Oussama Elachqar


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INSET: Sentence Infilling with INter-SEntential Transformer
Yichen Huang | Yizhe Zhang | Oussama Elachqar | Yu Cheng
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Missing sentence generation (or sentence in-filling) fosters a wide range of applications in natural language generation, such as document auto-completion and meeting note expansion. This task asks the model to generate intermediate missing sentences that can syntactically and semantically bridge the surrounding context. Solving the sentence infilling task requires techniques in natural language processing ranging from understanding to discourse-level planning to generation. In this paper, we propose a framework to decouple the challenge and address these three aspects respectively, leveraging the power of existing large-scale pre-trained models such as BERT and GPT-2. We empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of our model in learning a sentence representation for generation and further generating a missing sentence that fits the context.

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Contextual Text Style Transfer
Yu Cheng | Zhe Gan | Yizhe Zhang | Oussama Elachqar | Dianqi Li | Jingjing Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

We introduce a new task, Contextual Text Style Transfer - translating a sentence into a desired style with its surrounding context taken into account. This brings two key challenges to existing style transfer approaches: (I) how to preserve the semantic meaning of target sentence and its consistency with surrounding context during transfer; (ii) how to train a robust model with limited labeled data accompanied by context. To realize high-quality style transfer with natural context preservation, we propose a Context-Aware Style Transfer (CAST) model, which uses two separate encoders for each input sentence and its surrounding context. A classifier is further trained to ensure contextual consistency of the generated sentence. To compensate for the lack of parallel data, additional self-reconstruction and back-translation losses are introduced to leverage non-parallel data in a semi-supervised fashion. Two new benchmarks, Enron-Context and Reddit-Context, are introduced for formality and offensiveness style transfer. Experimental results on these datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed CAST model over state-of-the-art methods across style accuracy, content preservation and contextual consistency metrics.


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Multilingual Whispers: Generating Paraphrases with Translation
Christian Federmann | Oussama Elachqar | Chris Quirk
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2019)

Naturally occurring paraphrase data, such as multiple news stories about the same event, is a useful but rare resource. This paper compares translation-based paraphrase gathering using human, automatic, or hybrid techniques to monolingual paraphrasing by experts and non-experts. We gather translations, paraphrases, and empirical human quality assessments of these approaches. Neural machine translation techniques, especially when pivoting through related languages, provide a relatively robust source of paraphrases with diversity comparable to expert human paraphrases. Surprisingly, human translators do not reliably outperform neural systems. The resulting data release will not only be a useful test set, but will also allow additional explorations in translation and paraphrase quality assessments and relationships.