Michael Beukman


2023

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Analysing Cross-Lingual Transfer in Low-Resourced African Named Entity Recognition
Michael Beukman | Manuel Fokam
Proceedings of the 13th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing and the 3rd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

2022

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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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Separating Grains from the Chaff: Using Data Filtering to Improve Multilingual Translation for Low-Resourced African Languages
Idris Abdulmumin | Michael Beukman | Jesujoba Alabi | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Everlyn Chimoto | Tosin Adewumi | Shamsuddeen Muhammad | Mofetoluwa Adeyemi | Oreen Yousuf | Sahib Singh | Tajuddeen Gwadabe
Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Machine Translation (WMT)

We participated in the WMT 2022 Large-Scale Machine Translation Evaluation for the African Languages Shared Task. This work describes our approach, which is based on filtering the given noisy data using a sentence-pair classifier that was built by fine-tuning a pre-trained language model. To train the classifier, we obtain positive samples (i.e. high-quality parallel sentences) from a gold-standard curated dataset and extract negative samples (i.e. low-quality parallel sentences) from automatically aligned parallel data by choosing sentences with low alignment scores. Our final machine translation model was then trained on filtered data, instead of the entire noisy dataset. We empirically validate our approach by evaluating on two common datasets and show that data filtering generally improves overall translation quality, in some cases even significantly.

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MasakhaNER 2.0: Africa-centric Transfer Learning for Named Entity Recognition
David Adelani | Graham Neubig | Sebastian Ruder | Shruti Rijhwani | Michael Beukman | Chester Palen-Michel | Constantine Lignos | Jesujoba Alabi | Shamsuddeen Muhammad | Peter Nabende | Cheikh M. Bamba Dione | Andiswa Bukula | Rooweither Mabuya | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Blessing Sibanda | Happy Buzaaba | Jonathan Mukiibi | Godson Kalipe | Derguene Mbaye | Amelia Taylor | Fatoumata Kabore | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Perez Ogayo | Catherine Gitau | Edwin Munkoh-Buabeng | Victoire Memdjokam Koagne | Allahsera Auguste Tapo | Tebogo Macucwa | Vukosi Marivate | Mboning Tchiaze Elvis | Tajuddeen Gwadabe | Tosin Adewumi | Orevaoghene Ahia | Joyce Nakatumba-Nabende | Neo Lerato Mokono | Ignatius Ezeani | Chiamaka Chukwuneke | Mofetoluwa Oluwaseun Adeyemi | Gilles Quentin Hacheme | Idris Abdulmumin | Odunayo Ogundepo | Oreen Yousuf | Tatiana Moteu | Dietrich Klakow
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

African languages are spoken by over a billion people, but they are under-represented in NLP research and development. Multiple challenges exist, including the limited availability of annotated training and evaluation datasets as well as the lack of understanding of which settings, languages, and recently proposed methods like cross-lingual transfer will be effective. In this paper, we aim to move towards solutions for these challenges, focusing on the task of named entity recognition (NER). We present the creation of the largest to-date human-annotated NER dataset for 20 African languages. We study the behaviour of state-of-the-art cross-lingual transfer methods in an Africa-centric setting, empirically demonstrating that the choice of source transfer language significantly affects performance. While much previous work defaults to using English as the source language, our results show that choosing the best transfer language improves zero-shot F1 scores by an average of 14% over 20 languages as compared to using English.