Lei Yu


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Capturing document context inside sentence-level neural machine translation models with self-training
Elman Mansimov | Gábor Melis | Lei Yu
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Computational Approaches to Discourse

Neural machine translation (NMT) has arguably achieved human level parity when trained and evaluated at the sentence-level. Document-level neural machine translation has received less attention and lags behind its sentence-level counterpart. The majority of the proposed document-level approaches investigate ways of conditioning the model on several source or target sentences to capture document context. These approaches require training a specialized NMT model from scratch on parallel document-level corpora. We propose an approach that doesn’t require training a specialized model on parallel document-level corpora and is applied to a trained sentence-level NMT model at decoding time. We process the document from left to right multiple times and self-train the sentence-level model on pairs of source sentences and generated translations. Our approach reinforces the choices made by the model, thus making it more likely that the same choices will be made in other sentences in the document. We evaluate our approach on three document-level datasets: NIST Chinese-English, WMT19 Chinese-English and OpenSubtitles English-Russian. We demonstrate that our approach has higher BLEU score and higher human preference than the baseline. Qualitative analysis of our approach shows that choices made by model are consistent across the document.

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Predicting emergent linguistic compositions through time: Syntactic frame extension via multimodal chaining
Lei Yu | Yang Xu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Natural language relies on a finite lexicon to express an unbounded set of emerging ideas. One result of this tension is the formation of new compositions, such that existing linguistic units can be combined with emerging items into novel expressions. We develop a framework that exploits the cognitive mechanisms of chaining and multimodal knowledge to predict emergent compositional expressions through time. We present the syntactic frame extension model (SFEM) that draws on the theory of chaining and knowledge from “percept”, “concept”, and “language” to infer how verbs extend their frames to form new compositions with existing and novel nouns. We evaluate SFEM rigorously on the 1) modalities of knowledge and 2) categorization models of chaining, in a syntactically parsed English corpus over the past 150 years. We show that multimodal SFEM predicts newly emerged verb syntax and arguments substantially better than competing models using purely linguistic or unimodal knowledge. We find support for an exemplar view of chaining as opposed to a prototype view and reveal how the joint approach of multimodal chaining may be fundamental to the creation of literal and figurative language uses including metaphor and metonymy.

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Pretraining the Noisy Channel Model for Task-Oriented Dialogue
Qi Liu | Lei Yu | Laura Rimell | Phil Blunsom
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Abstract Direct decoding for task-oriented dialogue is known to suffer from the explaining-away effect, manifested in models that prefer short and generic responses. Here we argue for the use of Bayes’ theorem to factorize the dialogue task into two models, the distribution of the context given the response, and the prior for the response itself. This approach, an instantiation of the noisy channel model, both mitigates the explaining-away effect and allows the principled incorporation of large pretrained models for the response prior. We present extensive experiments showing that a noisy channel model decodes better responses compared to direct decoding and that a two-stage pretraining strategy, employing both open-domain and task-oriented dialogue data, improves over randomly initialized models.

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Diverse Pretrained Context Encodings Improve Document Translation
Domenic Donato | Lei Yu | Chris Dyer
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)

We propose a new architecture for adapting a sentence-level sequence-to-sequence transformer by incorporating multiple pre-trained document context signals and assess the impact on translation performance of (1) different pretraining approaches for generating these signals, (2) the quantity of parallel data for which document context is available, and (3) conditioning on source, target, or source and target contexts. Experiments on the NIST Chinese-English, and IWSLT and WMT English-German tasks support four general conclusions: that using pre-trained context representations markedly improves sample efficiency, that adequate parallel data resources are crucial for learning to use document context, that jointly conditioning on multiple context representations outperforms any single representation, and that source context is more valuable for translation performance than target side context. Our best multi-context model consistently outperforms the best existing context-aware transformers.


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Inferring symmetry in natural language
Chelsea Tanchip | Lei Yu | Aotao Xu | Yang Xu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

We present a methodological framework for inferring symmetry of verb predicates in natural language. Empirical work on predicate symmetry has taken two main approaches. The feature-based approach focuses on linguistic features pertaining to symmetry. The context-based approach denies the existence of absolute symmetry but instead argues that such inference is context dependent. We develop methods that formalize these approaches and evaluate them against a novel symmetry inference sentence (SIS) dataset comprised of 400 naturalistic usages of literature-informed verbs spanning the spectrum of symmetry-asymmetry. Our results show that a hybrid transfer learning model that integrates linguistic features with contextualized language models most faithfully predicts the empirical data. Our work integrates existing approaches to symmetry in natural language and suggests how symmetry inference can improve systematicity in state-of-the-art language models.

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The DeepMind Chinese–English Document Translation System at WMT2020
Lei Yu | Laurent Sartran | Po-Sen Huang | Wojciech Stokowiec | Domenic Donato | Srivatsan Srinivasan | Alek Andreev | Wang Ling | Sona Mokra | Agustin Dal Lago | Yotam Doron | Susannah Young | Phil Blunsom | Chris Dyer
Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Machine Translation

This paper describes the DeepMind submission to the ChineseEnglish constrained data track of the WMT2020 Shared Task on News Translation. The submission employs a noisy channel factorization as the backbone of a document translation system. This approach allows the flexible combination of a number of independent component models which are further augmented with back-translation, distillation, fine-tuning with in-domain data, Monte-Carlo Tree Search decoding, and improved uncertainty estimation. In order to address persistent issues with the premature truncation of long sequences we included specialized length models and sentence segmentation techniques. Our final system provides a 9.9 BLEU points improvement over a baseline Transformer on our test set (newstest 2019).

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Better Document-Level Machine Translation with Bayes’ Rule
Lei Yu | Laurent Sartran | Wojciech Stokowiec | Wang Ling | Lingpeng Kong | Phil Blunsom | Chris Dyer
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 8

We show that Bayes’ rule provides an effective mechanism for creating document translation models that can be learned from only parallel sentences and monolingual documents a compelling benefit because parallel documents are not always available. In our formulation, the posterior probability of a candidate translation is the product of the unconditional (prior) probability of the candidate output document and the “reverse translation probability” of translating the candidate output back into the source language. Our proposed model uses a powerful autoregressive language model as the prior on target language documents, but it assumes that each sentence is translated independently from the target to the source language. Crucially, at test time, when a source document is observed, the document language model prior induces dependencies between the translations of the source sentences in the posterior. The model’s independence assumption not only enables efficient use of available data, but it additionally admits a practical left-to-right beam-search algorithm for carrying out inference. Experiments show that our model benefits from using cross-sentence context in the language model, and it outperforms existing document translation approaches.


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Unsupervised Recurrent Neural Network Grammars
Yoon Kim | Alexander Rush | Lei Yu | Adhiguna Kuncoro | Chris Dyer | Gábor Melis
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)

Recurrent neural network grammars (RNNG) are generative models of language which jointly model syntax and surface structure by incrementally generating a syntax tree and sentence in a top-down, left-to-right order. Supervised RNNGs achieve strong language modeling and parsing performance, but require an annotated corpus of parse trees. In this work, we experiment with unsupervised learning of RNNGs. Since directly marginalizing over the space of latent trees is intractable, we instead apply amortized variational inference. To maximize the evidence lower bound, we develop an inference network parameterized as a neural CRF constituency parser. On language modeling, unsupervised RNNGs perform as well their supervised counterparts on benchmarks in English and Chinese. On constituency grammar induction, they are competitive with recent neural language models that induce tree structures from words through attention mechanisms.


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Online Segment to Segment Neural Transduction
Lei Yu | Jan Buys | Phil Blunsom
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing


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A Chinese Automatic Text Summarization system for mobile devices
Lei Yu | Mengge Liu | Fuji Ren | Shingo Kuroiwa
Proceedings of the 20th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation