Vaidehi Patil


2022

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Overlap-based Vocabulary Generation Improves Cross-lingual Transfer Among Related Languages
Vaidehi Patil | Partha Talukdar | Sunita Sarawagi
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Pre-trained multilingual language models such as mBERT and XLM-R have demonstrated great potential for zero-shot cross-lingual transfer to low web-resource languages (LRL). However, due to limited model capacity, the large difference in the sizes of available monolingual corpora between high web-resource languages (HRL) and LRLs does not provide enough scope of co-embedding the LRL with the HRL, thereby affecting the downstream task performance of LRLs. In this paper, we argue that relatedness among languages in a language family along the dimension of lexical overlap may be leveraged to overcome some of the corpora limitations of LRLs. We propose Overlap BPE (OBPE), a simple yet effective modification to the BPE vocabulary generation algorithm which enhances overlap across related languages. Through extensive experiments on multiple NLP tasks and datasets, we observe that OBPE generates a vocabulary that increases the representation of LRLs via tokens shared with HRLs. This results in improved zero-shot transfer from related HRLs to LRLs without reducing HRL representation and accuracy. Unlike previous studies that dismissed the importance of token-overlap, we show that in the low-resource related language setting, token overlap matters. Synthetically reducing the overlap to zero can cause as much as a four-fold drop in zero-shot transfer accuracy.

2021

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Exploiting Language Relatedness for Low Web-Resource Language Model Adaptation: An Indic Languages Study
Yash Khemchandani | Sarvesh Mehtani | Vaidehi Patil | Abhijeet Awasthi | Partha Talukdar | Sunita Sarawagi
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent research in multilingual language models (LM) has demonstrated their ability to effectively handle multiple languages in a single model. This holds promise for low web-resource languages (LRL) as multilingual models can enable transfer of supervision from high resource languages to LRLs. However, incorporating a new language in an LM still remains a challenge, particularly for languages with limited corpora and in unseen scripts. In this paper we argue that relatedness among languages in a language family may be exploited to overcome some of the corpora limitations of LRLs, and propose RelateLM. We focus on Indian languages, and exploit relatedness along two dimensions: (1) script (since many Indic scripts originated from the Brahmic script), and (2) sentence structure. RelateLM uses transliteration to convert the unseen script of limited LRL text into the script of a Related Prominent Language (RPL) (Hindi in our case). While exploiting similar sentence structures, RelateLM utilizes readily available bilingual dictionaries to pseudo translate RPL text into LRL corpora. Experiments on multiple real-world benchmark datasets provide validation to our hypothesis that using a related language as pivot, along with transliteration and pseudo translation based data augmentation, can be an effective way to adapt LMs for LRLs, rather than direct training or pivoting through English.