Nicolas Spring


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Exploring German Multi-Level Text Simplification
Nicolas Spring | Annette Rios | Sarah Ebling
Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2021)

We report on experiments in automatic text simplification (ATS) for German with multiple simplification levels along the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), simplifying standard German into levels A1, A2 and B1. For that purpose, we investigate the use of source labels and pretraining on standard German, allowing us to simplify standard language to a specific CEFR level. We show that these approaches are especially effective in low-resource scenarios, where we are able to outperform a standard transformer baseline. Moreover, we introduce copy labels, which we show can help the model make a distinction between sentences that require further modifications and sentences that can be copied as-is.

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A New Dataset and Efficient Baselines for Document-level Text Simplification in German
Annette Rios | Nicolas Spring | Tannon Kew | Marek Kostrzewa | Andreas Säuberli | Mathias Müller | Sarah Ebling
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on New Frontiers in Summarization

The task of document-level text simplification is very similar to summarization with the additional difficulty of reducing complexity. We introduce a newly collected data set of German texts, collected from the Swiss news magazine 20 Minuten (‘20 Minutes’) that consists of full articles paired with simplified summaries. Furthermore, we present experiments on automatic text simplification with the pretrained multilingual mBART and a modified version thereof that is more memory-friendly, using both our new data set and existing simplification corpora. Our modifications of mBART let us train at a lower memory cost without much loss in performance, in fact, the smaller mBART even improves over the standard model in a setting with multiple simplification levels.