Modern unsupervised machine translation (MT) systems reach reasonable translation quality under clean and controlled data conditions. As the performance gap between supervised and unsupervised MT narrows, it is interesting to ask whether the different training methods result in systematically different output beyond what is visible via quality metrics like adequacy or BLEU. We compare translations from supervised and unsupervised MT systems of similar quality, finding that unsupervised output is more fluent and more structurally different in comparison to human translation than is supervised MT. We then demonstrate a way to combine the benefits of both methods into a single system which results in improved adequacy and fluency as rated by human evaluators. Our results open the door to interesting discussions about how supervised and unsupervised MT might be different yet mutually-beneficial.
Bilingual lexicons form a critical component of various natural language processing applications, including unsupervised and semisupervised machine translation and crosslingual information retrieval. In this work, we improve bilingual lexicon induction performance across 40 language pairs with a graph-matching method based on optimal transport. The method is especially strong with low amounts of supervision.
The ability to extract high-quality translation dictionaries from monolingual word embedding spaces depends critically on the geometric similarity of the spaces—their degree of “isomorphism.” We address the root-cause of faulty cross-lingual mapping: that word embedding training resulted in the underlying spaces being non-isomorphic. We incorporate global measures of isomorphism directly into the skipgram loss function, successfully increasing the relative isomorphism of trained word embedding spaces and improving their ability to be mapped to a shared cross-lingual space. The result is improved bilingual lexicon induction in general data conditions, under domain mismatch, and with training algorithm dissimilarities. We release IsoVec at https://github.com/kellymarchisio/isovec.
A popular natural language processing task decades ago, word alignment has been dominated until recently by GIZA++, a statistical method based on the 30-year-old IBM models. New methods that outperform GIZA++ primarily rely on large machine translation models, massively multilingual language models, or supervision from GIZA++ alignments itself. We introduce Embedding-Enhanced GIZA++, and outperform GIZA++ without any of the aforementioned factors. Taking advantage of monolingual embedding spaces of source and target language only, we exceed GIZA++’s performance in every tested scenario for three languages pairs. In the lowest-resource setting, we outperform GIZA++ by 8.5, 10.9, and 12 AER for RoEn, De-En, and En-Fr, respectively. We release our code at www.blind-review.code.
Aimed at generating a seed lexicon for use in downstream natural language tasks and unsupervised methods for bilingual lexicon induction have received much attention in the academic literature recently. While interesting and fully unsupervised settings are unrealistic; small amounts of bilingual data are usually available due to the existence of massively multilingual parallel corpora and or linguists can create small amounts of parallel data. In this work and we demonstrate an effective bootstrapping approach for semi-supervised bilingual lexicon induction that capitalizes upon the complementary strengths of two disparate methods for inducing bilingual lexicons. Whereas statistical methods are highly effective at inducing correct translation pairs for words frequently occurring in a parallel corpus and monolingual embedding spaces have the advantage of having been trained on large amounts of data and and therefore may induce accurate translations for words absent from the small corpus. By combining these relative strengths and our method achieves state-of-the-art results on 3 of 4 language pairs in the challenging VecMap test set using minimal amounts of parallel data and without the need for a translation dictionary. We release our implementation at www.blind-review.code.
Much recent work in bilingual lexicon induction (BLI) views word embeddings as vectors in Euclidean space. As such, BLI is typically solved by finding a linear transformation that maps embeddings to a common space. Alternatively, word embeddings may be understood as nodes in a weighted graph. This framing allows us to examine a node’s graph neighborhood without assuming a linear transform, and exploits new techniques from the graph matching optimization literature. These contrasting approaches have not been compared in BLI so far. In this work, we study the behavior of Euclidean versus graph-based approaches to BLI under differing data conditions and show that they complement each other when combined. We release our code at https://github.com/kellymarchisio/euc-v-graph-bli.
Despite the reported success of unsupervised machine translation (MT), the field has yet to examine the conditions under which the methods succeed and fail. We conduct an extensive empirical evaluation using dissimilar language pairs, dissimilar domains, and diverse datasets. We find that performance rapidly deteriorates when source and target corpora are from different domains, and that stochasticity during embedding training can dramatically affect downstream results. We additionally find that unsupervised MT performance declines when source and target languages use different scripts, and observe very poor performance on authentic low-resource language pairs. We advocate for extensive empirical evaluation of unsupervised MT systems to highlight failure points and encourage continued research on the most promising paradigms. We release our preprocessed dataset to encourage evaluations that stress-test systems under multiple data conditions.
We describe the work of Johns Hopkins University for the shared task of news translation organized by the Fourth Conference on Machine Translation (2019). We submitted systems for both directions of the English-German language pair. The systems combine multiple techniques – sampling, filtering, iterative backtranslation, and continued training – previously used to improve performance of neural machine translation models. At submission time, we achieve a BLEU score of 38.1 for De-En and 42.5 for En-De translation directions on newstest2019. Post-submission, the score is 38.4 for De-En and 42.8 for En-De. Various experiments conducted in the process are also described.