Rolando Coto-Solano

Also published as: Rolando Coto Solano, Rolando Coto-solano


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Improving Syntactic Probing Correctness and Robustness with Control Tasks
Weicheng Ma | Brian Wang | Hefan Zhang | Lili Wang | Rolando Coto-Solano | Saeed Hassanpour | Soroush Vosoughi
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Syntactic probing methods have been used to examine whether and how pre-trained language models (PLMs) encode syntactic features. However, the probing methods are usually biased by the PLMs’ memorization of common word co-occurrences, even if they do not form syntactic relations. This paper presents a random-word-substitution and random-label-matching control task to reduce these biases and improve the robustness of syntactic probing methods. Our control tasks are also shown to notably improve the consistency of probing results between different probing methods and make the methods more robust with respect to the text attributes of the probing instances. Our control tasks make syntactic probing methods better at reconstructing syntactic features and more generalizable to unseen text domains. Our experiments show that our proposed control tasks are effective on different PLMs, probing methods, and syntactic features.

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TalaMT: Multilingual Machine Translation for Cabécar-Bribri-Spanish
Alex Jones | Rolando Coto-Solano | Guillermo González Campos
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Multi-lingual Representation Learning (MRL)

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Findings of the AmericasNLP 2023 Shared Task on Machine Translation into Indigenous Languages
Abteen Ebrahimi | Manuel Mager | Shruti Rijhwani | Enora Rice | Arturo Oncevay | Claudia Baltazar | María Cortés | Cynthia Montaño | John E. Ortega | Rolando Coto-solano | Hilaria Cruz | Alexis Palmer | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas (AmericasNLP)

In this work, we present the results of the AmericasNLP 2023 Shared Task on Machine Translation into Indigenous Languages of the Americas. This edition of the shared task featured eleven language pairs, one of which – Chatino-Spanish – uses a newly collected evaluation dataset, consisting of professionally translated text from the legal domain. Seven teams participated in the shared task, with a total of 181 submissions. Additionally, we conduct a human evaluation of the best system outputs, and compare them to the best submissions from the prior shared task. We find that this analysis agrees with the quantitative measures used to rank submissions, which shows further improvements of 9.64 ChrF on average across all languages, when compared to the prior winning system.

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Meeting the Needs of Low-Resource Languages: The Value of Automatic Alignments via Pretrained Models
Abteen Ebrahimi | Arya D. McCarthy | Arturo Oncevay | John E. Ortega | Luis Chiruzzo | Gustavo Giménez-Lugo | Rolando Coto-Solano | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Large multilingual models have inspired a new class of word alignment methods, which work well for the model’s pretraining languages. However, the languages most in need of automatic alignment are low-resource and, thus, not typically included in the pretraining data. In this work, we ask: How do modern aligners perform on unseen languages, and are they better than traditional methods? We contribute gold-standard alignments for Bribri–Spanish, Guarani–Spanish, Quechua–Spanish, and Shipibo-Konibo–Spanish. With these, we evaluate state-of-the-art aligners with and without model adaptation to the target language. Finally, we also evaluate the resulting alignments extrinsically through two downstream tasks: named entity recognition and part-of-speech tagging. We find that although transformer-based methods generally outperform traditional models, the two classes of approach remain competitive with each other.


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Evaluating Word Embeddings in Extremely Under-Resourced Languages: A Case Study in Bribri
Rolando Coto-Solano
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Word embeddings are critical for numerous NLP tasks but their evaluation in actual under-resourced settings needs further examination. This paper presents a case study in Bribri, a Chibchan language from Costa Rica. Four experiments were adapted from English: Word similarities, WordSim353 correlations, odd-one-out tasks and analogies. Here we discuss their adaptation to an under-resourced Indigenous language and we use them to measure semantic and morphological learning. We trained 96 word2vec models with different hyperparameter combinations. The best models for this under-resourced scenario were Skip-grams with an intermediate size (100 dimensions) and large window sizes (10). These had an average correlation of r=0.28 with WordSim353, a 76% accuracy in semantic odd-one-out and 70% accuracy in structural/morphological odd-one-out. The performance was lower for the analogies: The best models could find the appropriate semantic target amongst the first 25 results approximately 60% of the times, but could only find the morphological/structural target 11% of the times. Future research needs to further explore the patterns of morphological/structural learning, to examine the behavior of deep learning embeddings, and to establish a human baseline. This project seeks to improve Bribri NLP and ultimately help in its maintenance and revitalization.

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AmericasNLI: Evaluating Zero-shot Natural Language Understanding of Pretrained Multilingual Models in Truly Low-resource Languages
Abteen Ebrahimi | Manuel Mager | Arturo Oncevay | Vishrav Chaudhary | Luis Chiruzzo | Angela Fan | John Ortega | Ricardo Ramos | Annette Rios | Ivan Vladimir Meza Ruiz | Gustavo Giménez-Lugo | Elisabeth Mager | Graham Neubig | Alexis Palmer | Rolando Coto-Solano | Thang Vu | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Pretrained multilingual models are able to perform cross-lingual transfer in a zero-shot setting, even for languages unseen during pretraining. However, prior work evaluating performance on unseen languages has largely been limited to low-level, syntactic tasks, and it remains unclear if zero-shot learning of high-level, semantic tasks is possible for unseen languages. To explore this question, we present AmericasNLI, an extension of XNLI (Conneau et al., 2018) to 10 Indigenous languages of the Americas. We conduct experiments with XLM-R, testing multiple zero-shot and translation-based approaches. Additionally, we explore model adaptation via continued pretraining and provide an analysis of the dataset by considering hypothesis-only models. We find that XLM-R’s zero-shot performance is poor for all 10 languages, with an average performance of 38.48%. Continued pretraining offers improvements, with an average accuracy of 43.85%. Surprisingly, training on poorly translated data by far outperforms all other methods with an accuracy of 49.12%.

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Development of Automatic Speech Recognition for the Documentation of Cook Islands Māori
Rolando Coto-Solano | Sally Akevai Nicholas | Samiha Datta | Victoria Quint | Piripi Wills | Emma Ngakuravaru Powell | Liam Koka’ua | Syed Tanveer | Isaac Feldman
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

This paper describes the process of data processing and training of an automatic speech recognition (ASR) system for Cook Islands Māori (CIM), an Indigenous language spoken by approximately 22,000 people in the South Pacific. We transcribed four hours of speech from adults and elderly speakers of the language and prepared two experiments. First, we trained three ASR systems: one statistical, Kaldi; and two based on Deep Learning, DeepSpeech and XLSR-Wav2Vec2. Wav2Vec2 tied with Kaldi for lowest character error rate (CER=6±1) and was slightly behind in word error rate (WER=23±2 versus WER=18±2 for Kaldi). This provides evidence that Deep Learning ASR systems are reaching the performance of statistical methods on small datasets, and that they can work effectively with extremely low-resource Indigenous languages like CIM. In the second experiment we used Wav2Vec2 to train models with held-out speakers. While the performance decreased (CER=15±7, WER=46±16), the system still showed considerable learning. We intend to use ASR to accelerate the documentation of CIM, using newly transcribed texts to improve the ASR and also generate teaching and language revitalization materials. The trained model is available under a license based on the Kaitiakitanga License, which provides for non-commercial use while retaining control of the model by the Indigenous community.


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Towards Universal Dependencies for Bribri
Rolando Coto-Solano | Sharid Loáiciga | Sofía Flores-Solórzano
Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Universal Dependencies (UDW, SyntaxFest 2021)

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Explicit Tone Transcription Improves ASR Performance in Extremely Low-Resource Languages: A Case Study in Bribri
Rolando Coto-Solano
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas

Linguistic tone is transcribed for input into ASR systems in numerous ways. This paper shows a systematic test of several transcription styles, using as an example the Chibchan language Bribri, an extremely low-resource language from Costa Rica. The most successful models separate the tone from the vowel, so that the ASR algorithms learn tone patterns independently. These models showed improvements ranging from 4% to 25% in character error rate (CER), and between 3% and 23% in word error rate (WER). This is true for both traditional GMM/HMM and end-to-end CTC algorithms. This paper also presents the first attempt to train ASR models for Bribri. The best performing models had a CER of 33% and a WER of 50%. Despite the disadvantage of using hand-engineered representations, these models were trained on only 68 minutes of data, and therefore show the potential of ASR to generate further training materials and aid in the documentation and revitalization of the language.

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Findings of the AmericasNLP 2021 Shared Task on Open Machine Translation for Indigenous Languages of the Americas
Manuel Mager | Arturo Oncevay | Abteen Ebrahimi | John Ortega | Annette Rios | Angela Fan | Ximena Gutierrez-Vasques | Luis Chiruzzo | Gustavo Giménez-Lugo | Ricardo Ramos | Ivan Vladimir Meza Ruiz | Rolando Coto-Solano | Alexis Palmer | Elisabeth Mager-Hois | Vishrav Chaudhary | Graham Neubig | Ngoc Thang Vu | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas

This paper presents the results of the 2021 Shared Task on Open Machine Translation for Indigenous Languages of the Americas. The shared task featured two independent tracks, and participants submitted machine translation systems for up to 10 indigenous languages. Overall, 8 teams participated with a total of 214 submissions. We provided training sets consisting of data collected from various sources, as well as manually translated sentences for the development and test sets. An official baseline trained on this data was also provided. Team submissions featured a variety of architectures, including both statistical and neural models, and for the majority of languages, many teams were able to considerably improve over the baseline. The best performing systems achieved 12.97 ChrF higher than baseline, when averaged across languages.


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Neural Machine Translation Models with Back-Translation for the Extremely Low-Resource Indigenous Language Bribri
Isaac Feldman | Rolando Coto-Solano
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

This paper presents a neural machine translation model and dataset for the Chibchan language Bribri, with an average performance of BLEU 16.9±1.7. This was trained on an extremely small dataset (5923 Bribri-Spanish pairs), providing evidence for the applicability of NMT in extremely low-resource environments. We discuss the challenges entailed in managing training input from languages without standard orthographies, we provide evidence of successful learning of Bribri grammar, and also examine the translations of structures that are infrequent in major Indo-European languages, such as positional verbs, ergative markers, numerical classifiers and complex demonstrative systems. In addition to this, we perform an experiment of augmenting the dataset through iterative back-translation (Sennrich et al., 2016a; Hoang et al., 2018) by using Spanish sentences to create synthetic Bribri sentences. This improves the score by an average of 1.0 BLEU, but only when the new Spanish sentences belong to the same domain as the other Spanish examples. This contributes to the small but growing body of research on Chibchan NLP.


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Development of Natural Language Processing Tools for Cook Islands Māori
Rolando Coto Solano | Sally Akevai Nicholas | Samantha Wray
Proceedings of the Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop 2018

This paper presents three ongoing projects for NLP in Cook Islands Maori: Untrained Forced Alignment (approx. 9% error when detecting the center of words), speech-to-text (37% WER in the best trained models) and POS tagging (92% accuracy for the best performing model). Included as part of these projects are new resources filling in a gap in Australasian languages, including gold standard POS-tagged written corpora, transcribed speech corpora, time-aligned corpora down to the level of phonemes. These are part of efforts to accelerate the documentation of Cook Islands Maori and to increase its vitality amongst its users.