Masoud Jalili Sabet


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Glot500: Scaling Multilingual Corpora and Language Models to 500 Languages
Ayyoob ImaniGooghari | Peiqin Lin | Amir Hossein Kargaran | Silvia Severini | Masoud Jalili Sabet | Nora Kassner | Chunlan Ma | Helmut Schmid | André Martins | François Yvon | Hinrich Schütze
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The NLP community has mainly focused on scaling Large Language Models (LLMs) vertically, i.e., making them better for about 100 languages. We instead scale LLMs horizontally: we create, through continued pretraining, Glot500-m, an LLM that covers 511 predominantly low-resource languages. An important part of this effort is to collect and clean Glot500-c, a corpus that covers these 511 languages and allows us to train Glot500-m. We evaluate Glot500-m on five diverse tasks across these languages. We observe large improvements for both high-resource and low-resource languages compared to an XLM-R baseline. Our analysis shows that no single factor explains the quality of multilingual LLM representations. Rather, a combination of factors determines quality including corpus size, script, “help” from related languages and the total capacity of the model. Our work addresses an important goal of NLP research: we should notlimit NLP to a small fraction of the world’s languages and instead strive to support as many languages as possible to bring the benefits of NLP technology to all languages and cultures. Code, data and models are available at


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Don’t Forget Cheap Training Signals Before Building Unsupervised Bilingual Word Embeddings
Silvia Severini | Viktor Hangya | Masoud Jalili Sabet | Alexander Fraser | Hinrich Schütze
Proceedings of the BUCC Workshop within LREC 2022

Bilingual Word Embeddings (BWEs) are one of the cornerstones of cross-lingual transfer of NLP models. They can be built using only monolingual corpora without supervision leading to numerous works focusing on unsupervised BWEs. However, most of the current approaches to build unsupervised BWEs do not compare their results with methods based on easy-to-access cross-lingual signals. In this paper, we argue that such signals should always be considered when developing unsupervised BWE methods. The two approaches we find most effective are: 1) using identical words as seed lexicons (which unsupervised approaches incorrectly assume are not available for orthographically distinct language pairs) and 2) combining such lexicons with pairs extracted by matching romanized versions of words with an edit distance threshold. We experiment on thirteen non-Latin languages (and English) and show that such cheap signals work well and that they outperform using more complex unsupervised methods on distant language pairs such as Chinese, Japanese, Kannada, Tamil, and Thai. In addition, they are even competitive with the use of high-quality lexicons in supervised approaches. Our results show that these training signals should not be neglected when building BWEs, even for distant languages.

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CaMEL: Case Marker Extraction without Labels
Leonie Weissweiler | Valentin Hofmann | Masoud Jalili Sabet | Hinrich Schuetze
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We introduce CaMEL (Case Marker Extraction without Labels), a novel and challenging task in computational morphology that is especially relevant for low-resource languages. We propose a first model for CaMEL that uses a massively multilingual corpus to extract case markers in 83 languages based only on a noun phrase chunker and an alignment system. To evaluate CaMEL, we automatically construct a silver standard from UniMorph. The case markers extracted by our model can be used to detect and visualise similarities and differences between the case systems of different languages as well as to annotate fine-grained deep cases in languages in which they are not overtly marked.

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Graph-Based Multilingual Label Propagation for Low-Resource Part-of-Speech Tagging
Ayyoob ImaniGooghari | Silvia Severini | Masoud Jalili Sabet | François Yvon | Hinrich Schütze
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Part-of-Speech (POS) tagging is an important component of the NLP pipeline, but many low-resource languages lack labeled data for training. An established method for training a POS tagger in such a scenario is to create a labeled training set by transferring from high-resource languages. In this paper, we propose a novel method for transferring labels from multiple high-resource source to low-resource target languages. We formalize POS tag projection as graph-based label propagation. Given translations of a sentence in multiple languages, we create a graph with words as nodes and alignment links as edges by aligning words for all language pairs. We then propagate node labels from source to target using a Graph Neural Network augmented with transformer layers. We show that our propagation creates training sets that allow us to train POS taggers for a diverse set of languages. When combined with enhanced contextualized embeddings, our method achieves a new state-of-the-art for unsupervised POS tagging of low-resource languages.

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Graph Neural Networks for Multiparallel Word Alignment
Ayyoob Imani | Lütfi Kerem Senel | Masoud Jalili Sabet | François Yvon | Hinrich Schuetze
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

After a period of decrease, interest in word alignments is increasing again for their usefulness in domains such as typological research, cross-lingual annotation projection and machine translation. Generally, alignment algorithms only use bitext and do not make use of the fact that many parallel corpora are multiparallel. Here, we compute high-quality word alignments between multiple language pairs by considering all language pairs together. First, we create a multiparallel word alignment graph, joining all bilingual word alignment pairs in one graph. Next, we use graph neural networks (GNNs) to exploit the graph structure. Our GNN approach (i) utilizes information about the meaning, position and language of the input words, (ii) incorporates information from multiple parallel sentences, (iii) adds and removes edges from the initial alignments, and (iv) yields a prediction model that can generalize beyond the training sentences. We show that community detection algorithms can provide valuable information for multiparallel word alignment. Our method outperforms previous work on three word alignment datasets and on a downstream task.


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ParCourE: A Parallel Corpus Explorer for a Massively Multilingual Corpus
Ayyoob ImaniGooghari | Masoud Jalili Sabet | Philipp Dufter | Michael Cysou | Hinrich Schütze
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

With more than 7000 languages worldwide, multilingual natural language processing (NLP) is essential both from an academic and commercial perspective. Researching typological properties of languages is fundamental for progress in multilingual NLP. Examples include assessing language similarity for effective transfer learning, injecting inductive biases into machine learning models or creating resources such as dictionaries and inflection tables. We provide ParCourE, an online tool that allows to browse a word-aligned parallel corpus, covering 1334 languages. We give evidence that this is useful for typological research. ParCourE can be set up for any parallel corpus and can thus be used for typological research on other corpora as well as for exploring their quality and properties.

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Graph Algorithms for Multiparallel Word Alignment
Ayyoob ImaniGooghari | Masoud Jalili Sabet | Lutfi Kerem Senel | Philipp Dufter | François Yvon | Hinrich Schütze
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

With the advent of end-to-end deep learning approaches in machine translation, interest in word alignments initially decreased; however, they have again become a focus of research more recently. Alignments are useful for typological research, transferring formatting like markup to translated texts, and can be used in the decoding of machine translation systems. At the same time, massively multilingual processing is becoming an important NLP scenario, and pretrained language and machine translation models that are truly multilingual are proposed. However, most alignment algorithms rely on bitexts only and do not leverage the fact that many parallel corpora are multiparallel. In this work, we exploit the multiparallelity of corpora by representing an initial set of bilingual alignments as a graph and then predicting additional edges in the graph. We present two graph algorithms for edge prediction: one inspired by recommender systems and one based on network link prediction. Our experimental results show absolute improvements in F1 of up to 28% over the baseline bilingual word aligner in different datasets.


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SimAlign: High Quality Word Alignments Without Parallel Training Data Using Static and Contextualized Embeddings
Masoud Jalili Sabet | Philipp Dufter | François Yvon | Hinrich Schütze
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Word alignments are useful for tasks like statistical and neural machine translation (NMT) and cross-lingual annotation projection. Statistical word aligners perform well, as do methods that extract alignments jointly with translations in NMT. However, most approaches require parallel training data and quality decreases as less training data is available. We propose word alignment methods that require no parallel data. The key idea is to leverage multilingual word embeddings – both static and contextualized – for word alignment. Our multilingual embeddings are created from monolingual data only without relying on any parallel data or dictionaries. We find that alignments created from embeddings are superior for four and comparable for two language pairs compared to those produced by traditional statistical aligners – even with abundant parallel data; e.g., contextualized embeddings achieve a word alignment F1 for English-German that is 5 percentage points higher than eflomal, a high-quality statistical aligner, trained on 100k parallel sentences.


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Learning to Weight Translations using Ordinal Linear Regression and Query-generated Training Data for Ad-hoc Retrieval with Long Queries
Javid Dadashkarimi | Masoud Jalili Sabet | Azadeh Shakery
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

Ordinal regression which is known with learning to rank has long been used in information retrieval (IR). Learning to rank algorithms, have been tailored in document ranking, information filtering, and building large aligned corpora successfully. In this paper, we propose to use this algorithm for query modeling in cross-language environments. To this end, first we build a query-generated training data using pseudo-relevant documents to the query and all translation candidates. The pseudo-relevant documents are obtained by top-ranked documents in response to a translation of the original query. The class of each candidate in the training data is determined based on presence/absence of the candidate in the pseudo-relevant documents. We learn an ordinal regression model to score the candidates based on their relevance to the context of the query, and after that, we construct a query-dependent translation model using a softmax function. Finally, we re-weight the query based on the obtained model. Experimental results on French, German, Spanish, and Italian CLEF collections demonstrate that the proposed method achieves better results compared to state-of-the-art cross-language information retrieval methods, particularly in long queries with large training data.

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Improving Word Alignment of Rare Words with Word Embeddings
Masoud Jalili Sabet | Heshaam Faili | Gholamreza Haffari
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

We address the problem of inducing word alignment for language pairs by developing an unsupervised model with the capability of getting applied to other generative alignment models. We approach the task by: i)proposing a new alignment model based on the IBM alignment model 1 that uses vector representation of words, and ii)examining the use of similar source words to overcome the problem of rare source words and improving the alignments. We apply our method to English-French corpora and run the experiments with different sizes of sentence pairs. Our results show competitive performance against the baseline and in some cases improve the results up to 6.9% in terms of precision.

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An Unsupervised Method for Automatic Translation Memory Cleaning
Masoud Jalili Sabet | Matteo Negri | Marco Turchi | Eduard Barbu
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

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TMop: a Tool for Unsupervised Translation Memory Cleaning
Masoud Jalili Sabet | Matteo Negri | Marco Turchi | José G. C. de Souza | Marcello Federico
Proceedings of ACL-2016 System Demonstrations