Machel Reid


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On the Role of Parallel Data in Cross-lingual Transfer Learning
Machel Reid | Mikel Artetxe
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

While prior work has established that the use of parallel data is conducive for cross-lingual learning, it is unclear if the improvements come from the data itself, or if it is the modeling of parallel interactions that matters. Exploring this, we examine the usage of unsupervised machine translation to generate synthetic parallel data, and compare it to supervised machine translation and gold parallel data. We find that even model generated parallel data can be useful for downstream tasks, in both a general setting (continued pretraining) as well as the task-specific setting (translate-train), although our best results are still obtained using real parallel data. Our findings suggest that existing multilingual models do not exploit the full potential of monolingual data, and prompt the community to reconsider the traditional categorization of cross-lingual learning approaches.

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mmT5: Modular Multilingual Pre-Training Solves Source Language Hallucinations
Jonas Pfeiffer | Francesco Piccinno | Massimo Nicosia | Xinyi Wang | Machel Reid | Sebastian Ruder
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Multilingual sequence-to-sequence models perform poorly with increased language coverage and fail to consistently generate text in the correct target language in few-shot settings. To address these challenges, we propose mmT5, a modular multilingual sequence-to-sequence model. mmT5 utilizes language-specific modules during pre-training, which disentangle language-specific information from language-agnostic information. We identify representation drift during fine-tuning as a key limitation of modular generative models and develop strategies that enable effective zero-shot transfer. Our model outperforms mT5 at the same parameter sizes by a large margin on representative natural language understanding and generation tasks in 40+ languages. Compared to mT5, mmT5 raises the rate of generating text in the correct language under zero-shot settings from 7% to 99%, thereby greatly alleviating the source language hallucination problem.

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Edit Aware Representation Learning via Levenshtein Prediction
Edison Marrese-taylor | Machel Reid | Alfredo Solano
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Insights from Negative Results in NLP


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M2D2: A Massively Multi-Domain Language Modeling Dataset
Machel Reid | Victor Zhong | Suchin Gururangan | Luke Zettlemoyer
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We present M2D2, a fine-grained, massively multi-domain corpus for studying domain adaptation in language models (LMs). M2D2 consists of 8.5B tokens and spans 145 domains extracted from Wikipedia and Semantic Scholar. Using ontologies derived from Wikipedia and ArXiv categories, we organize the domains in each data source into 22 groups. This two-level hierarchy enables the study of relationships between domains and their effects on in- and out-of-domain performance after adaptation. We also present a number of insights into the nature of effective domain adaptation in LMs, as examples of the new types of studies M2D2 enables. To improve in-domain performance, we show the benefits of adapting the LM along a domain hierarchy; adapting to smaller amounts of fine-grained domain-specific data can lead to larger in-domain performance gains than larger amounts of weakly relevant data. We further demonstrate a trade-off between in-domain specialization and out-of-domain generalization within and across ontologies, as well as a strong correlation between out-of-domain performance and lexical overlap between domains.

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On the Impact of Data Augmentation on Downstream Performance in Natural Language Processing
Itsuki Okimura | Machel Reid | Makoto Kawano | Yutaka Matsuo
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Insights from Negative Results in NLP

With in the broader scope of machine learning, data augmentation is a common strategy to improve generalization and robustness of machine learning models. While data augmentation has been widely used within computer vision, its use in the NLP has been been comparably rather limited. The reason for this is that within NLP, the impact of proposed data augmentation methods on performance has not been evaluated in a unified manner, and effective data augmentation methods are unclear. In this paper, we look to tackle this by evaluating the impact of 12 data augmentation methods on multiple datasets when finetuning pre-trained language models. We find minimal improvements when data sizes are constrained to a few thousand, with performance degradation when data size is increased. We also use various methods to quantify the strength of data augmentations, and find that these values, though weakly correlated with downstream performance, correlate negatively or positively depending on the task. Furthermore, we find a glaring lack of consistently performant data augmentations. This all alludes to the difficulty of data augmentations for NLP tasks and we are inclined to believe that static data augmentations are not broadly applicable given these properties.

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Learning to Model Editing Processes
Machel Reid | Graham Neubig
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Most existing sequence generation models produce outputs in one pass, usually left-to-right. However, this is in contrast with a more natural approach that humans use in generating content; iterative refinement and editing. Recent work has introduced edit-based models for various tasks (such as neural machine translation and text style transfer), but these generally model a single edit step. In this work, we propose modeling editing processes, modeling the whole process of iteratively generating sequences. We form a conceptual framework to describe the likelihood of multi-step edits, and describe neural models that can learn a generative model of sequences based on these multistep edits. We introduce baseline results and metrics on this task, finding that modeling editing processes improves performance on a variety of axes on both our proposed task and related downstream tasks compared to previous single-step models of edits.

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PARADISE: Exploiting Parallel Data for Multilingual Sequence-to-Sequence Pretraining
Machel Reid | Mikel Artetxe
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Despite the success of multilingual sequence-to-sequence pretraining, most existing approaches rely on monolingual corpora and do not make use of the strong cross-lingual signal contained in parallel data. In this paper, we present PARADISE (PARAllel &Denoising Integration in SEquence-to-sequence models), which extends the conventional denoising objective used to train these models by (i) replacing words in the noised sequence according to a multilingual dictionary, and (ii) predicting the reference translation according to a parallel corpus instead of recovering the original sequence. Our experiments on machine translation and cross-lingual natural language inference show an average improvement of 2.0 BLEU points and 6.7 accuracy points from integrating parallel data into pretraining, respectively, obtaining results that are competitive with several popular models at a fraction of their computational cost.

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A Few Thousand Translations Go a Long Way! Leveraging Pre-trained Models for African News Translation
David Adelani | Jesujoba Alabi | Angela Fan | Julia Kreutzer | Xiaoyu Shen | Machel Reid | Dana Ruiter | Dietrich Klakow | Peter Nabende | Ernie Chang | Tajuddeen Gwadabe | Freshia Sackey | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Chris Emezue | Colin Leong | Michael Beukman | Shamsuddeen Muhammad | Guyo Jarso | Oreen Yousuf | Andre Niyongabo Rubungo | Gilles Hacheme | Eric Peter Wairagala | Muhammad Umair Nasir | Benjamin Ajibade | Tunde Ajayi | Yvonne Gitau | Jade Abbott | Mohamed Ahmed | Millicent Ochieng | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Perez Ogayo | Jonathan Mukiibi | Fatoumata Ouoba Kabore | Godson Kalipe | Derguene Mbaye | Allahsera Auguste Tapo | Victoire Memdjokam Koagne | Edwin Munkoh-Buabeng | Valencia Wagner | Idris Abdulmumin | Ayodele Awokoya | Happy Buzaaba | Blessing Sibanda | Andiswa Bukula | Sam Manthalu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent advances in the pre-training for language models leverage large-scale datasets to create multilingual models. However, low-resource languages are mostly left out in these datasets. This is primarily because many widely spoken languages that are not well represented on the web and therefore excluded from the large-scale crawls for datasets. Furthermore, downstream users of these models are restricted to the selection of languages originally chosen for pre-training. This work investigates how to optimally leverage existing pre-trained models to create low-resource translation systems for 16 African languages. We focus on two questions: 1) How can pre-trained models be used for languages not included in the initial pretraining? and 2) How can the resulting translation models effectively transfer to new domains? To answer these questions, we create a novel African news corpus covering 16 languages, of which eight languages are not part of any existing evaluation dataset. We demonstrate that the most effective strategy for transferring both additional languages and additional domains is to leverage small quantities of high-quality translation data to fine-tune large pre-trained models.


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LEWIS: Levenshtein Editing for Unsupervised Text Style Transfer
Machel Reid | Victor Zhong
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Subformer: Exploring Weight Sharing for Parameter Efficiency in Generative Transformers
Machel Reid | Edison Marrese-Taylor | Yutaka Matsuo
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Transformers have shown improved performance when compared to previous architectures for sequence processing such as RNNs. Despite their sizeable performance gains, as recently suggested, the model is computationally expensive to train and with a high parameter budget. In light of this, we explore parameter-sharing methods in Transformers with a specific focus on generative models. We perform an analysis of different parameter sharing/reduction methods and develop the Subformer. Our model combines sandwich-style parameter sharing, which overcomes naive cross-layer parameter sharing in generative models, and self-attentive embedding factorization (SAFE). Experiments on machine translation, abstractive summarization and language modeling show that the Subformer can outperform the Transformer even when using significantly fewer parameters.

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Low-Resource Machine Translation Using Cross-Lingual Language Model Pretraining
Francis Zheng | Machel Reid | Edison Marrese-Taylor | Yutaka Matsuo
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas

This paper describes UTokyo’s submission to the AmericasNLP 2021 Shared Task on machine translation systems for indigenous languages of the Americas. We present a low-resource machine translation system that improves translation accuracy using cross-lingual language model pretraining. Our system uses an mBART implementation of fairseq to pretrain on a large set of monolingual data from a diverse set of high-resource languages before finetuning on 10 low-resource indigenous American languages: Aymara, Bribri, Asháninka, Guaraní, Wixarika, Náhuatl, Hñähñu, Quechua, Shipibo-Konibo, and Rarámuri. On average, our system achieved BLEU scores that were 1.64 higher and chrF scores that were 0.0749 higher than the baseline.

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AfroMT: Pretraining Strategies and Reproducible Benchmarks for Translation of 8 African Languages
Machel Reid | Junjie Hu | Graham Neubig | Yutaka Matsuo
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Reproducible benchmarks are crucial in driving progress of machine translation research. However, existing machine translation benchmarks have been mostly limited to high-resource or well-represented languages. Despite an increasing interest in low-resource machine translation, there are no standardized reproducible benchmarks for many African languages, many of which are used by millions of speakers but have less digitized textual data. To tackle these challenges, we propose AfroMT, a standardized, clean, and reproducible machine translation benchmark for eight widely spoken African languages. We also develop a suite of analysis tools for system diagnosis taking into account the unique properties of these languages. Furthermore, we explore the newly considered case of low-resource focused pretraining and develop two novel data augmentation-based strategies, leveraging word-level alignment information and pseudo-monolingual data for pretraining multilingual sequence-to-sequence models. We demonstrate significant improvements when pretraining on 11 languages, with gains of up to 2 BLEU points over strong baselines. We also show gains of up to 12 BLEU points over cross-lingual transfer baselines in data-constrained scenarios. All code and pretrained models will be released as further steps towards larger reproducible benchmarks for African languages.


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VCDM: Leveraging Variational Bi-encoding and Deep Contextualized Word Representations for Improved Definition Modeling
Machel Reid | Edison Marrese-Taylor | Yutaka Matsuo
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

In this paper, we tackle the task of definition modeling, where the goal is to learn to generate definitions of words and phrases. Existing approaches for this task are discriminative, combining distributional and lexical semantics in an implicit rather than direct way. To tackle this issue we propose a generative model for the task, introducing a continuous latent variable to explicitly model the underlying relationship between a phrase used within a context and its definition. We rely on variational inference for estimation and leverage contextualized word embeddings for improved performance. Our approach is evaluated on four existing challenging benchmarks with the addition of two new datasets, “Cambridge” and the first non-English corpus “Robert”, which we release to complement our empirical study. Our Variational Contextual Definition Modeler (VCDM) achieves state-of-the-art performance in terms of automatic and human evaluation metrics, demonstrating the effectiveness of our approach.