Telmo Pires


pdf bib
One Wide Feedforward Is All You Need
Telmo Pires | António Vilarinho Lopes | Yannick Assogba | Hendra Setiawan
Proceedings of the Eighth Conference on Machine Translation

The Transformer architecture has two main non-embedding components: Attention and the Feed Forward Network (FFN). Attention captures interdependencies between words regardless of their position, while the FFN non-linearly transforms each input token independently. In this work we explore the role of the FFN, and find that despite taking up a significant fraction of the model’s parameters, it is highly redundant. Concretely, we are able to substantially reduce the number of parameters with only a modest drop in accuracy by removing the FFN on the decoder layers and sharing a single FFN across the encoder. Finally we scale this architecture back to its original size by increasing the hidden dimension of the shared FFN, achieving substantial gains in both accuracy and latency with respect to the original Transformer Big.

pdf bib
Learning Language-Specific Layers for Multilingual Machine Translation
Telmo Pires | Robin Schmidt | Yi-Hsiu Liao | Stephan Peitz
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Multilingual Machine Translation promises to improve translation quality between non-English languages. This is advantageous for several reasons, namely lower latency (no need to translate twice), and reduced error cascades (e.g., avoiding losing gender and formality information when translating through English).On the downside, adding more languages reduces model capacity per language, which is usually countered by increasing the overall model size, making training harder and inference slower. In this work, we introduce Language-Specific Transformer Layers (LSLs), which allow us to increase model capacity, while keeping the amount of computation and the number of parameters used in the forward pass constant. The key idea is to have some layers of the encoder be source or target language-specific, while keeping the remaining layers shared. We study the best way to place these layers using a neural architecture search inspired approach, and achieve an improvement of 1.3 chrF (1.5 spBLEU) points over not using LSLs on a separate decoder architecture, and 1.9 chrF (2.2 spBLEU) on a shared decoder one.


pdf bib
End-to-End Speech Translation for Code Switched Speech
Orion Weller | Matthias Sperber | Telmo Pires | Hendra Setiawan | Christian Gollan | Dominic Telaar | Matthias Paulik
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Code switching (CS) refers to the phenomenon of interchangeably using words and phrases from different languages. CS can pose significant accuracy challenges to NLP, due to the often monolingual nature of the underlying systems. In this work, we focus on CS in the context of English/Spanish conversations for the task of speech translation (ST), generating and evaluating both transcript and translation. To evaluate model performance on this task, we create a novel ST corpus derived from existing public data sets. We explore various ST architectures across two dimensions: cascaded (transcribe then translate) vs end-to-end (jointly transcribe and translate) and unidirectional (source -> target) vs bidirectional (source <-> target). We show that our ST architectures, and especially our bidirectional end-to-end architecture, perform well on CS speech, even when no CS training data is used.

pdf bib
Non-Autoregressive Neural Machine Translation: A Call for Clarity
Robin Schmidt | Telmo Pires | Stephan Peitz | Jonas Lööf
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Non-autoregressive approaches aim to improve the inference speed of translation models by only requiring a single forward pass to generate the output sequence instead of iteratively producing each predicted token. Consequently, their translation quality still tends to be inferior to their autoregressive counterparts due to several issues involving output token interdependence. In this work, we take a step back and revisit several techniques that have been proposed for improving non-autoregressive translation models and compare their combined translation quality and speed implications under third-party testing environments. We provide novel insights for establishing strong baselines using length prediction or CTC-based architecture variants and contribute standardized BLEU, chrF++, and TER scores using sacreBLEU on four translation tasks, which crucially have been missing as inconsistencies in the use of tokenized BLEU lead to deviations of up to 1.7 BLEU points. Our open-sourced code is integrated into fairseq for reproducibility.


pdf bib
How Multilingual is Multilingual BERT?
Telmo Pires | Eva Schlinger | Dan Garrette
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In this paper, we show that Multilingual BERT (M-BERT), released by Devlin et al. (2018) as a single language model pre-trained from monolingual corpora in 104 languages, is surprisingly good at zero-shot cross-lingual model transfer, in which task-specific annotations in one language are used to fine-tune the model for evaluation in another language. To understand why, we present a large number of probing experiments, showing that transfer is possible even to languages in different scripts, that transfer works best between typologically similar languages, that monolingual corpora can train models for code-switching, and that the model can find translation pairs. From these results, we can conclude that M-BERT does create multilingual representations, but that these representations exhibit systematic deficiencies affecting certain language pairs.