systems, we show various score ablations and some sample outputs.

2016

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Simple, Fast Noise-Contrastive Estimation for Large RNN Vocabularies
Barret Zoph | Ashish Vaswani | Jonathan May | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

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SemEval-2016 Task 8: Meaning Representation Parsing
Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 10th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2016)

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Transfer Learning for Low-Resource Neural Machine Translation
Barret Zoph | Deniz Yuret | Jonathan May | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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Extracting Structured Scholarly Information from the Machine Translation Literature
Eunsol Choi | Matic Horvat | Jonathan May | Kevin Knight | Daniel Marcu
Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'16)

Understanding the experimental results of a scientific paper is crucial to understanding its contribution and to comparing it with related work. We introduce a structured, queryable representation for experimental results and a baseline system that automatically populates this representation. The representation can answer compositional questions such as: “Which are the best published results reported on the NIST 09 Chinese to English dataset?” and “What are the most important methods for speeding up phrase-based decoding?” Answering such questions usually involves lengthy literature surveys. Current machine reading for academic papers does not usually consider the actual experiments, but mostly focuses on understanding abstracts. We describe annotation work to create an initial hscientific paper; experimental results representationi corpus. The corpus is composed of 67 papers which were manually annotated with a structured representation of experimental results by domain experts. Additionally, we present a baseline algorithm that characterizes the difficulty of the inference task.

2015

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Parsing English into Abstract Meaning Representation Using Syntax-Based Machine Translation
Michael Pust | Ulf Hermjakob | Kevin Knight | Daniel Marcu | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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High-Precision Abductive Mapping of Multilingual Metaphors
Jonathan Gordon | Jerry Hobbs | Jonathan May | Fabrizio Morbini
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Metaphor in NLP

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A Corpus of Rich Metaphor Annotation
Jonathan Gordon | Jerry Hobbs | Jonathan May | Michael Mohler | Fabrizio Morbini | Bryan Rink | Marc Tomlinson | Suzanne Wertheim
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Metaphor in NLP

2014

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An Arabizi-English social media statistical machine translation system
Jonathan May | Yassine Benjira | Abdessamad Echihabi
Proceedings of the 11th Conference of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas: MT Researchers Track

We present a machine translation engine that can translate romanized Arabic, often known as Arabizi, into English. With such a system we can, for the first time, translate the massive amounts of Arabizi that are generated every day in the social media sphere but until now have been uninterpretable by automated means. We accomplish our task by leveraging a machine translation system trained on non-Arabizi social media data and a weighted finite-state transducer-based Arabizi-to-Arabic conversion module, equipped with an Arabic character-based n-gram language model. The resulting system allows high capacity on-the-fly translation from Arabizi to English. We demonstrate via several experiments that our performance is quite close to the theoretical maximum attained by perfect deromanization of Arabizi input. This constitutes the first presentation of a high capacity end-to-end social media Arabizi-to-English translation system.

2013

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Models of Translation Competitions
Mark Hopkins | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

2012

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An Analysis (and an Annotated Corpus) of User Responses to Machine Translation Output
Daniele Pighin | Lluís Màrquez | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'12)

We present an annotated resource consisting of open-domain translation requests, automatic translations and user-provided corrections collected from casual users of the translation portal http://reverso.net. The layers of annotation provide: 1) quality assessments for 830 correction suggestions for translations into English, at the segment level, and 2) 814 usefulness assessments for English-Spanish and English-French translation suggestions, a suggestion being useful if it contains at least local clues that can be used to improve translation quality. We also discuss the results of our preliminary experiments concerning 1) the development of an automatic filter to separate useful from non-useful feedback, and 2) the incorporation in the machine translation pipeline of bilingual phrases extracted from the suggestions. The annotated data, available for download from ftp://mi.eng.cam.ac.uk/data/faust/LW-UPC-Oct11-FAUST-feedback-annotation.tgz, is released under a Creative Commons license. To our best knowledge, this is the first resource of this kind that has ever been made publicly available.

2011

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Tuning as Ranking
Mark Hopkins | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2011 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

2010

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Efficient Inference through Cascades of Weighted Tree Transducers
Jonathan May | Kevin Knight | Heiko Vogler
Proceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

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Re-structuring, Re-labeling, and Re-aligning for Syntax-Based Machine Translation
Wei Wang | Jonathan May | Kevin Knight | Daniel Marcu
Computational Linguistics, Volume 36, Number 2, June 2010

2008

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Training Tree Transducers
Jonathan Graehl | Kevin Knight | Jonathan May
Computational Linguistics, Volume 34, Number 3, September 2008

2007

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Syntactic Re-Alignment Models for Machine Translation
Jonathan May | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of the 2007 Joint Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and Computational Natural Language Learning (EMNLP-CoNLL)

2006

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A Better N-Best List: Practical Determinization of Weighted Finite Tree Automata
Jonathan May | Kevin Knight
Proceedings of the Human Language Technology Conference of the NAACL, Main Conference

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