Patrick Fernandes


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When Does Translation Require Context? A Data-driven, Multilingual Exploration
Patrick Fernandes | Kayo Yin | Emmy Liu | André Martins | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Although proper handling of discourse significantly contributes to the quality of machine translation (MT), these improvements are not adequately measured in common translation quality metrics. Recent works in context-aware MT attempt to target a small set of discourse phenomena during evaluation, however not in a fully systematic way. In this paper, we develop the Multilingual Discourse-Aware (MuDA) benchmark, a series of taggers that identify and evaluate model performance on discourse phenomena in any given dataset. The choice of phenomena is inspired by a novel methodology to systematically identify translations that require context. This methodology confirms the difficulty of previously studied phenomena while uncovering others which were not previously addressed. We find that commonly studied context-aware MT models make only marginal improvements over context-agnostic models, which suggests these models do not handle these ambiguities effectively. We release code and data for 14 language pairs to encourage the MT community to focus on accurately capturing discourse phenomena. Code available at

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ESPnet-ST-v2: Multipurpose Spoken Language Translation Toolkit
Brian Yan | Jiatong Shi | Yun Tang | Hirofumi Inaguma | Yifan Peng | Siddharth Dalmia | Peter Polák | Patrick Fernandes | Dan Berrebbi | Tomoki Hayashi | Xiaohui Zhang | Zhaoheng Ni | Moto Hira | Soumi Maiti | Juan Pino | Shinji Watanabe
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 3: System Demonstrations)

ESPnet-ST-v2 is a revamp of the open-source ESPnet-ST toolkit necessitated by the broadening interests of the spoken language translation community. ESPnet-ST-v2 supports 1) offline speech-to-text translation (ST), 2) simultaneous speech-to-text translation (SST), and 3) offline speech-to-speech translation (S2ST) – each task is supported with a wide variety of approaches, differentiating ESPnet-ST-v2 from other open source spoken language translation toolkits. This toolkit offers state-of-the-art architectures such as transducers, hybrid CTC/attention, multi-decoders with searchable intermediates, time-synchronous blockwise CTC/attention, Translatotron models, and direct discrete unit models. In this paper, we describe the overall design, example models for each task, and performance benchmarking behind ESPnet-ST-v2, which is publicly available at

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Context-aware Neural Machine Translation for English-Japanese Business Scene Dialogues
Sumire Honda | Patrick Fernandes | Chrysoula Zerva
Proceedings of Machine Translation Summit XIX, Vol. 1: Research Track

Despite the remarkable advancements in machine translation, the current sentence-level paradigm faces challenges when dealing with highly-contextual languages like Japanese. In this paper, we explore how context-awareness can improve the performance of the current Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models for English-Japanese business dialogues translation, and what kind of context provides meaningful information to improve translation. As business dialogue involves complex discourse phenomena but offers scarce training resources, we adapted a pretrained mBART model, finetuning on multi-sentence dialogue data, which allows us to experiment with different contexts. We investigate the impact of larger context sizes and propose novel context tokens encoding extra-sentential information, such as speaker turn and scene type. We make use of Conditional Cross-Mutual Information (CXMI) to explore how much of the context the model uses and generalise CXMI to study the impact of the extra sentential context. Overall, we find that models leverage both preceding sentences and extra-sentential context (with CXMI increasing with context size) and we provide a more focused analysis on honorifics translation. Regarding translation quality, increased source-side context paired with scene and speaker information improves the model performance compared to previous work and our context-agnostic baselines, measured in BLEU and COMET metrics.

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A Multi-dimensional Evaluation of Tokenizer-free Multilingual Pretrained Models
Jimin Sun | Patrick Fernandes | Xinyi Wang | Graham Neubig
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

Recent works on tokenizer-free multilingual pretrained models show promising results in improving cross-lingual transfer and reducing engineering overhead compared to subword-based alternatives. However, previous work mainly focuses on reporting accuracy on a limited set of tasks and data settings, placing less emphasis on other important factors when tuning and deploying the models in practice, such as memory usage, inference speed, and finetuning data efficiency. We attempt to fill this gap by performing a comprehensive empirical comparison of multilingual tokenizer-free and subword-based models considering the various dimensions. Surprisingly, we find that subword-based models might still be the most practical choice in many settings, achieving better performance for lower inference latency and memory usage. Based on these results, we encourage future work in tokenizer-free methods to consider these factors when designing and evaluating new models.

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Multi-Dimensional Evaluation of Text Summarization with In-Context Learning
Sameer Jain | Vaishakh Keshava | Swarnashree Mysore Sathyendra | Patrick Fernandes | Pengfei Liu | Graham Neubig | Chunting Zhou
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Evaluation of natural language generation (NLG) is complex and multi-dimensional. Generated text can be evaluated for fluency, coherence, factuality, or any other dimensions of interest. Most frameworks that perform such multi-dimensional evaluation require training on large manually or synthetically generated datasets. In this paper, we study the efficacy of large language models as multi-dimensional evaluators using in-context learning, obviating the need for large training datasets. Our experiments show that in-context learning-based evaluators are competitive with learned evaluation frameworks for the task of text summarization, establishing state-of-the-art on dimensions such as relevance and factual consistency. We then analyze the effects of factors such as the selection and number of in-context examples on performance. Finally, we study the efficacy of in-context learning-based evaluators in evaluating zero-shot summaries written by large language models such as GPT-3.

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Epsilon Sampling Rocks: Investigating Sampling Strategies for Minimum Bayes Risk Decoding for Machine Translation
Markus Freitag | Behrooz Ghorbani | Patrick Fernandes
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Recent advances in machine translation (MT) have shown that Minimum Bayes Risk (MBR) decoding can be a powerful alternative to beam search decoding, especially when combined with neural-based utility functions. However, the performance of MBR decoding depends heavily on how and how many candidates are sampled from the model. In this paper, we explore how different sampling approaches for generating candidate lists for MBR decoding affect performance. We evaluate popular sampling approaches, such as ancestral, nucleus, and top-k sampling. Based on our insights into their limitations, we experiment with the recently proposed epsilon-sampling approach, which prunes away all tokens with a probability smaller than epsilon, ensuring that each token in a sample receives a fair probability mass. Through extensive human evaluations, we demonstrate that MBR decoding based on epsilon-sampling significantly outperforms not only beam search decoding, but also MBR decoding with all other tested sampling methods across four language pairs.

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The Devil Is in the Errors: Leveraging Large Language Models for Fine-grained Machine Translation Evaluation
Patrick Fernandes | Daniel Deutsch | Mara Finkelstein | Parker Riley | André Martins | Graham Neubig | Ankush Garg | Jonathan Clark | Markus Freitag | Orhan Firat
Proceedings of the Eighth Conference on Machine Translation

Automatic evaluation of machine translation (MT) is a critical tool driving the rapid iterative development of MT systems. While considerable progress has been made on estimating a single scalar quality score, current metrics lack the informativeness of more detailed schemes that annotate individual errors, such as Multidimensional Quality Metrics (MQM). In this paper, we help fill this gap by proposing AutoMQM, a prompting technique which leverages the reasoning and in-context learning capabilities of large language models (LLMs) and asks them to identify and categorize errors in translations. We start by evaluating recent LLMs, such as PaLM and PaLM-2, through simple score prediction prompting, and we study the impact of labeled data through in-context learning and finetuning. We then evaluate AutoMQM with PaLM-2 models, and we find that it improves performance compared to just prompting for scores (with particularly large gains for larger models) while providing interpretability through error spans that align with human annotations.


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Findings of the WMT 2022 Shared Task on Chat Translation
Ana C Farinha | M. Amin Farajian | Marianna Buchicchio | Patrick Fernandes | José G. C. de Souza | Helena Moniz | André F. T. Martins
Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Machine Translation (WMT)

This paper reports the findings of the second edition of the Chat Translation Shared Task. Similarly to the previous WMT 2020 edition, the task consisted of translating bilingual customer support conversational text. However, unlike the previous edition, in which the bilingual data was created from a synthetic monolingual English corpus, this year we used a portion of the newly released Unbabel’s MAIA corpus, which contains genuine bilingual conversations between agents and customers. We also expanded the language pairs to English↔German (en↔de), English↔French (en↔fr), and English↔Brazilian Portuguese (en↔pt-br).Given that the main goal of the shared task is to translate bilingual conversations, participants were encouraged to train and test their models specifically for this environment. In total, we received 18 submissions from 4 different teams. All teams participated in both directions of en↔de. One of the teams also participated in en↔fr and en↔pt-br. We evaluated the submissions with automatic metrics as well as human judgments via Multidimensional Quality Metrics (MQM) on both directions. The official ranking of the systems is based on the overall MQM scores of the participating systems on both directions, i.e. agent and customer.

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Predicting Attention Sparsity in Transformers
Marcos Treviso | António Góis | Patrick Fernandes | Erick Fonseca | Andre Martins
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Structured Prediction for NLP

Transformers’ quadratic complexity with respect to the input sequence length has motivated a body of work on efficient sparse approximations to softmax. An alternative path, used by entmax transformers, consists of having built-in exact sparse attention; however this approach still requires quadratic computation. In this paper, we propose Sparsefinder, a simple model trained to identify the sparsity pattern of entmax attention before computing it. We experiment with three variants of our method, based on distances, quantization, and clustering, on two tasks: machine translation (attention in the decoder) and masked language modeling (encoder-only). Our work provides a new angle to study model efficiency by doing extensive analysis of the tradeoff between the sparsity and recall of the predicted attention graph. This allows for detailed comparison between different models along their Pareto curves, important to guide future benchmarks for sparse attention models.

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CMU’s IWSLT 2022 Dialect Speech Translation System
Brian Yan | Patrick Fernandes | Siddharth Dalmia | Jiatong Shi | Yifan Peng | Dan Berrebbi | Xinyi Wang | Graham Neubig | Shinji Watanabe
Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation (IWSLT 2022)

This paper describes CMU’s submissions to the IWSLT 2022 dialect speech translation (ST) shared task for translating Tunisian-Arabic speech to English text. We use additional paired Modern Standard Arabic data (MSA) to directly improve the speech recognition (ASR) and machine translation (MT) components of our cascaded systems. We also augment the paired ASR data with pseudo translations via sequence-level knowledge distillation from an MT model and use these artificial triplet ST data to improve our end-to-end (E2E) systems. Our E2E models are based on the Multi-Decoder architecture with searchable hidden intermediates. We extend the Multi-Decoder by orienting the speech encoder towards the target language by applying ST supervision as hierarchical connectionist temporal classification (CTC) multi-task. During inference, we apply joint decoding of the ST CTC and ST autoregressive decoder branches of our modified Multi-Decoder. Finally, we apply ROVER voting, posterior combination, and minimum bayes-risk decoding with combined N-best lists to ensemble our various cascaded and E2E systems. Our best systems reached 20.8 and 19.5 BLEU on test2 (blind) and test1 respectively. Without any additional MSA data, we reached 20.4 and 19.2 on the same test sets.

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Quality-Aware Decoding for Neural Machine Translation
Patrick Fernandes | António Farinhas | Ricardo Rei | José G. C. de Souza | Perez Ogayo | Graham Neubig | Andre Martins
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Despite the progress in machine translation quality estimation and evaluation in the last years, decoding in neural machine translation (NMT) is mostly oblivious to this and centers around finding the most probable translation according to the model (MAP decoding), approximated with beam search. In this paper, we bring together these two lines of research and propose quality-aware decoding for NMT, by leveraging recent breakthroughs in reference-free and reference-based MT evaluation through various inference methods like N-best reranking and minimum Bayes risk decoding. We perform an extensive comparison of various possible candidate generation and ranking methods across four datasets and two model classes and find that quality-aware decoding consistently outperforms MAP-based decoding according both to state-of-the-art automatic metrics (COMET and BLEURT) and to human assessments.


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Do Context-Aware Translation Models Pay the Right Attention?
Kayo Yin | Patrick Fernandes | Danish Pruthi | Aditi Chaudhary | André F. T. Martins | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Context-aware machine translation models are designed to leverage contextual information, but often fail to do so. As a result, they inaccurately disambiguate pronouns and polysemous words that require context for resolution. In this paper, we ask several questions: What contexts do human translators use to resolve ambiguous words? Are models paying large amounts of attention to the same context? What if we explicitly train them to do so? To answer these questions, we introduce SCAT (Supporting Context for Ambiguous Translations), a new English-French dataset comprising supporting context words for 14K translations that professional translators found useful for pronoun disambiguation. Using SCAT, we perform an in-depth analysis of the context used to disambiguate, examining positional and lexical characteristics of the supporting words. Furthermore, we measure the degree of alignment between the model’s attention scores and the supporting context from SCAT, and apply a guided attention strategy to encourage agreement between the two.

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Measuring and Increasing Context Usage in Context-Aware Machine Translation
Patrick Fernandes | Kayo Yin | Graham Neubig | André F. T. Martins
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent work in neural machine translation has demonstrated both the necessity and feasibility of using inter-sentential context, context from sentences other than those currently being translated. However, while many current methods present model architectures that theoretically can use this extra context, it is often not clear how much they do actually utilize it at translation time. In this paper, we introduce a new metric, conditional cross-mutual information, to quantify usage of context by these models. Using this metric, we measure how much document-level machine translation systems use particular varieties of context. We find that target context is referenced more than source context, and that including more context has a diminishing affect on results. We then introduce a new, simple training method, context-aware word dropout, to increase the usage of context by context-aware models. Experiments show that our method not only increases context usage, but also improves the translation quality according to metrics such as BLEU and COMET, as well as performance on anaphoric pronoun resolution and lexical cohesion contrastive datasets.