What can pre-trained multilingual sequence-to-sequence models like mBART contribute to translating low-resource languages? We conduct a thorough empirical experiment in 10 languages to ascertain this, considering five factors: (1) the amount of fine-tuning data, (2) the noise in the fine-tuning data, (3) the amount of pre-training data in the model, (4) the impact of domain mismatch, and (5) language typology. In addition to yielding several heuristics, the experiments form a framework for evaluating the data sensitivities of machine translation systems. While mBART is robust to domain differences, its translations for unseen and typologically distant languages remain below 3.0 BLEU. In answer to our title’s question, mBART is not a low-resource panacea; we therefore encourage shifting the emphasis from new models to new data.
We introduce the Merkel Podcast Corpus, an audio-visual-text corpus in German collected from 16 years of (almost) weekly Internet podcasts of former German chancellor Angela Merkel. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first single speaker corpus in the German language consisting of audio, visual and text modalities of comparable size and temporal extent. We describe the methods used with which we have collected and edited the data which involves downloading the videos, transcripts and other metadata, forced alignment, performing active speaker recognition and face detection to finally curate the single speaker dataset consisting of utterances spoken by Angela Merkel. The proposed pipeline is general and can be used to curate other datasets of similar nature, such as talk show contents. Through various statistical analyses and applications of the dataset in talking face generation and TTS, we show the utility of the dataset. We argue that it is a valuable contribution to the research community, in particular, due to its realistic and challenging material at the boundary between prepared and spontaneous speech.
Dubbing has two shades; synchronisation constraints are applied only when the actor’s mouth is visible on screen, while the translation is unconstrained for off-screen dubbing. Consequently, different synchronisation requirements, and therefore translation strategies, are applied depending on the type of dubbing. In this work, we manually annotate an existing dubbing corpus (Heroes) for this dichotomy. We show that, even though we did not observe distinctive features between on- and off-screen dubbing at the textual level, on-screen dubbing is more difficult for MT (-4 BLEU points). Moreover, synchronisation constraints dramatically decrease translation quality for off-screen dubbing. We conclude that, distinguishing between on-screen and off-screen dubbing is necessary for determining successful strategies for dubbing-customised Machine Translation.