Séamus Lankford

Also published as: Seamus Lankford


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gaHealth: An English–Irish Bilingual Corpus of Health Data
Séamus Lankford | Haithem Afli | Órla Ní Loinsigh | Andy Way
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Machine Translation is a mature technology for many high-resource language pairs. However in the context of low-resource languages, there is a paucity of parallel data datasets available for developing translation models. Furthermore, the development of datasets for low-resource languages often focuses on simply creating the largest possible dataset for generic translation. The benefits and development of smaller in-domain datasets can easily be overlooked. To assess the merits of using in-domain data, a dataset for the specific domain of health was developed for the low-resource English to Irish language pair. Our study outlines the process used in developing the corpus and empirically demonstrates the benefits of using an in-domain dataset for the health domain. In the context of translating health-related data, models developed using the gaHealth corpus demonstrated a maximum BLEU score improvement of 22.2 points (40%) when compared with top performing models from the LoResMT2021 Shared Task. Furthermore, we define linguistic guidelines for developing gaHealth, the first bilingual corpus of health data for the Irish language, which we hope will be of use to other creators of low-resource data sets. gaHealth is now freely available online and is ready to be explored for further research.


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Transformers for Low-Resource Languages: Is Féidir Linn!
Seamus Lankford | Haithem Alfi | Andy Way
Proceedings of Machine Translation Summit XVIII: Research Track

The Transformer model is the state-of-the-art in Machine Translation. However and in general and neural translation models often under perform on language pairs with insufficient training data. As a consequence and relatively few experiments have been carried out using this architecture on low-resource language pairs. In this study and hyperparameter optimization of Transformer models in translating the low-resource English-Irish language pair is evaluated. We demonstrate that choosing appropriate parameters leads to considerable performance improvements. Most importantly and the correct choice of subword model is shown to be the biggest driver of translation performance. SentencePiece models using both unigram and BPE approaches were appraised. Variations on model architectures included modifying the number of layers and testing various regularization techniques and evaluating the optimal number of heads for attention. A generic 55k DGT corpus and an in-domain 88k public admin corpus were used for evaluation. A Transformer optimized model demonstrated a BLEU score improvement of 7.8 points when compared with a baseline RNN model. Improvements were observed across a range of metrics and including TER and indicating a substantially reduced post editing effort for Transformer optimized models with 16k BPE subword models. Bench-marked against Google Translate and our translation engines demonstrated significant improvements. The question of whether or not Transformers can be used effectively in a low-resource setting of English-Irish translation has been addressed. Is féidir linn - yes we can.

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Machine Translation in the Covid domain: an English-Irish case study for LoResMT 2021
Seamus Lankford | Haithem Afli | Andy Way
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Technologies for MT of Low Resource Languages (LoResMT2021)

Translation models for the specific domain of translating Covid data from English to Irish were developed for the LoResMT 2021 shared task. Domain adaptation techniques, using a Covid-adapted generic 55k corpus from the Directorate General of Translation, were applied. Fine-tuning, mixed fine-tuning and combined dataset approaches were compared with models trained on an extended in-domain dataset. As part of this study, an English-Irish dataset of Covid related data, from the Health and Education domains, was developed. The highestperforming model used a Transformer architecture trained with an extended in-domain Covid dataset. In the context of this study, we have demonstrated that extending an 8k in-domain baseline dataset by just 5k lines improved the BLEU score by 27 points.