Pratyush Kumar


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An Empirical Study of Leveraging Knowledge Distillation for Compressing Multilingual Neural Machine Translation Models
Varun Gumma | Raj Dabre | Pratyush Kumar
Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the European Association for Machine Translation

Knowledge distillation (KD) is a well-known method for compressing neural models. However, works focusing on distilling knowledge from large multilingual neural machine translation (MNMT) models into smaller ones are practically nonexistent, despite the popularity and superiority of MNMT. This paper bridges this gap by presenting an empirical investigation of knowledge distillation for compressing MNMT models. We take Indic to English translation as a case study and demonstrate that commonly used language-agnostic and language-aware KD approaches yield models that are 4-5x smaller but also suffer from performance drops of up to 3.5 BLEU. To mitigate this, we then experiment with design considerations such as shallower versus deeper models, heavy parameter sharing, multistage training, and adapters. We observe that deeper compact models tend to be as good as shallower non-compact ones and that fine-tuning a distilled model on a high-quality subset slightly boosts translation quality. Overall, we conclude that compressing MNMT models via KD is challenging, indicating immense scope for further research.

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Naamapadam: A Large-Scale Named Entity Annotated Data for Indic Languages
Arnav Mhaske | Harshit Kedia | Sumanth Doddapaneni | Mitesh M. Khapra | Pratyush Kumar | Rudra Murthy | Anoop Kunchukuttan
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present, Naamapadam, the largest publicly available Named Entity Recognition (NER) dataset for the 11 major Indian languages from two language families. The dataset contains more than 400k sentences annotated with a total of at least 100k entities from three standard entity categories (Person, Location, and, Organization) for 9 out of the 11 languages. The training dataset has been automatically created from the Samanantar parallel corpus by projecting automatically tagged entities from an English sentence to the corresponding Indian language translation. We also create manually annotated testsets for 9 languages. We demonstrate the utility of the obtained dataset on the Naamapadam-test dataset. We also release IndicNER, a multilingual IndicBERT model fine-tuned on Naamapadam training set. IndicNER achieves an F1 score of more than 80 for 7 out of 9 test languages. The dataset and models are available under open-source licences at

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Towards Leaving No Indic Language Behind: Building Monolingual Corpora, Benchmark and Models for Indic Languages
Sumanth Doddapaneni | Rahul Aralikatte | Gowtham Ramesh | Shreya Goyal | Mitesh M. Khapra | Anoop Kunchukuttan | Pratyush Kumar
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Building Natural Language Understanding (NLU) capabilities for Indic languages, which have a collective speaker base of more than one billion speakers is absolutely crucial. In this work, we aim to improve the NLU capabilities of Indic languages by making contributions along 3 important axes (i) monolingual corpora (ii) NLU testsets (iii) multilingual LLMs focusing on Indic languages. Specifically, we curate the largest monolingual corpora, IndicCorp, with 20.9B tokens covering 24 languages from 4 language families - a 2.3x increase over prior work, while supporting 12 additional languages. Next, we create a human-supervised benchmark, IndicXTREME, consisting of nine diverse NLU tasks covering 20 languages. Across languages and tasks, IndicXTREME contains a total of 105 evaluation sets, of which 52 are new contributions to the literature. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first effort towards creating a standard benchmark for Indic languages that aims to test the multilingual zero-shot capabilities of pretrained language models. Finally, we train IndicBERT v2, a state-of-the-art model supporting all the languages. Averaged across languages and tasks, the model achieves an absolute improvement of 2 points over a strong baseline. The data and models are available at

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IndicMT Eval: A Dataset to Meta-Evaluate Machine Translation Metrics for Indian Languages
Ananya Sai B | Tanay Dixit | Vignesh Nagarajan | Anoop Kunchukuttan | Pratyush Kumar | Mitesh M. Khapra | Raj Dabre
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The rapid growth of machine translation (MT) systems necessitates meta-evaluations of evaluation metrics to enable selection of those that best reflect MT quality. Unfortunately, most meta-evaluation studies focus on European languages, the observations for which may not always apply to other languages. Indian languages, having over a billion speakers, are linguistically different from them, and to date, there are no such systematic studies focused solely on English to Indian language MT. This paper fills this gap through a Multidimensional Quality Metric (MQM) dataset consisting of 7000 fine-grained annotations, spanning 5 Indian languages and 7 MT systems. We evaluate 16 metrics and show that, pre-trained metrics like COMET have the highest correlations with annotator scores as opposed to n-gram metrics like BLEU. We further leverage our MQM annotations to develop an Indic-COMET metric and show that it outperforms COMET counterparts in both human scores correlations and robustness scores in Indian languages. Additionally, we show that the Indic-COMET can outperform COMET on some unseen Indian languages. We hope that our dataset and analysis will facilitate further research in Indic MT evaluation.


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OpenHands: Making Sign Language Recognition Accessible with Pose-based Pretrained Models across Languages
Prem Selvaraj | Gokul Nc | Pratyush Kumar | Mitesh Khapra
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

AI technologies for Natural Languages have made tremendous progress recently. However, commensurate progress has not been made on Sign Languages, in particular, in recognizing signs as individual words or as complete sentences. We introduce OpenHands, a library where we take four key ideas from the NLP community for low-resource languages and apply them to sign languages for word-level recognition. First, we propose using pose extracted through pretrained models as the standard modality of data in this work to reduce training time and enable efficient inference, and we release standardized pose datasets for different existing sign language datasets. Second, we train and release checkpoints of 4 pose-based isolated sign language recognition models across 6 languages (American, Argentinian, Chinese, Greek, Indian, and Turkish), providing baselines and ready checkpoints for deployment. Third, to address the lack of labelled data, we propose self-supervised pretraining on unlabelled data. We curate and release the largest pose-based pretraining dataset on Indian Sign Language (Indian-SL). Fourth, we compare different pretraining strategies and for the first time establish that pretraining is effective for sign language recognition by demonstrating (a) improved fine-tuning performance especially in low-resource settings, and (b) high crosslingual transfer from Indian-SL to few other sign languages. We open-source all models and datasets in OpenHands with a hope that it makes research in sign languages reproducible and more accessible.

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Input-specific Attention Subnetworks for Adversarial Detection
Emil Biju | Anirudh Sriram | Pratyush Kumar | Mitesh Khapra
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Self-attention heads are characteristic of Transformer models and have been well studied for interpretability and pruning. In this work, we demonstrate an altogether different utility of attention heads, namely for adversarial detection. Specifically, we propose a method to construct input-specific attention subnetworks (IAS) from which we extract three features to discriminate between authentic and adversarial inputs. The resultant detector significantly improves (by over 7.5%) the state-of-the-art adversarial detection accuracy for the BERT encoder on 10 NLU datasets with 11 different adversarial attack types. We also demonstrate that our method (a) is more accurate for larger models which are likely to have more spurious correlations and thus vulnerable to adversarial attack, and (b) performs well even with modest training sets of adversarial examples.

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IndicBART: A Pre-trained Model for Indic Natural Language Generation
Raj Dabre | Himani Shrotriya | Anoop Kunchukuttan | Ratish Puduppully | Mitesh Khapra | Pratyush Kumar
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

In this paper, we study pre-trained sequence-to-sequence models for a group of related languages, with a focus on Indic languages. We present IndicBART, a multilingual, sequence-to-sequence pre-trained model focusing on 11 Indic languages and English. IndicBART utilizes the orthographic similarity between Indic scripts to improve transfer learning between similar Indic languages. We evaluate IndicBART on two NLG tasks: Neural Machine Translation (NMT) and extreme summarization. Our experiments on NMT and extreme summarization show that a model specific to related languages like IndicBART is competitive with large pre-trained models like mBART50 despite being significantly smaller. It also performs well on very low-resource translation scenarios where languages are not included in pre-training or fine-tuning. Script sharing, multilingual training, and better utilization of limited model capacity contribute to the good performance of the compact IndicBART model.

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IndicNLG Benchmark: Multilingual Datasets for Diverse NLG Tasks in Indic Languages
Aman Kumar | Himani Shrotriya | Prachi Sahu | Amogh Mishra | Raj Dabre | Ratish Puduppully | Anoop Kunchukuttan | Mitesh M. Khapra | Pratyush Kumar
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Natural Language Generation (NLG) for non-English languages is hampered by the scarcity of datasets in these languages. We present the IndicNLG Benchmark, a collection of datasets for benchmarking NLG for 11 Indic languages. We focus on five diverse tasks, namely, biography generation using Wikipedia infoboxes, news headline generation, sentence summarization, paraphrase generation and, question generation. We describe the created datasets and use them to benchmark the performance of several monolingual and multilingual baselines that leverage pre-trained sequence-to-sequence models. Our results exhibit the strong performance of multilingual language-specific pre-trained models, and the utility of models trained on our dataset for other related NLG tasks. Our dataset creation methods can be easily applied to modest-resource languages as they involve simple steps such as scraping news articles and Wikipedia infoboxes, light cleaning, and pivoting through machine translation data. To the best of our knowledge, the IndicNLG Benchmark is the first NLG benchmark for Indic languages and the most diverse multilingual NLG dataset, with approximately 8M examples across 5 tasks and 11 languages. The datasets and models will be publicly available.

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Samanantar: The Largest Publicly Available Parallel Corpora Collection for 11 Indic Languages
Gowtham Ramesh | Sumanth Doddapaneni | Aravinth Bheemaraj | Mayank Jobanputra | Raghavan AK | Ajitesh Sharma | Sujit Sahoo | Harshita Diddee | Mahalakshmi J | Divyanshu Kakwani | Navneet Kumar | Aswin Pradeep | Srihari Nagaraj | Kumar Deepak | Vivek Raghavan | Anoop Kunchukuttan | Pratyush Kumar | Mitesh Shantadevi Khapra
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

We present Samanantar, the largest publicly available parallel corpora collection for Indic languages. The collection contains a total of 49.7 million sentence pairs between English and 11 Indic languages (from two language families). Specifically, we compile 12.4 million sentence pairs from existing, publicly available parallel corpora, and additionally mine 37.4 million sentence pairs from the Web, resulting in a 4× increase. We mine the parallel sentences from the Web by combining many corpora, tools, and methods: (a) Web-crawled monolingual corpora, (b) document OCR for extracting sentences from scanned documents, (c) multilingual representation models for aligning sentences, and (d) approximate nearest neighbor search for searching in a large collection of sentences. Human evaluation of samples from the newly mined corpora validate the high quality of the parallel sentences across 11 languages. Further, we extract 83.4 million sentence pairs between all 55 Indic language pairs from the English-centric parallel corpus using English as the pivot language. We trained multilingual NMT models spanning all these languages on Samanantar which outperform existing models and baselines on publicly available benchmarks, such as FLORES, establishing the utility of Samanantar. Our data and models are available publicly at Samanantar and we hope they will help advance research in NMT and multilingual NLP for Indic languages.


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On the weak link between importance and prunability of attention heads
Aakriti Budhraja | Madhura Pande | Preksha Nema | Pratyush Kumar | Mitesh M. Khapra
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Given the success of Transformer-based models, two directions of study have emerged: interpreting role of individual attention heads and down-sizing the models for efficiency. Our work straddles these two streams: We analyse the importance of basing pruning strategies on the interpreted role of the attention heads. We evaluate this on Transformer and BERT models on multiple NLP tasks. Firstly, we find that a large fraction of the attention heads can be randomly pruned with limited effect on accuracy. Secondly, for Transformers, we find no advantage in pruning attention heads identified to be important based on existing studies that relate importance to the location of a head. On the BERT model too we find no preference for top or bottom layers, though the latter are reported to have higher importance. However, strategies that avoid pruning middle layers and consecutive layers perform better. Finally, during fine-tuning the compensation for pruned attention heads is roughly equally distributed across the un-pruned heads. Our results thus suggest that interpretation of attention heads does not strongly inform pruning.

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IndicNLPSuite: Monolingual Corpora, Evaluation Benchmarks and Pre-trained Multilingual Language Models for Indian Languages
Divyanshu Kakwani | Anoop Kunchukuttan | Satish Golla | Gokul N.C. | Avik Bhattacharyya | Mitesh M. Khapra | Pratyush Kumar
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

In this paper, we introduce NLP resources for 11 major Indian languages from two major language families. These resources include: (a) large-scale sentence-level monolingual corpora, (b) pre-trained word embeddings, (c) pre-trained language models, and (d) multiple NLU evaluation datasets (IndicGLUE benchmark). The monolingual corpora contains a total of 8.8 billion tokens across all 11 languages and Indian English, primarily sourced from news crawls. The word embeddings are based on FastText, hence suitable for handling morphological complexity of Indian languages. The pre-trained language models are based on the compact ALBERT model. Lastly, we compile the (IndicGLUE benchmark for Indian language NLU. To this end, we create datasets for the following tasks: Article Genre Classification, Headline Prediction, Wikipedia Section-Title Prediction, Cloze-style Multiple choice QA, Winograd NLI and COPA. We also include publicly available datasets for some Indic languages for tasks like Named Entity Recognition, Cross-lingual Sentence Retrieval, Paraphrase detection, etc. Our embeddings are competitive or better than existing pre-trained embeddings on multiple tasks. We hope that the availability of the dataset will accelerate Indic NLP research which has the potential to impact more than a billion people. It can also help the community in evaluating advances in NLP over a more diverse pool of languages. The data and models are available at

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Joint Transformer/RNN Architecture for Gesture Typing in Indic Languages
Emil Biju | Anirudh Sriram | Mitesh M. Khapra | Pratyush Kumar
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Gesture typing is a method of typing words on a touch-based keyboard by creating a continuous trace passing through the relevant keys. This work is aimed at developing a keyboard that supports gesture typing in Indic languages. We begin by noting that when dealing with Indic languages, one needs to cater to two different sets of users: (i) users who prefer to type in the native Indic script (Devanagari, Bengali, etc.) and (ii) users who prefer to type in the English script but want the transliterated output in the native script. In both cases, we need a model that takes a trace as input and maps it to the intended word. To enable the development of these models, we create and release two datasets. First, we create a dataset containing keyboard traces for 193,658 words from 7 Indic languages. Second, we curate 104,412 English-Indic transliteration pairs from Wikidata across these languages. Using these datasets we build a model that performs path decoding, transliteration and transliteration correction. Unlike prior approaches, our proposed model does not make co-character independence assumptions during decoding. The overall accuracy of our model across the 7 languages varies from 70-95%.