Self-training has been shown to be helpful in addressing data scarcity for many domains, including vision, speech, and language. Specifically, self-training, or pseudo-labeling, labels unsupervised data and adds that to the training pool. In this work, we investigate and use pseudo-labeling for a recently proposed novel setup: joint transcription and translation of speech, which suffers from an absence of sufficient parallel data resources. We show that under such data-deficient circumstances, the unlabeled data can significantly vary in domain from the supervised data, which results in pseudo-label quality degradation. We investigate two categories of remedies that require no additional supervision and target the domain mismatch: pseudo-label filtering and data augmentation. We show that pseudo-label analysis and processing in this way results in additional gains on top of the vanilla pseudo-labeling setup providing a total improvement of up to 0.4% absolute WER and 2.1 BLEU points for En–De and 0.6% absolute WER and 2.2 BLEU points for En–Zh.
A recent family of techniques, dubbed lightweight fine-tuning methods, facilitates parameter-efficient transfer by updating only a small set of additional parameters while keeping the parameters of the original model frozen. While proven to be an effective approach, there are no existing studies on if and how such knowledge of the downstream fine-tuning approach calls for complementary measures after pre-training and before fine-tuning. In this work, we show that taking the ultimate choice of fine-tuning into consideration boosts the performance of parameter-efficient fine-tuning. By relying on optimization-based meta-learning using MAML with certain modifications for our distinct purpose, we prime the pre-trained model specifically for parameter-efficient fine-tuning, resulting in gains of up to 4.96 points on cross-lingual NER fine-tuning. Our ablation settings and analyses further reveal that the specific approach we take to meta-learning is crucial for the attained gains.
We study the power of cross-attention in the Transformer architecture within the context of transfer learning for machine translation, and extend the findings of studies into cross-attention when training from scratch. We conduct a series of experiments through fine-tuning a translation model on data where either the source or target language has changed. These experiments reveal that fine-tuning only the cross-attention parameters is nearly as effective as fine-tuning all parameters (i.e., the entire translation model). We provide insights into why this is the case and observe that limiting fine-tuning in this manner yields cross-lingually aligned embeddings. The implications of this finding for researchers and practitioners include a mitigation of catastrophic forgetting, the potential for zero-shot translation, and the ability to extend machine translation models to several new language pairs with reduced parameter storage overhead.
Despite the progress made in recent years in addressing natural language understanding (NLU) challenges, the majority of this progress remains to be concentrated on resource-rich languages like English. This work focuses on Persian language, one of the widely spoken languages in the world, and yet there are few NLU datasets available for this language. The availability of high-quality evaluation datasets is a necessity for reliable assessment of the progress on different NLU tasks and domains. We introduce ParsiNLU, the first benchmark in Persian language that includes a range of language understanding tasks—reading comprehension, textual entailment, and so on. These datasets are collected in a multitude of ways, often involving manual annotations by native speakers. This results in over 14.5k new instances across 6 distinct NLU tasks. Additionally, we present the first results on state-of-the-art monolingual and multilingual pre-trained language models on this benchmark and compare them with human performance, which provides valuable insights into our ability to tackle natural language understanding challenges in Persian. We hope ParsiNLU fosters further research and advances in Persian language understanding.1