Manuel Mager


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Proceedings of the Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas (AmericasNLP)
Manuel Mager | Abteen Ebrahimi | Arturo Oncevay | Enora Rice | Shruti Rijhwani | Alexis Palmer | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas (AmericasNLP)

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Neural Machine Translation for the Indigenous Languages of the Americas: An Introduction
Manuel Mager | Rajat Bhatnagar | Graham Neubig | Ngoc Thang Vu | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas (AmericasNLP)

Neural models have drastically advanced state of the art for machine translation (MT) between high-resource languages. Traditionally, these models rely on large amounts of training data, but many language pairs lack these resources. However, an important part of the languages in the world do not have this amount of data. Most languages from the Americas are among them, having a limited amount of parallel and monolingual data, if any. Here, we present an introduction to the interested reader to the basic challenges, concepts, and techniques that involve the creation of MT systems for these languages. Finally, we discuss the recent advances and findings and open questions, product of an increased interest of the NLP community in these languages.

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Findings of the AmericasNLP 2023 Shared Task on Machine Translation into Indigenous Languages
Abteen Ebrahimi | Manuel Mager | Shruti Rijhwani | Enora Rice | Arturo Oncevay | Claudia Baltazar | María Cortés | Cynthia Montaño | John E. Ortega | Rolando Coto-solano | Hilaria Cruz | Alexis Palmer | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas (AmericasNLP)

In this work, we present the results of the AmericasNLP 2023 Shared Task on Machine Translation into Indigenous Languages of the Americas. This edition of the shared task featured eleven language pairs, one of which – Chatino-Spanish – uses a newly collected evaluation dataset, consisting of professionally translated text from the legal domain. Seven teams participated in the shared task, with a total of 181 submissions. Additionally, we conduct a human evaluation of the best system outputs, and compare them to the best submissions from the prior shared task. We find that this analysis agrees with the quantitative measures used to rank submissions, which shows further improvements of 9.64 ChrF on average across all languages, when compared to the prior winning system.

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Ethical Considerations for Machine Translation of Indigenous Languages: Giving a Voice to the Speakers
Manuel Mager | Elisabeth Mager | Katharina Kann | Ngoc Thang Vu
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In recent years machine translation has become very successful for high-resource language pairs. This has also sparked new interest in research on the automatic translation of low-resource languages, including Indigenous languages. However, the latter are deeply related to the ethnic and cultural groups that speak (or used to speak) them. The data collection, modeling and deploying machine translation systems thus result in new ethical questions that must be addressed. Motivated by this, we first survey the existing literature on ethical considerations for the documentation, translation, and general natural language processing for Indigenous languages. Afterward, we conduct and analyze an interview study to shed light on the positions of community leaders, teachers, and language activists regarding ethical concerns for the automatic translation of their languages. Our results show that the inclusion, at different degrees, of native speakers and community members is vital to performing better and more ethical research on Indigenous languages.

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Exploring Segmentation Approaches for Neural Machine Translation of Code-Switched Egyptian Arabic-English Text
Marwa Gaser | Manuel Mager | Injy Hamed | Nizar Habash | Slim Abdennadher | Ngoc Thang Vu
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Data sparsity is one of the main challenges posed by code-switching (CS), which is further exacerbated in the case of morphologically rich languages. For the task of machine translation (MT), morphological segmentation has proven successful in alleviating data sparsity in monolingual contexts; however, it has not been investigated for CS settings. In this paper, we study the effectiveness of different segmentation approaches on MT performance, covering morphology-based and frequency-based segmentation techniques. We experiment on MT from code-switched Arabic-English to English. We provide detailed analysis, examining a variety of conditions, such as data size and sentences with different degrees of CS. Empirical results show that morphology-aware segmenters perform the best in segmentation tasks but under-perform in MT. Nevertheless, we find that the choice of the segmentation setup to use for MT is highly dependent on the data size. For extreme low-resource scenarios, a combination of frequency and morphology-based segmentations is shown to perform the best. For more resourced settings, such a combination does not bring significant improvements over the use of frequency-based segmentation.


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AmericasNLI: Evaluating Zero-shot Natural Language Understanding of Pretrained Multilingual Models in Truly Low-resource Languages
Abteen Ebrahimi | Manuel Mager | Arturo Oncevay | Vishrav Chaudhary | Luis Chiruzzo | Angela Fan | John Ortega | Ricardo Ramos | Annette Rios | Ivan Vladimir Meza Ruiz | Gustavo Giménez-Lugo | Elisabeth Mager | Graham Neubig | Alexis Palmer | Rolando Coto-Solano | Thang Vu | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Pretrained multilingual models are able to perform cross-lingual transfer in a zero-shot setting, even for languages unseen during pretraining. However, prior work evaluating performance on unseen languages has largely been limited to low-level, syntactic tasks, and it remains unclear if zero-shot learning of high-level, semantic tasks is possible for unseen languages. To explore this question, we present AmericasNLI, an extension of XNLI (Conneau et al., 2018) to 10 Indigenous languages of the Americas. We conduct experiments with XLM-R, testing multiple zero-shot and translation-based approaches. Additionally, we explore model adaptation via continued pretraining and provide an analysis of the dataset by considering hypothesis-only models. We find that XLM-R’s zero-shot performance is poor for all 10 languages, with an average performance of 38.48%. Continued pretraining offers improvements, with an average accuracy of 43.85%. Surprisingly, training on poorly translated data by far outperforms all other methods with an accuracy of 49.12%.

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BPE vs. Morphological Segmentation: A Case Study on Machine Translation of Four Polysynthetic Languages
Manuel Mager | Arturo Oncevay | Elisabeth Mager | Katharina Kann | Thang Vu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Morphologically-rich polysynthetic languages present a challenge for NLP systems due to data sparsity, and a common strategy to handle this issue is to apply subword segmentation. We investigate a wide variety of supervised and unsupervised morphological segmentation methods for four polysynthetic languages: Nahuatl, Raramuri, Shipibo-Konibo, and Wixarika. Then, we compare the morphologically inspired segmentation methods against Byte-Pair Encodings (BPEs) as inputs for machine translation (MT) when translating to and from Spanish. We show that for all language pairs except for Nahuatl, an unsupervised morphological segmentation algorithm outperforms BPEs consistently and that, although supervised methods achieve better segmentation scores, they under-perform in MT challenges. Finally, we contribute two new morphological segmentation datasets for Raramuri and Shipibo-Konibo, and a parallel corpus for Raramuri–Spanish.


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Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas
Manuel Mager | Arturo Oncevay | Annette Rios | Ivan Vladimir Meza Ruiz | Alexis Palmer | Graham Neubig | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas

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Findings of the AmericasNLP 2021 Shared Task on Open Machine Translation for Indigenous Languages of the Americas
Manuel Mager | Arturo Oncevay | Abteen Ebrahimi | John Ortega | Annette Rios | Angela Fan | Ximena Gutierrez-Vasques | Luis Chiruzzo | Gustavo Giménez-Lugo | Ricardo Ramos | Ivan Vladimir Meza Ruiz | Rolando Coto-Solano | Alexis Palmer | Elisabeth Mager-Hois | Vishrav Chaudhary | Graham Neubig | Ngoc Thang Vu | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas

This paper presents the results of the 2021 Shared Task on Open Machine Translation for Indigenous Languages of the Americas. The shared task featured two independent tracks, and participants submitted machine translation systems for up to 10 indigenous languages. Overall, 8 teams participated with a total of 214 submissions. We provided training sets consisting of data collected from various sources, as well as manually translated sentences for the development and test sets. An official baseline trained on this data was also provided. Team submissions featured a variety of architectures, including both statistical and neural models, and for the majority of languages, many teams were able to considerably improve over the baseline. The best performing systems achieved 12.97 ChrF higher than baseline, when averaged across languages.

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IMS’ Systems for the IWSLT 2021 Low-Resource Speech Translation Task
Pavel Denisov | Manuel Mager | Ngoc Thang Vu
Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation (IWSLT 2021)

This paper describes the submission to the IWSLT 2021 Low-Resource Speech Translation Shared Task by IMS team. We utilize state-of-the-art models combined with several data augmentation, multi-task and transfer learning approaches for the automatic speech recognition (ASR) and machine translation (MT) steps of our cascaded system. Moreover, we also explore the feasibility of a full end-to-end speech translation (ST) model in the case of very constrained amount of ground truth labeled data. Our best system achieves the best performance among all submitted systems for Congolese Swahili to English and French with BLEU scores 7.7 and 13.7 respectively, and the second best result for Coastal Swahili to English with BLEU score 14.9.


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GPT-too: A Language-Model-First Approach for AMR-to-Text Generation
Manuel Mager | Ramón Fernandez Astudillo | Tahira Naseem | Md Arafat Sultan | Young-Suk Lee | Radu Florian | Salim Roukos
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Abstract Meaning Representations (AMRs) are broad-coverage sentence-level semantic graphs. Existing approaches to generating text from AMR have focused on training sequence-to-sequence or graph-to-sequence models on AMR annotated data only. In this paper, we propose an alternative approach that combines a strong pre-trained language model with cycle consistency-based re-scoring. Despite the simplicity of the approach, our experimental results show these models outperform all previous techniques on the English LDC2017T10 dataset, including the recent use of transformer architectures. In addition to the standard evaluation metrics, we provide human evaluation experiments that further substantiate the strength of our approach.

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The IMSCUBoulder System for the SIGMORPHON 2020 Shared Task on Unsupervised Morphological Paradigm Completion
Manuel Mager | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the 17th SIGMORPHON Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology

In this paper, we present the systems of the University of Stuttgart IMS and the University of Colorado Boulder (IMS–CUBoulder) for SIGMORPHON 2020 Task 2 on unsupervised morphological paradigm completion (Kann et al., 2020). The task consists of generating the morphological paradigms of a set of lemmas, given only the lemmas themselves and unlabeled text. Our proposed system is a modified version of the baseline introduced together with the task. In particular, we experiment with substituting the inflection generation component with an LSTM sequence-to-sequence model and an LSTM pointer-generator network. Our pointer-generator system obtains the best score of all seven submitted systems on average over all languages, and outperforms the official baseline, which was best overall, on Bulgarian and Kannada.

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Tackling the Low-resource Challenge for Canonical Segmentation
Manuel Mager | Özlem Çetinoğlu | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Canonical morphological segmentation consists of dividing words into their standardized morphemes. Here, we are interested in approaches for the task when training data is limited. We compare model performance in a simulated low-resource setting for the high-resource languages German, English, and Indonesian to experiments on new datasets for the truly low-resource languages Popoluca and Tepehua. We explore two new models for the task, borrowing from the closely related area of morphological generation: an LSTM pointer-generator and a sequence-to-sequence model with hard monotonic attention trained with imitation learning. We find that, in the low-resource setting, the novel approaches out-perform existing ones on all languages by up to 11.4% accuracy. However, while accuracy in emulated low-resource scenarios is over 50% for all languages, for the truly low-resource languages Popoluca and Tepehua, our best model only obtains 37.4% and 28.4% accuracy, respectively. Thus, we conclude that canonical segmentation is still a challenging task for low-resource languages.


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Subword-Level Language Identification for Intra-Word Code-Switching
Manuel Mager | Özlem Çetinoğlu | Katharina Kann
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)

Language identification for code-switching (CS), the phenomenon of alternating between two or more languages in conversations, has traditionally been approached under the assumption of a single language per token. However, if at least one language is morphologically rich, a large number of words can be composed of morphemes from more than one language (intra-word CS). In this paper, we extend the language identification task to the subword-level, such that it includes splitting mixed words while tagging each part with a language ID. We further propose a model for this task, which is based on a segmental recurrent neural network. In experiments on a new Spanish–Wixarika dataset and on an adapted German–Turkish dataset, our proposed model performs slightly better than or roughly on par with our best baseline, respectively. Considering only mixed words, however, it strongly outperforms all baselines.


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Lost in Translation: Analysis of Information Loss During Machine Translation Between Polysynthetic and Fusional Languages
Manuel Mager | Elisabeth Mager | Alfonso Medina-Urrea | Ivan Vladimir Meza Ruiz | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the Workshop on Computational Modeling of Polysynthetic Languages

Machine translation from polysynthetic to fusional languages is a challenging task, which gets further complicated by the limited amount of parallel text available. Thus, translation performance is far from the state of the art for high-resource and more intensively studied language pairs. To shed light on the phenomena which hamper automatic translation to and from polysynthetic languages, we study translations from three low-resource, polysynthetic languages (Nahuatl, Wixarika and Yorem Nokki) into Spanish and vice versa. Doing so, we find that in a morpheme-to-morpheme alignment an important amount of information contained in polysynthetic morphemes has no Spanish counterpart, and its translation is often omitted. We further conduct a qualitative analysis and, thus, identify morpheme types that are commonly hard to align or ignored in the translation process.

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Challenges of language technologies for the indigenous languages of the Americas
Manuel Mager | Ximena Gutierrez-Vasques | Gerardo Sierra | Ivan Meza-Ruiz
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Indigenous languages of the American continent are highly diverse. However, they have received little attention from the technological perspective. In this paper, we review the research, the digital resources and the available NLP systems that focus on these languages. We present the main challenges and research questions that arise when distant languages and low-resource scenarios are faced. We would like to encourage NLP research in linguistically rich and diverse areas like the Americas.