Models that perform well on a training domain often fail to generalize to out-of-domain (OOD) examples. Data augmentation is a common method used to prevent overfitting and improve OOD generalization. However, in natural language, it is difficult to generate new examples that stay on the underlying data manifold. We introduce SSMBA, a data augmentation method for generating synthetic training examples by using a pair of corruption and reconstruction functions to move randomly on a data manifold. We investigate the use of SSMBA in the natural language domain, leveraging the manifold assumption to reconstruct corrupted text with masked language models. In experiments on robustness benchmarks across 3 tasks and 9 datasets, SSMBA consistently outperforms existing data augmentation methods and baseline models on both in-domain and OOD data, achieving gains of 0.8% on OOD Amazon reviews, 1.8% accuracy on OOD MNLI, and 1.4 BLEU on in-domain IWSLT14 German-English.
This paper describes Facebook FAIR’s submission to the WMT19 shared news translation task. We participate in four language directions, English <-> German and English <-> Russian in both directions. Following our submission from last year, our baseline systems are large BPE-based transformer models trained with the FAIRSEQ sequence modeling toolkit. This year we experiment with different bitext data filtering schemes, as well as with adding filtered back-translated data. We also ensemble and fine-tune our models on domain-specific data, then decode using noisy channel model reranking. Our system improves on our previous system’s performance by 4.5 BLEU points and achieves the best case-sensitive BLEU score for the translation direction English→Russian.