Advances in neural modeling have achieved state-of-the-art (SOTA) results on public natural language processing (NLP) benchmarks, at times surpassing human performance. However, there is a gap between public benchmarks and real-world applications where noise, such as typographical or grammatical mistakes, is abundant and can result in degraded performance. Unfortunately, works which evaluate the robustness of neural models on noisy data and propose improvements, are limited to the English language. Upon analyzing noise in different languages, we observe that noise types vary greatly across languages. Thus, existing investigations do not generalize trivially to multilingual settings. To benchmark the performance of pretrained multilingual language models, we construct noisy datasets covering five languages and four NLP tasks and observe a clear gap in the performance between clean and noisy data in the zero-shot cross-lingual setting. After investigating several ways to boost the robustness of multilingual models in this setting, we propose Robust Contrastive Pretraining (RCP). RCP combines data augmentation with a contrastive loss term at the pretraining stage and achieves large improvements on noisy (and original test data) across two sentence-level (+3.2%) and two sequence-labeling (+10 F1-score) multilingual classification tasks.
Intent Classification (IC) and Slot Labeling (SL) models, which form the basis of dialogue systems, often encounter noisy data in real-word environments. In this work, we investigate how robust IC/SL models are to noisy data. We collect and publicly release a test-suite for seven common noise types found in production human-to-bot conversations (abbreviations, casing, misspellings, morphological variants, paraphrases, punctuation and synonyms). On this test-suite, we show that common noise types substantially degrade the IC accuracy and SL F1 performance of state-of-the-art BERT-based IC/SL models. By leveraging cross-noise robustness transfer, i.e. training on one noise type to improve robustness on another noise type, we design aggregate data-augmentation approaches that increase the model performance across all seven noise types by +10.8% for IC accuracy and +15 points for SL F1 on average. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to present a single IC/SL model that is robust to a wide range of noise phenomena.