Liang Ding


2022

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On the Complementarity between Pre-Training and Random-Initialization for Resource-Rich Machine Translation
Changtong Zan | Liang Ding | Li Shen | Yu Cao | Weifeng Liu | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Pre-Training (PT) of text representations has been successfully applied to low-resource Neural Machine Translation (NMT). However, it usually fails to achieve notable gains (some- times, even worse) on resource-rich NMT on par with its Random-Initialization (RI) counterpart. We take the first step to investigate the complementarity between PT and RI in resource-rich scenarios via two probing analyses, and find that: 1) PT improves NOT the accuracy, but the generalization by achieving flatter loss landscapes than that of RI; 2) PT improves NOT the confidence of lexical choice, but the negative diversity by assigning smoother lexical probability distributions than that of RI. Based on these insights, we propose to combine their complementarities with a model fusion algorithm that utilizes optimal transport to align neurons between PT and RI. Experiments on two resource-rich translation benchmarks, WMT’17 English-Chinese (20M) and WMT’19 English-German (36M), show that PT and RI could be nicely complementary to each other, achieving substantial improvements considering both translation accuracy, generalization, and negative diversity. Probing tools and code are released at: https://github.com/zanchangtong/PTvsRI.

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A Contrastive Cross-Channel Data Augmentation Framework for Aspect-Based Sentiment Analysis
Bing Wang | Liang Ding | Qihuang Zhong | Ximing Li | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) is a fine-grained sentiment analysis task, which focuses on detecting the sentiment polarity towards the aspect in a sentence. However, it is always sensitive to the multi-aspect challenge, where features of multiple aspects in a sentence will affect each other. To mitigate this issue, we design a novel training framework, called Contrastive Cross-Channel Data Augmentation (C3 DA), which leverages an in-domain generator to construct more multi-aspect samples and then boosts the robustness of ABSA models via contrastive learning on these generated data. In practice, given a generative pretrained language model and some limited ABSA labeled data, we first employ some parameter-efficient approaches to perform the in-domain fine-tuning. Then, the obtained in-domain generator is used to generate the synthetic sentences from two channels, i.e., Aspect Augmentation Channel and Polarity Augmentation Channel, which generate the sentence condition on a given aspect and polarity respectively. Specifically, our C3 DA performs the sentence generation in a cross-channel manner to obtain more sentences, and proposes an Entropy-Minimization Filter to filter low-quality generated samples. Extensive experiments show that our C3 DA can outperform those baselines without any augmentations by about 1% on accuracy and Macro- F1. Code and data are released in https://github.com/wangbing1416/C3DA.

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MirrorAlign: A Super Lightweight Unsupervised Word Alignment Model via Cross-Lingual Contrastive Learning
Di Wu | Liang Ding | Shuo Yang | Mingyang Li
Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation (IWSLT 2022)

Word alignment is essential for the downstream cross-lingual language understanding and generation tasks. Recently, the performance of the neural word alignment models has exceeded that of statistical models. However, they heavily rely on sophisticated translation models. In this study, we propose a super lightweight unsupervised word alignment model named MirrorAlign, in which bidirectional symmetric attention trained with a contrastive learning objective is introduced, and an agreement loss is employed to bind the attention maps, such that the alignments follow mirror-like symmetry hypothesis. Experimental results on several public benchmarks demonstrate that our model achieves competitive, if not better, performance compared to the state of the art in word alignment while significantly reducing the training and decoding time on average. Further ablation analysis and case studies show the superiority of our proposed MirrorAlign. Notably, we recognize our model as a pioneer attempt to unify bilingual word embedding and word alignments. Encouragingly, our approach achieves 16.4X speedup against GIZA++, and 50X parameter compression compared with the Transformer-based alignment methods. We release our code to facilitate the community: https://github.com/moore3930/MirrorAlign.

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Interpretable Proof Generation via Iterative Backward Reasoning
Hanhao Qu | Yu Cao | Jun Gao | Liang Ding | Ruifeng Xu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

We present IBR, an Iterative Backward Reasoning model to solve the proof generation tasks on rule-based Question Answering (QA), where models are required to reason over a series of textual rules and facts to find out the related proof path and derive the final answer. We handle the limitations of existed works in two folds: 1) enhance the interpretability of reasoning procedures with detailed tracking, by predicting nodes and edges in the proof path iteratively backward from the question; 2) promote the efficiency and accuracy via reasoning on the elaborate representations of nodes and history paths, without any intermediate texts that may introduce external noise during proof generation. There are three main modules in IBR, QA and proof strategy prediction to obtain the answer and offer guidance for the following procedure; parent node prediction to determine a node in the existing proof that a new child node will link to; child node prediction to find out which new node will be added to the proof. Experiments on both synthetic and paraphrased datasets demonstrate that IBR has better in-domain performance as well as cross-domain transferability than several strong baselines. Our code and models are available at https://github. com/find-knowledge/IBR.

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Redistributing Low-Frequency Words: Making the Most of Monolingual Data in Non-Autoregressive Translation
Liang Ding | Longyue Wang | Shuming Shi | Dacheng Tao | Zhaopeng Tu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Knowledge distillation (KD) is the preliminary step for training non-autoregressive translation (NAT) models, which eases the training of NAT models at the cost of losing important information for translating low-frequency words. In this work, we provide an appealing alternative for NAT – monolingual KD, which trains NAT student on external monolingual data with AT teacher trained on the original bilingual data. Monolingual KD is able to transfer both the knowledge of the original bilingual data (implicitly encoded in the trained AT teacher model) and that of the new monolingual data to the NAT student model. Extensive experiments on eight WMT benchmarks over two advanced NAT models show that monolingual KD consistently outperforms the standard KD by improving low-frequency word translation, without introducing any computational cost. Monolingual KD enjoys desirable expandability, which can be further enhanced (when given more computational budget) by combining with the standard KD, a reverse monolingual KD, or enlarging the scale of monolingual data. Extensive analyses demonstrate that these techniques can be used together profitably to further recall the useful information lost in the standard KD. Encouragingly, combining with standard KD, our approach achieves 30.4 and 34.1 BLEU points on the WMT14 English-German and German-English datasets, respectively. Our code and trained models are freely available at https://github.com/alphadl/RLFW-NAT.mono.

2021

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Improving Neural Machine Translation by Bidirectional Training
Liang Ding | Di Wu | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We present a simple and effective pretraining strategy – bidirectional training (BiT) for neural machine translation. Specifically, we bidirectionally update the model parameters at the early stage and then tune the model normally. To achieve bidirectional updating, we simply reconstruct the training samples from “srctgt” to “src+tgttgt+src” without any complicated model modifications. Notably, our approach does not increase any parameters or training steps, requiring the parallel data merely. Experimental results show that BiT pushes the SOTA neural machine translation performance across 15 translation tasks on 8 language pairs (data sizes range from 160K to 38M) significantly higher. Encouragingly, our proposed model can complement existing data manipulation strategies, i.e. back translation, data distillation, and data diversification. Extensive analyses show that our approach functions as a novel bilingual code-switcher, obtaining better bilingual alignment.

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Progressive Multi-Granularity Training for Non-Autoregressive Translation
Liang Ding | Longyue Wang | Xuebo Liu | Derek F. Wong | Dacheng Tao | Zhaopeng Tu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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On the Copying Behaviors of Pre-Training for Neural Machine Translation
Xuebo Liu | Longyue Wang | Derek F. Wong | Liang Ding | Lidia S. Chao | Shuming Shi | Zhaopeng Tu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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On the Complementarity between Pre-Training and Back-Translation for Neural Machine Translation
Xuebo Liu | Longyue Wang | Derek F. Wong | Liang Ding | Lidia S. Chao | Shuming Shi | Zhaopeng Tu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Pre-training (PT) and back-translation (BT) are two simple and powerful methods to utilize monolingual data for improving the model performance of neural machine translation (NMT). This paper takes the first step to investigate the complementarity between PT and BT. We introduce two probing tasks for PT and BT respectively and find that PT mainly contributes to the encoder module while BT brings more benefits to the decoder. Experimental results show that PT and BT are nicely complementary to each other, establishing state-of-the-art performances on the WMT16 English-Romanian and English-Russian benchmarks. Through extensive analyses on sentence originality and word frequency, we also demonstrate that combining Tagged BT with PT is more helpful to their complementarity, leading to better translation quality. Source code is freely available at https://github.com/SunbowLiu/PTvsBT.

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The USYD-JD Speech Translation System for IWSLT2021
Liang Ding | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation (IWSLT 2021)

This paper describes the University of Sydney & JD’s joint submission of the IWSLT 2021 low resource speech translation task. We participated in the Swahili->English direction and got the best scareBLEU (25.3) score among all the participants. Our constrained system is based on a pipeline framework, i.e. ASR and NMT. We trained our models with the officially provided ASR and MT datasets. The ASR system is based on the open-sourced tool Kaldi and this work mainly explores how to make the most of the NMT models. To reduce the punctuation errors generated by the ASR model, we employ our previous work SlotRefine to train a punctuation correction model. To achieve better translation performance, we explored the most recent effective strategies, including back translation, knowledge distillation, multi-feature reranking, and transductive finetuning. For model structure, we tried auto-regressive and non-autoregressive models, respectively. In addition, we proposed two novel pre-train approaches, i.e. de-noising training and bidirectional training to fully exploit the data. Extensive experiments show that adding the above techniques consistently improves the BLEU scores, and the final submission system outperforms the baseline (Transformer ensemble model trained with the original parallel data) by approximately 10.8 BLEU score, achieving the SOTA performance.

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Self-Guided Curriculum Learning for Neural Machine Translation
Lei Zhou | Liang Ding | Kevin Duh | Shinji Watanabe | Ryohei Sasano | Koichi Takeda
Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation (IWSLT 2021)

In supervised learning, a well-trained model should be able to recover ground truth accurately, i.e. the predicted labels are expected to resemble the ground truth labels as much as possible. Inspired by this, we formulate a difficulty criterion based on the recovery degrees of training examples. Motivated by the intuition that after skimming through the training corpus, the neural machine translation (NMT) model “knows” how to schedule a suitable curriculum according to learning difficulty, we propose a self-guided curriculum learning strategy that encourages the NMT model to learn from easy to hard on the basis of recovery degrees. Specifically, we adopt sentence-level BLEU score as the proxy of recovery degree. Experimental results on translation benchmarks including WMT14 English-German and WMT17 Chinese-English demonstrate that our proposed method considerably improves the recovery degree, thus consistently improving the translation performance.

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Rejuvenating Low-Frequency Words: Making the Most of Parallel Data in Non-Autoregressive Translation
Liang Ding | Longyue Wang | Xuebo Liu | Derek F. Wong | Dacheng Tao | Zhaopeng Tu
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)

Knowledge distillation (KD) is commonly used to construct synthetic data for training non-autoregressive translation (NAT) models. However, there exists a discrepancy on low-frequency words between the distilled and the original data, leading to more errors on predicting low-frequency words. To alleviate the problem, we directly expose the raw data into NAT by leveraging pretraining. By analyzing directed alignments, we found that KD makes low-frequency source words aligned with targets more deterministically but fails to align sufficient low-frequency words from target to source. Accordingly, we propose reverse KD to rejuvenate more alignments for low-frequency target words. To make the most of authentic and synthetic data, we combine these complementary approaches as a new training strategy for further boosting NAT performance. We conduct experiments on five translation benchmarks over two advanced architectures. Results demonstrate that the proposed approach can significantly and universally improve translation quality by reducing translation errors on low-frequency words. Encouragingly, our approach achieves 28.2 and 33.9 BLEU points on the WMT14 English-German and WMT16 Romanian-English datasets, respectively. Our code, data, and trained models are available at https://github.com/longyuewangdcu/RLFW-NAT.

2020

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Self-Attention with Cross-Lingual Position Representation
Liang Ding | Longyue Wang | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Position encoding (PE), an essential part of self-attention networks (SANs), is used to preserve the word order information for natural language processing tasks, generating fixed position indices for input sequences. However, in cross-lingual scenarios, machine translation, the PEs of source and target sentences are modeled independently. Due to word order divergences in different languages, modeling the cross-lingual positional relationships might help SANs tackle this problem. In this paper, we augment SANs with cross-lingual position representations to model the bilingually aware latent structure for the input sentence. Specifically, we utilize bracketing transduction grammar (BTG)-based reordering information to encourage SANs to learn bilingual diagonal alignments. Experimental results on WMT’14 EnglishGerman, WAT’17 JapaneseEnglish, and WMT’17 ChineseEnglish translation tasks demonstrate that our approach significantly and consistently improves translation quality over strong baselines. Extensive analyses confirm that the performance gains come from the cross-lingual information.

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Context-Aware Cross-Attention for Non-Autoregressive Translation
Liang Ding | Longyue Wang | Di Wu | Dacheng Tao | Zhaopeng Tu
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Non-autoregressive translation (NAT) significantly accelerates the inference process by predicting the entire target sequence. However, due to the lack of target dependency modelling in the decoder, the conditional generation process heavily depends on the cross-attention. In this paper, we reveal a localness perception problem in NAT cross-attention, for which it is difficult to adequately capture source context. To alleviate this problem, we propose to enhance signals of neighbour source tokens into conventional cross-attention. Experimental results on several representative datasets show that our approach can consistently improve translation quality over strong NAT baselines. Extensive analyses demonstrate that the enhanced cross-attention achieves better exploitation of source contexts by leveraging both local and global information.

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SlotRefine: A Fast Non-Autoregressive Model for Joint Intent Detection and Slot Filling
Di Wu | Liang Ding | Fan Lu | Jian Xie
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Slot filling and intent detection are two main tasks in spoken language understanding (SLU) system. In this paper, we propose a novel non-autoregressive model named SlotRefine for joint intent detection and slot filling. Besides, we design a novel two-pass iteration mechanism to handle the uncoordinated slots problem caused by conditional independence of non-autoregressive model. Experiments demonstrate that our model significantly outperforms previous models in slot filling task, while considerably speeding up the decoding (up to x10.77). In-depth analysis show that 1) pretraining schemes could further enhance our model; 2) two-pass mechanism indeed remedy the uncoordinated slots.

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Tencent AI Lab Machine Translation Systems for WMT20 Chat Translation Task
Longyue Wang | Zhaopeng Tu | Xing Wang | Li Ding | Liang Ding | Shuming Shi
Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Machine Translation

This paper describes the Tencent AI Lab’s submission of the WMT 2020 shared task on chat translation in English-German. Our neural machine translation (NMT) systems are built on sentence-level, document-level, non-autoregressive (NAT) and pretrained models. We integrate a number of advanced techniques into our systems, including data selection, back/forward translation, larger batch learning, model ensemble, finetuning as well as system combination. Specifically, we proposed a hybrid data selection method to select high-quality and in-domain sentences from out-of-domain data. To better capture the source contexts, we exploit to augment NAT models with evolved cross-attention. Furthermore, we explore to transfer general knowledge from four different pre-training language models to the downstream translation task. In general, we present extensive experimental results for this new translation task. Among all the participants, our German-to-English primary system is ranked the second in terms of BLEU scores.

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Zero-Shot Translation Quality Estimation with Explicit Cross-Lingual Patterns
Lei Zhou | Liang Ding | Koichi Takeda
Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Machine Translation

This paper describes our submission of the WMT 2020 Shared Task on Sentence Level Direct Assessment, Quality Estimation (QE). In this study, we empirically reveal the mismatching issue when directly adopting BERTScore (Zhang et al., 2020) to QE. Specifically, there exist lots of mismatching errors between source sentence and translated candidate sentence with token pairwise similarity. In response to this issue, we propose to expose explicit cross lingual patterns, e.g. word alignments and generation score, to our proposed zero-shot models. Experiments show that our proposed QE model with explicit cross-lingual patterns could alleviate the mismatching issue, thereby improving the performance. Encouragingly, our zero-shot QE method could achieve comparable performance with supervised QE method, and even outperforms the supervised counterpart on 2 out of 6 directions. We expect our work could shed light on the zero-shot QE model improvement.

2019

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The University of Sydney’s Machine Translation System for WMT19
Liang Ding | Dacheng Tao
Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Machine Translation (Volume 2: Shared Task Papers, Day 1)

This paper describes the University of Sydney’s submission of the WMT 2019 shared news translation task. We participated in the Finnish->English direction and got the best BLEU(33.0) score among all the participants. Our system is based on the self-attentional Transformer networks, into which we integrated the most recent effective strategies from academic research (e.g., BPE, back translation, multi-features data selection, data augmentation, greedy model ensemble, reranking, ConMBR system combination, and postprocessing). Furthermore, we propose a novel augmentation method Cycle Translation and a data mixture strategy Big/Small parallel construction to entirely exploit the synthetic corpus. Extensive experiments show that adding the above techniques can make continuous improvements of the BLEU scores, and the best result outperforms the baseline (Transformer ensemble model trained with the original parallel corpus) by approximately 5.3 BLEU score, achieving the state-of-the-art performance.