Niccolò Campolungo


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DMLM: Descriptive Masked Language Modeling
Edoardo Barba | Niccolò Campolungo | Roberto Navigli
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Over the last few years, Masked Language Modeling (MLM) pre-training has resulted in remarkable advancements in many Natural Language Understanding (NLU) tasks, which sparked an interest in researching alternatives and extensions to the MLM objective. In this paper, we tackle the absence of explicit semantic grounding in MLM and propose Descriptive Masked Language Modeling (DMLM), a knowledge-enhanced reading comprehension objective, where the model is required to predict the most likely word in a context, being provided with the word’s definition. For instance, given the sentence “I was going to the _”, if we provided as definition “financial institution”, the model would have to predict the word “bank”; if, instead, we provided “sandy seashore”, the model should predict “beach”. Our evaluation highlights the effectiveness of DMLM in comparison with standard MLM, showing improvements on a number of well-established NLU benchmarks, as well as other semantics-focused tasks, e.g., Semantic Role Labeling. Furthermore, we demonstrate how it is possible to take full advantage of DMLM to embed explicit semantics in downstream tasks, explore several properties of DMLM-based contextual representations and suggest a number of future directions to investigate.


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DiBiMT: A Novel Benchmark for Measuring Word Sense Disambiguation Biases in Machine Translation
Niccolò Campolungo | Federico Martelli | Francesco Saina | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Lexical ambiguity poses one of the greatest challenges in the field of Machine Translation. Over the last few decades, multiple efforts have been undertaken to investigate incorrect translations caused by the polysemous nature of words. Within this body of research, some studies have posited that models pick up semantic biases existing in the training data, thus producing translation errors. In this paper, we present DiBiMT, the first entirely manually-curated evaluation benchmark which enables an extensive study of semantic biases in Machine Translation of nominal and verbal words in five different language combinations, namely, English and one or other of the following languages: Chinese, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. Furthermore, we test state-of-the-art Machine Translation systems, both commercial and non-commercial ones, against our new test bed and provide a thorough statistical and linguistic analysis of the results. We release DiBiMT at as a closed benchmark with a public leaderboard.

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MaTESe: Machine Translation Evaluation as a Sequence Tagging Problem
Stefano Perrella | Lorenzo Proietti | Alessandro Scirè | Niccolò Campolungo | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Machine Translation (WMT)

Starting from last year, WMT human evaluation has been performed within the Multidimensional Quality Metrics (MQM) framework, where human annotators are asked to identify error spans in translations, alongside an error category and a severity. In this paper, we describe our submission to the WMT 2022 Metrics Shared Task, where we propose using the same paradigm for automatic evaluation: we present the MaTESe metrics, which reframe machine translation evaluation as a sequence tagging problem. Our submission also includes a reference-free metric, denominated MaTESe-QE. Despite the paucity of the openly available MQM data, our metrics obtain promising results, showing high levels of correlation with human judgements, while also enabling an evaluation that is interpretable. Moreover, MaTESe-QE can also be employed in settings where it is infeasible to curate reference translations manually.

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Reducing Disambiguation Biases in NMT by Leveraging Explicit Word Sense Information
Niccolò Campolungo | Tommaso Pasini | Denis Emelin | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent studies have shed some light on a common pitfall of Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models, stemming from their struggle to disambiguate polysemous words without lapsing into their most frequently occurring senses in the training corpus. In this paper, we first provide a novel approach for automatically creating high-precision sense-annotated parallel corpora, and then put forward a specifically tailored fine-tuning strategy for exploiting these sense annotations during training without introducing any additional requirement at inference time. The use of explicit senses proved to be beneficial to reduce the disambiguation bias of a baseline NMT model, while, at the same time, leading our system to attain higher BLEU scores than its vanilla counterpart in 3 language pairs.


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IR like a SIR: Sense-enhanced Information Retrieval for Multiple Languages
Rexhina Blloshmi | Tommaso Pasini | Niccolò Campolungo | Somnath Banerjee | Roberto Navigli | Gabriella Pasi
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

With the advent of contextualized embeddings, attention towards neural ranking approaches for Information Retrieval increased considerably. However, two aspects have remained largely neglected: i) queries usually consist of few keywords only, which increases ambiguity and makes their contextualization harder, and ii) performing neural ranking on non-English documents is still cumbersome due to shortage of labeled datasets. In this paper we present SIR (Sense-enhanced Information Retrieval) to mitigate both problems by leveraging word sense information. At the core of our approach lies a novel multilingual query expansion mechanism based on Word Sense Disambiguation that provides sense definitions as additional semantic information for the query. Importantly, we use senses as a bridge across languages, thus allowing our model to perform considerably better than its supervised and unsupervised alternatives across French, German, Italian and Spanish languages on several CLEF benchmarks, while being trained on English Robust04 data only. We release SIR at

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WikiNEuRal: Combined Neural and Knowledge-based Silver Data Creation for Multilingual NER
Simone Tedeschi | Valentino Maiorca | Niccolò Campolungo | Francesco Cecconi | Roberto Navigli
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Multilingual Named Entity Recognition (NER) is a key intermediate task which is needed in many areas of NLP. In this paper, we address the well-known issue of data scarcity in NER, especially relevant when moving to a multilingual scenario, and go beyond current approaches to the creation of multilingual silver data for the task. We exploit the texts of Wikipedia and introduce a new methodology based on the effective combination of knowledge-based approaches and neural models, together with a novel domain adaptation technique, to produce high-quality training corpora for NER. We evaluate our datasets extensively on standard benchmarks for NER, yielding substantial improvements up to 6 span-based F1-score points over previous state-of-the-art systems for data creation.