Neha Verma


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Multilingual Pixel Representations for Translation and Effective Cross-lingual Transfer
Elizabeth Salesky | Neha Verma | Philipp Koehn | Matt Post
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We introduce and demonstrate how to effectively train multilingual machine translation models with pixel representations. We experiment with two different data settings with a variety of language and script coverage, demonstrating improved performance compared to subword embeddings. We explore various properties of pixel representations such as parameter sharing within and across scripts to better understand where they lead to positive transfer. We observe that these properties not only enable seamless cross-lingual transfer to unseen scripts, but make pixel representations more data-efficient than alternatives such as vocabulary expansion. We hope this work contributes to more extensible multilingual models for all languages and scripts.

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JHU IWSLT 2023 Dialect Speech Translation System Description
Amir Hussein | Cihan Xiao | Neha Verma | Thomas Thebaud | Matthew Wiesner | Sanjeev Khudanpur
Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation (IWSLT 2023)

This paper presents JHU’s submissions to the IWSLT 2023 dialectal and low-resource track of Tunisian Arabic to English speech translation. The Tunisian dialect lacks formal orthography and abundant training data, making it challenging to develop effective speech translation (ST) systems. To address these challenges, we explore the integration of large pre-trained machine translation (MT) models, such as mBART and NLLB-200 in both end-to-end (E2E) and cascaded speech translation (ST) systems. We also improve the performance of automatic speech recognition (ASR) through the use of pseudo-labeling data augmentation and channel matching on telephone data. Finally, we combine our E2E and cascaded ST systems with Minimum Bayes-Risk decoding. Our combined system achieves a BLEU score of 21.6 and 19.1 on test2 and test3, respectively.

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JHU IWSLT 2023 Multilingual Speech Translation System Description
Henry Li Xinyuan | Neha Verma | Bismarck Bamfo Odoom | Ujvala Pradeep | Matthew Wiesner | Sanjeev Khudanpur
Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation (IWSLT 2023)

We describe the Johns Hopkins ACL 60-60 Speech Translation systems submitted to the IWSLT 2023 Multilingual track, where we were tasked to translate ACL presentations from English into 10 languages. We developed cascaded speech translation systems for both the constrained and unconstrained subtracks. Our systems make use of pre-trained models as well as domain-specific corpora for this highly technical evaluation-only task. We find that the specific technical domain which ACL presentations fall into presents a unique challenge for both ASR and MT, and we present an error analysis and an ACL-specific corpus we produced to enable further work in this area.


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Strategies for Adapting Multilingual Pre-training for Domain-Specific Machine Translation
Neha Verma | Kenton Murray | Kevin Duh
Proceedings of the 15th biennial conference of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas (Volume 1: Research Track)

Pretrained multilingual sequence-to-sequence models have been successful in improving translation performance for mid- and lower-resourced languages. However, it is unclear if these models are helpful in the domain adaptation setting, and if so, how to best adapt them to both the domain and translation language pair. Therefore, in this work, we propose two major fine-tuning strategies: our language-first approach first learns the translation language pair via general bitext, followed by the domain via in-domain bitext, and our domain-first approach first learns the domain via multilingual in-domain bitext, followed by the language pair via language pair-specific in-domain bitext. We test our approach on 3 domains at different levels of data availability, and 5 language pairs. We find that models using an mBART initialization generally outperform those using a random Transformer initialization. This holds for languages even outside of mBART’s pretraining set, and can result in improvements of over +10 BLEU. Additionally, we find that via our domain-first approach, fine-tuning across multilingual in-domain corpora can lead to stark improvements in domain adaptation without sourcing additional out-of-domain bitext. In larger domain availability settings, our domain-first approach can be competitive with our language-first approach, even when using over 50X less data.

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FeTaQA: Free-form Table Question Answering
Linyong Nan | Chiachun Hsieh | Ziming Mao | Xi Victoria Lin | Neha Verma | Rui Zhang | Wojciech Kryściński | Hailey Schoelkopf | Riley Kong | Xiangru Tang | Mutethia Mutuma | Ben Rosand | Isabel Trindade | Renusree Bandaru | Jacob Cunningham | Caiming Xiong | Dragomir Radev | Dragomir Radev
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

Existing table question answering datasets contain abundant factual questions that primarily evaluate a QA system’s comprehension of query and tabular data. However, restricted by their short-form answers, these datasets fail to include question–answer interactions that represent more advanced and naturally occurring information needs: questions that ask for reasoning and integration of information pieces retrieved from a structured knowledge source. To complement the existing datasets and to reveal the challenging nature of the table-based question answering task, we introduce FeTaQA, a new dataset with 10K Wikipedia-based table, question, free-form answer, supporting table cells pairs. FeTaQA is collected from noteworthy descriptions of Wikipedia tables that contain information people tend to seek; generation of these descriptions requires advanced processing that humans perform on a daily basis: Understand the question and table, retrieve, integrate, infer, and conduct text planning and surface realization to generate an answer. We provide two benchmark methods for the proposed task: a pipeline method based on semantic parsing-based QA systems and an end-to-end method based on large pretrained text generation models, and show that FeTaQA poses a challenge for both methods.

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IsoVec: Controlling the Relative Isomorphism of Word Embedding Spaces
Kelly Marchisio | Neha Verma | Kevin Duh | Philipp Koehn
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The ability to extract high-quality translation dictionaries from monolingual word embedding spaces depends critically on the geometric similarity of the spaces—their degree of “isomorphism.” We address the root-cause of faulty cross-lingual mapping: that word embedding training resulted in the underlying spaces being non-isomorphic. We incorporate global measures of isomorphism directly into the skipgram loss function, successfully increasing the relative isomorphism of trained word embedding spaces and improving their ability to be mapped to a shared cross-lingual space. The result is improved bilingual lexicon induction in general data conditions, under domain mismatch, and with training algorithm dissimilarities. We release IsoVec at


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DART: Open-Domain Structured Data Record to Text Generation
Linyong Nan | Dragomir Radev | Rui Zhang | Amrit Rau | Abhinand Sivaprasad | Chiachun Hsieh | Xiangru Tang | Aadit Vyas | Neha Verma | Pranav Krishna | Yangxiaokang Liu | Nadia Irwanto | Jessica Pan | Faiaz Rahman | Ahmad Zaidi | Mutethia Mutuma | Yasin Tarabar | Ankit Gupta | Tao Yu | Yi Chern Tan | Xi Victoria Lin | Caiming Xiong | Richard Socher | Nazneen Fatema Rajani
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

We present DART, an open domain structured DAta Record to Text generation dataset with over 82k instances (DARTs). Data-to-text annotations can be a costly process, especially when dealing with tables which are the major source of structured data and contain nontrivial structures. To this end, we propose a procedure of extracting semantic triples from tables that encodes their structures by exploiting the semantic dependencies among table headers and the table title. Our dataset construction framework effectively merged heterogeneous sources from open domain semantic parsing and spoken dialogue systems by utilizing techniques including tree ontology annotation, question-answer pair to declarative sentence conversion, and predicate unification, all with minimum post-editing. We present systematic evaluation on DART as well as new state-of-the-art results on WebNLG 2017 to show that DART (1) poses new challenges to existing data-to-text datasets and (2) facilitates out-of-domain generalization. Our data and code can be found at


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Improving Low-Resource Cross-lingual Document Retrieval by Reranking with Deep Bilingual Representations
Rui Zhang | Caitlin Westerfield | Sungrok Shim | Garrett Bingham | Alexander Fabbri | William Hu | Neha Verma | Dragomir Radev
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In this paper, we propose to boost low-resource cross-lingual document retrieval performance with deep bilingual query-document representations. We match queries and documents in both source and target languages with four components, each of which is implemented as a term interaction-based deep neural network with cross-lingual word embeddings as input. By including query likelihood scores as extra features, our model effectively learns to rerank the retrieved documents by using a small number of relevance labels for low-resource language pairs. Due to the shared cross-lingual word embedding space, the model can also be directly applied to another language pair without any training label. Experimental results on the Material dataset show that our model outperforms the competitive translation-based baselines on English-Swahili, English-Tagalog, and English-Somali cross-lingual information retrieval tasks.