Noëmi Aepli


2024

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Modular Adaptation of Multilingual Encoders to Written Swiss German Dialect
Jannis Vamvas | Noëmi Aepli | Rico Sennrich
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Modular and Open Multilingual NLP (MOOMIN 2024)

Creating neural text encoders for written Swiss German is challenging due to a dearth of training data combined with dialectal variation. In this paper, we build on several existing multilingual encoders and adapt them to Swiss German using continued pre-training. Evaluation on three diverse downstream tasks shows that simply adding a Swiss German adapter to a modular encoder achieves 97.5% of fully monolithic adaptation performance. We further find that for the task of retrieving Swiss German sentences given Standard German queries, adapting a character-level model is more effective than the other adaptation strategies. We release our code and the models trained for our experiments.

2023

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Findings of the VarDial Evaluation Campaign 2023
Noëmi Aepli | Çağrı Çöltekin | Rob Van Der Goot | Tommi Jauhiainen | Mourhaf Kazzaz | Nikola Ljubešić | Kai North | Barbara Plank | Yves Scherrer | Marcos Zampieri
Tenth Workshop on NLP for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects (VarDial 2023)

This report presents the results of the shared tasks organized as part of the VarDial Evaluation Campaign 2023. The campaign is part of the tenth workshop on Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects (VarDial), co-located with EACL 2023. Three separate shared tasks were included this year: Slot and intent detection for low-resource language varieties (SID4LR), Discriminating Between Similar Languages – True Labels (DSL-TL), and Discriminating Between Similar Languages – Speech (DSL-S). All three tasks were organized for the first time this year.

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Reducing Gender Bias in NMT with FUDGE
Tianshuai Lu | Noëmi Aepli | Annette Rios
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Gender-Inclusive Translation Technologies

Gender bias appears in many neural machine translation (NMT) models and commercial translation software. Research has become more aware of this problem in recent years and there has been work on mitigating gender bias. However, the challenge of addressing gender bias in NMT persists. This work utilizes a controlled text generation method, Future Discriminators for Generation (FUDGE), to reduce the so-called Speaking As gender bias. This bias emerges when translating from English to a language that openly marks the gender of the speaker. We evaluate the model on MuST-SHE, a challenge set to specifically evaluate gender translation. The results demonstrate improvements in the translation accuracy of the feminine terms.

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A Benchmark for Evaluating Machine Translation Metrics on Dialects without Standard Orthography
Noëmi Aepli | Chantal Amrhein | Florian Schottmann | Rico Sennrich
Proceedings of the Eighth Conference on Machine Translation

For sensible progress in natural language processing, it is important that we are aware of the limitations of the evaluation metrics we use. In this work, we evaluate how robust metrics are to non-standardized dialects, i.e. spelling differences in language varieties that do not have a standard orthography. To investigate this, we collect a dataset of human translations and human judgments for automatic machine translations from English to two Swiss German dialects. We further create a challenge set for dialect variation and benchmark existing metrics’ performances. Our results show that existing metrics cannot reliably evaluate Swiss German text generation outputs, especially on segment level. We propose initial design adaptations that increase robustness in the face of non-standardized dialects, although there remains much room for further improvement. The dataset, code, and models are available here: https://github.com/textshuttle/dialect_eval

2022

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Improving Zero-Shot Cross-lingual Transfer Between Closely Related Languages by Injecting Character-Level Noise
Noëmi Aepli | Rico Sennrich
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Cross-lingual transfer between a high-resource language and its dialects or closely related language varieties should be facilitated by their similarity. However, current approaches that operate in the embedding space do not take surface similarity into account. This work presents a simple yet effective strategy to improve cross-lingual transfer between closely related varieties. We propose to augment the data of the high-resource source language with character-level noise to make the model more robust towards spelling variations. Our strategy shows consistent improvements over several languages and tasks: Zero-shot transfer of POS tagging and topic identification between language varieties from the Finnic, West and North Germanic, and Western Romance language branches. Our work provides evidence for the usefulness of simple surface-level noise in improving transfer between language varieties.

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Findings of the VarDial Evaluation Campaign 2022
Noëmi Aepli | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Adrian-Gabriel Chifu | William Domingues | Fahim Faisal | Mihaela Gaman | Radu Tudor Ionescu | Yves Scherrer
Proceedings of the Ninth Workshop on NLP for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects

This report presents the results of the shared tasks organized as part of the VarDial Evaluation Campaign 2022. The campaign is part of the ninth workshop on Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects (VarDial), co-located with COLING 2022. Three separate shared tasks were included this year: Identification of Languages and Dialects of Italy (ITDI), French Cross-Domain Dialect Identification (FDI), and Dialectal Extractive Question Answering (DialQA). All three tasks were organized for the first time this year.

2021

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On Biasing Transformer Attention Towards Monotonicity
Annette Rios | Chantal Amrhein | Noëmi Aepli | Rico Sennrich
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Many sequence-to-sequence tasks in natural language processing are roughly monotonic in the alignment between source and target sequence, and previous work has facilitated or enforced learning of monotonic attention behavior via specialized attention functions or pretraining. In this work, we introduce a monotonicity loss function that is compatible with standard attention mechanisms and test it on several sequence-to-sequence tasks: grapheme-to-phoneme conversion, morphological inflection, transliteration, and dialect normalization. Experiments show that we can achieve largely monotonic behavior. Performance is mixed, with larger gains on top of RNN baselines. General monotonicity does not benefit transformer multihead attention, however, we see isolated improvements when only a subset of heads is biased towards monotonic behavior.

2019

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Approaching SMM4H with Merged Models and Multi-task Learning
Tilia Ellendorff | Lenz Furrer | Nicola Colic | Noëmi Aepli | Fabio Rinaldi
Proceedings of the Fourth Social Media Mining for Health Applications (#SMM4H) Workshop & Shared Task

We describe our submissions to the 4th edition of the Social Media Mining for Health Applications (SMM4H) shared task. Our team (UZH) participated in two sub-tasks: Automatic classifications of adverse effects mentions in tweets (Task 1) and Generalizable identification of personal health experience mentions (Task 4). For our submissions, we exploited ensembles based on a pre-trained language representation with a neural transformer architecture (BERT) (Tasks 1 and 4) and a CNN-BiLSTM(-CRF) network within a multi-task learning scenario (Task 1). These systems are placed on top of a carefully crafted pipeline of domain-specific preprocessing steps.

2017

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Findings of the VarDial Evaluation Campaign 2017
Marcos Zampieri | Shervin Malmasi | Nikola Ljubešić | Preslav Nakov | Ahmed Ali | Jörg Tiedemann | Yves Scherrer | Noëmi Aepli
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on NLP for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects (VarDial)

We present the results of the VarDial Evaluation Campaign on Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects, which we organized as part of the fourth edition of the VarDial workshop at EACL’2017. This year, we included four shared tasks: Discriminating between Similar Languages (DSL), Arabic Dialect Identification (ADI), German Dialect Identification (GDI), and Cross-lingual Dependency Parsing (CLP). A total of 19 teams submitted runs across the four tasks, and 15 of them wrote system description papers.

2014

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Part-of-Speech Tag Disambiguation by Cross-Linguistic Majority Vote
Noëmi Aepli | Ruprecht von Waldenfels | Tanja Samardžić
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Applying NLP Tools to Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects

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Compilation of a Swiss German Dialect Corpus and its Application to PoS Tagging
Nora Hollenstein | Noëmi Aepli
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Applying NLP Tools to Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects