Thamme Gowda


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Macro-Average: Rare Types Are Important Too
Thamme Gowda | Weiqiu You | Constantine Lignos | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

While traditional corpus-level evaluation metrics for machine translation (MT) correlate well with fluency, they struggle to reflect adequacy. Model-based MT metrics trained on segment-level human judgments have emerged as an attractive replacement due to strong correlation results. These models, however, require potentially expensive re-training for new domains and languages. Furthermore, their decisions are inherently non-transparent and appear to reflect unwelcome biases. We explore the simple type-based classifier metric, MacroF1, and study its applicability to MT evaluation. We find that MacroF1 is competitive on direct assessment, and outperforms others in indicating downstream cross-lingual information retrieval task performance. Further, we show that MacroF1 can be used to effectively compare supervised and unsupervised neural machine translation, and reveal significant qualitative differences in the methods’ outputs.

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Many-to-English Machine Translation Tools, Data, and Pretrained Models
Thamme Gowda | Zhao Zhang | Chris Mattmann | Jonathan May
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

While there are more than 7000 languages in the world, most translation research efforts have targeted a few high resource languages. Commercial translation systems support only one hundred languages or fewer, and do not make these models available for transfer to low resource languages. In this work, we present useful tools for machine translation research: MTData, NLCodec and RTG. We demonstrate their usefulness by creating a multilingual neural machine translation model capable of translating from 500 source languages to English. We make this multilingual model readily downloadable and usable as a service, or as a parent model for transfer-learning to even lower-resource languages.


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Finding the Optimal Vocabulary Size for Neural Machine Translation
Thamme Gowda | Jonathan May
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

We cast neural machine translation (NMT) as a classification task in an autoregressive setting and analyze the limitations of both classification and autoregression components. Classifiers are known to perform better with balanced class distributions during training. Since the Zipfian nature of languages causes imbalanced classes, we explore its effect on NMT. We analyze the effect of various vocabulary sizes on NMT performance on multiple languages with many data sizes, and reveal an explanation for why certain vocabulary sizes are better than others.


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SARAL: A Low-Resource Cross-Lingual Domain-Focused Information Retrieval System for Effective Rapid Document Triage
Elizabeth Boschee | Joel Barry | Jayadev Billa | Marjorie Freedman | Thamme Gowda | Constantine Lignos | Chester Palen-Michel | Michael Pust | Banriskhem Kayang Khonglah | Srikanth Madikeri | Jonathan May | Scott Miller
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

With the increasing democratization of electronic media, vast information resources are available in less-frequently-taught languages such as Swahili or Somali. That information, which may be crucially important and not available elsewhere, can be difficult for monolingual English speakers to effectively access. In this paper we present an end-to-end cross-lingual information retrieval (CLIR) and summarization system for low-resource languages that 1) enables English speakers to search foreign language repositories of text and audio using English queries, 2) summarizes the retrieved documents in English with respect to a particular information need, and 3) provides complete transcriptions and translations as needed. The SARAL system achieved the top end-to-end performance in the most recent IARPA MATERIAL CLIR+summarization evaluations. Our demonstration system provides end-to-end open query retrieval and summarization capability, and presents the original source text or audio, speech transcription, and machine translation, for two low resource languages.

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Cross-lingual Joint Entity and Word Embedding to Improve Entity Linking and Parallel Sentence Mining
Xiaoman Pan | Thamme Gowda | Heng Ji | Jonathan May | Scott Miller
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Deep Learning Approaches for Low-Resource NLP (DeepLo 2019)

Entities, which refer to distinct objects in the real world, can be viewed as language universals and used as effective signals to generate less ambiguous semantic representations and align multiple languages. We propose a novel method, CLEW, to generate cross-lingual data that is a mix of entities and contextual words based on Wikipedia. We replace each anchor link in the source language with its corresponding entity title in the target language if it exists, or in the source language otherwise. A cross-lingual joint entity and word embedding learned from this kind of data not only can disambiguate linkable entities but can also effectively represent unlinkable entities. Because this multilingual common space directly relates the semantics of contextual words in the source language to that of entities in the target language, we leverage it for unsupervised cross-lingual entity linking. Experimental results show that CLEW significantly advances the state-of-the-art: up to 3.1% absolute F-score gain for unsupervised cross-lingual entity linking. Moreover, it provides reliable alignment on both the word/entity level and the sentence level, and thus we use it to mine parallel sentences for all (302, 2) language pairs in Wikipedia.