Vikas Raunak


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Do GPTs Produce Less Literal Translations?
Vikas Raunak | Arul Menezes | Matt Post | Hany Hassan
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Large Language Models (LLMs) such as GPT-3 have emerged as general-purpose language models capable of addressing many natural language generation or understanding tasks. On the task of Machine Translation (MT), multiple works have investigated few-shot prompting mechanisms to elicit better translations from LLMs. However, there has been relatively little investigation on how such translations differ qualitatively from the translations generated by standard Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models. In this work, we investigate these differences in terms of the literalness of translations produced by the two systems. Using literalness measures involving word alignment and monotonicity, we find that translations out of English (E-X) from GPTs tend to be less literal, while exhibiting similar or better scores on MT quality metrics. We demonstrate that this finding is borne out in human evaluations as well. We then show that these differences are especially pronounced when translating sentences that contain idiomatic expressions.

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Dissecting In-Context Learning of Translations in GPT-3
Vikas Raunak | Arul Menezes | Hany Awadalla
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Most of the recent work in leveraging Large Language Models (LLMs) such as GPT-3 for Machine Translation (MT) has focused on selecting the few-shot samples for prompting. In this work, we try to better understand the role of demonstration attributes for the in-context learning of translations through perturbations of high-quality, in-domain demonstrations. We find that asymmetric perturbation of the source-target mappings yield vastly different results. We show that the perturbation of the source side has surprisingly little impact, while target perturbation can drastically reduce translation quality, suggesting that it is the output text distribution that provides the most important learning signal during in-context learning of translations. We propose a method named Zero-Shot-Context to add this signal automatically in Zero-Shot prompting. We demonstrate that it improves upon the zero-shot translation performance of GPT-3, even making it competitive with few-shot prompted translations.

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Leveraging GPT-4 for Automatic Translation Post-Editing
Vikas Raunak | Amr Sharaf | Yiren Wang | Hany Awadalla | Arul Menezes
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

While Neural Machine Translation (NMT) represents the leading approach to Machine Translation (MT), the outputs of NMT models still require translation post-editing to rectify errors and enhance quality under critical settings. In this work, we formalize the task of direct translation post-editing with Large Language Models (LLMs) and explore the use of GPT-4 to automatically post-edit NMT outputs across several language pairs. Our results demonstrate that GPT-4 is adept at translation post-editing, producing meaningful and trustworthy edits to translations that help improve its general quality as well as remove different classes of major errors in translations. In particular, human evaluations on assessing edit trustworthiness show that GPT-4 exhibits a large improvement over the prior state-of-the-art LLM. Notably, we improve upon state-of-the-art performance on WMT-22 English-Chinese, English-German, Chinese-English and German-English language pairs using GPT-4 based post-editing, as evaluated by state-of-the-art MT quality metrics. However, we also show that GPT-4 could produce hallucinated edits, thereby urging caution in its use as an expert translation post-editor.

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Evaluating Metrics for Document-context Evaluation in Machine Translation
Vikas Raunak | Tom Kocmi | Matt Post
Proceedings of the Eighth Conference on Machine Translation

We describe our submission of a new metric, SLIDE (Raunak et al., 2023), to the WMT 2023 metrics task. SLIDE is a reference-free quality-estimation metric that works by constructing a fixed sentence-length window over the documents in a test set, concatenating chunks and then sending them for scoring as a single unit by COMET (Rei et al, 2022). We find that SLIDE improves dramatically over its context-less counterpart on the two WMT22 evaluation campaigns (MQM and DA+SQM).


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GEMv2: Multilingual NLG Benchmarking in a Single Line of Code
Sebastian Gehrmann | Abhik Bhattacharjee | Abinaya Mahendiran | Alex Wang | Alexandros Papangelis | Aman Madaan | Angelina Mcmillan-major | Anna Shvets | Ashish Upadhyay | Bernd Bohnet | Bingsheng Yao | Bryan Wilie | Chandra Bhagavatula | Chaobin You | Craig Thomson | Cristina Garbacea | Dakuo Wang | Daniel Deutsch | Deyi Xiong | Di Jin | Dimitra Gkatzia | Dragomir Radev | Elizabeth Clark | Esin Durmus | Faisal Ladhak | Filip Ginter | Genta Indra Winata | Hendrik Strobelt | Hiroaki Hayashi | Jekaterina Novikova | Jenna Kanerva | Jenny Chim | Jiawei Zhou | Jordan Clive | Joshua Maynez | João Sedoc | Juraj Juraska | Kaustubh Dhole | Khyathi Raghavi Chandu | Laura Perez Beltrachini | Leonardo F . R. Ribeiro | Lewis Tunstall | Li Zhang | Mahim Pushkarna | Mathias Creutz | Michael White | Mihir Sanjay Kale | Moussa Kamal Eddine | Nico Daheim | Nishant Subramani | Ondrej Dusek | Paul Pu Liang | Pawan Sasanka Ammanamanchi | Qi Zhu | Ratish Puduppully | Reno Kriz | Rifat Shahriyar | Ronald Cardenas | Saad Mahamood | Salomey Osei | Samuel Cahyawijaya | Sanja Štajner | Sebastien Montella | Shailza Jolly | Simon Mille | Tahmid Hasan | Tianhao Shen | Tosin Adewumi | Vikas Raunak | Vipul Raheja | Vitaly Nikolaev | Vivian Tsai | Yacine Jernite | Ying Xu | Yisi Sang | Yixin Liu | Yufang Hou
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

Evaluations in machine learning rarely use the latest metrics, datasets, or human evaluation in favor of remaining compatible with prior work. The compatibility, often facilitated through leaderboards, thus leads to outdated but standardized evaluation practices. We pose that the standardization is taking place in the wrong spot. Evaluation infrastructure should enable researchers to use the latest methods and what should be standardized instead is how to incorporate these new evaluation advances. We introduce GEMv2, the new version of the Generation, Evaluation, and Metrics Benchmark which uses a modular infrastructure for dataset, model, and metric developers to benefit from each other’s work. GEMv2 supports 40 documented datasets in 51 languages, ongoing online evaluation for all datasets, and our interactive tools make it easier to add new datasets to the living benchmark.

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Finding Memo: Extractive Memorization in Constrained Sequence Generation Tasks
Vikas Raunak | Arul Menezes
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Memorization presents a challenge for several constrained Natural Language Generation (NLG) tasks such as Neural Machine Translation (NMT), wherein the proclivity of neural models to memorize noisy and atypical samples reacts adversely with the noisy (web crawled) datasets. However, previous studies of memorization in constrained NLG tasks have only focused on counterfactual memorization, linking it to the problem of hallucinations. In this work, we propose a new, inexpensive algorithm for extractive memorization (exact training data generation under insufficient context) in constrained sequence generation tasks and use it to study extractive memorization and its effects in NMT. We demonstrate that extractive memorization poses a serious threat to NMT reliability by qualitatively and quantitatively characterizing the memorized samples as well as the model behavior in their vicinity. Based on empirical observations, we develop a simple algorithm which elicits non-memorized translations of memorized samples from the same model, for a large fraction of such samples. Finally, we show that the proposed algorithm could also be leveraged to mitigate memorization in the model through finetuning. We have released the code to reproduce our results at

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SALTED: A Framework for SAlient Long-tail Translation Error Detection
Vikas Raunak | Matt Post | Arul Menezes
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Traditional machine translation (MT) metrics provide an average measure of translation quality that is insensitive to the long tail of behavioral problems. Examples include translation of numbers, physical units, dropped content and hallucinations. These errors, which occur rarely and unpredictably in Neural Machine Translation (NMT), greatly undermine the reliability of state-of-the-art MT systems. Consequently, it is important to have visibility into these problems during model development. Towards this end, we introduce SALTED, a specifications-based framework for behavioral testing of NMT models. At the core of our approach is the use of high-precision detectors that flag errors (or alternatively, verify output correctness) between a source sentence and a system output. These detectors provide fine-grained measurements of long-tail errors, providing a trustworthy view of problems that were previously invisible. We demonstrate that such detectors could be used not just to identify salient long-tail errors in MT systems, but also for higher-recall filtering of the training data, fixing targeted errors with model fine-tuning in NMT and generating novel data for metamorphic testing to elicit further bugs in models.


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The Curious Case of Hallucinations in Neural Machine Translation
Vikas Raunak | Arul Menezes | Marcin Junczys-Dowmunt
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

In this work, we study hallucinations in Neural Machine Translation (NMT), which lie at an extreme end on the spectrum of NMT pathologies. Firstly, we connect the phenomenon of hallucinations under source perturbation to the Long-Tail theory of Feldman, and present an empirically validated hypothesis that explains hallucinations under source perturbation. Secondly, we consider hallucinations under corpus-level noise (without any source perturbation) and demonstrate that two prominent types of natural hallucinations (detached and oscillatory outputs) could be generated and explained through specific corpus-level noise patterns. Finally, we elucidate the phenomenon of hallucination amplification in popular data-generation processes such as Backtranslation and sequence-level Knowledge Distillation. We have released the datasets and code to replicate our results.

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Searchable Hidden Intermediates for End-to-End Models of Decomposable Sequence Tasks
Siddharth Dalmia | Brian Yan | Vikas Raunak | Florian Metze | Shinji Watanabe
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

End-to-end approaches for sequence tasks are becoming increasingly popular. Yet for complex sequence tasks, like speech translation, systems that cascade several models trained on sub-tasks have shown to be superior, suggesting that the compositionality of cascaded systems simplifies learning and enables sophisticated search capabilities. In this work, we present an end-to-end framework that exploits compositionality to learn searchable hidden representations at intermediate stages of a sequence model using decomposed sub-tasks. These hidden intermediates can be improved using beam search to enhance the overall performance and can also incorporate external models at intermediate stages of the network to re-score or adapt towards out-of-domain data. One instance of the proposed framework is a Multi-Decoder model for speech translation that extracts the searchable hidden intermediates from a speech recognition sub-task. The model demonstrates the aforementioned benefits and outperforms the previous state-of-the-art by around +6 and +3 BLEU on the two test sets of Fisher-CallHome and by around +3 and +4 BLEU on the English-German and English-French test sets of MuST-C.

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The GEM Benchmark: Natural Language Generation, its Evaluation and Metrics
Sebastian Gehrmann | Tosin Adewumi | Karmanya Aggarwal | Pawan Sasanka Ammanamanchi | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Antoine Bosselut | Khyathi Raghavi Chandu | Miruna-Adriana Clinciu | Dipanjan Das | Kaustubh Dhole | Wanyu Du | Esin Durmus | Ondřej Dušek | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Varun Gangal | Cristina Garbacea | Tatsunori Hashimoto | Yufang Hou | Yacine Jernite | Harsh Jhamtani | Yangfeng Ji | Shailza Jolly | Mihir Kale | Dhruv Kumar | Faisal Ladhak | Aman Madaan | Mounica Maddela | Khyati Mahajan | Saad Mahamood | Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder | Pedro Henrique Martins | Angelina McMillan-Major | Simon Mille | Emiel van Miltenburg | Moin Nadeem | Shashi Narayan | Vitaly Nikolaev | Andre Niyongabo Rubungo | Salomey Osei | Ankur Parikh | Laura Perez-Beltrachini | Niranjan Ramesh Rao | Vikas Raunak | Juan Diego Rodriguez | Sashank Santhanam | João Sedoc | Thibault Sellam | Samira Shaikh | Anastasia Shimorina | Marco Antonio Sobrevilla Cabezudo | Hendrik Strobelt | Nishant Subramani | Wei Xu | Diyi Yang | Akhila Yerukola | Jiawei Zhou
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Natural Language Generation, Evaluation, and Metrics (GEM 2021)

We introduce GEM, a living benchmark for natural language Generation (NLG), its Evaluation, and Metrics. Measuring progress in NLG relies on a constantly evolving ecosystem of automated metrics, datasets, and human evaluation standards. Due to this moving target, new models often still evaluate on divergent anglo-centric corpora with well-established, but flawed, metrics. This disconnect makes it challenging to identify the limitations of current models and opportunities for progress. Addressing this limitation, GEM provides an environment in which models can easily be applied to a wide set of tasks and in which evaluation strategies can be tested. Regular updates to the benchmark will help NLG research become more multilingual and evolve the challenge alongside models. This paper serves as the description of the data for the 2021 shared task at the associated GEM Workshop.


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On Long-Tailed Phenomena in Neural Machine Translation
Vikas Raunak | Siddharth Dalmia | Vivek Gupta | Florian Metze
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

State-of-the-art Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models struggle with generating low-frequency tokens, tackling which remains a major challenge. The analysis of long-tailed phenomena in the context of structured prediction tasks is further hindered by the added complexities of search during inference. In this work, we quantitatively characterize such long-tailed phenomena at two levels of abstraction, namely, token classification and sequence generation. We propose a new loss function, the Anti-Focal loss, to better adapt model training to the structural dependencies of conditional text generation by incorporating the inductive biases of beam search in the training process. We show the efficacy of the proposed technique on a number of Machine Translation (MT) datasets, demonstrating that it leads to significant gains over cross-entropy across different language pairs, especially on the generation of low-frequency words. We have released the code to reproduce our results.

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On Dimensional Linguistic Properties of the Word Embedding Space
Vikas Raunak | Vaibhav Kumar | Vivek Gupta | Florian Metze
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP

Word embeddings have become a staple of several natural language processing tasks, yet much remains to be understood about their properties. In this work, we analyze word embeddings in terms of their principal components and arrive at a number of novel and counterintuitive observations. In particular, we characterize the utility of variance explained by the principal components as a proxy for downstream performance. Furthermore, through syntactic probing of the principal embedding space, we show that the syntactic information captured by a principal component does not correlate with the amount of variance it explains. Consequently, we investigate the limitations of variance based embedding post-processing algorithms and demonstrate that such post-processing is counter-productive in sentence classification and machine translation tasks. Finally, we offer a few precautionary guidelines on applying variance based embedding post-processing and explain why non-isotropic geometry might be integral to word embedding performance.


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Effective Dimensionality Reduction for Word Embeddings
Vikas Raunak | Vivek Gupta | Florian Metze
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP-2019)

Pre-trained word embeddings are used in several downstream applications as well as for constructing representations for sentences, paragraphs and documents. Recently, there has been an emphasis on improving the pretrained word vectors through post-processing algorithms. One improvement area is reducing the dimensionality of word embeddings. Reducing the size of word embeddings can improve their utility in memory constrained devices, benefiting several real world applications. In this work, we present a novel technique that efficiently combines PCA based dimensionality reduction with a recently proposed post-processing algorithm (Mu and Viswanath, 2018), to construct effective word embeddings of lower dimensions. Empirical evaluations on several benchmarks show that our algorithm efficiently reduces the embedding size while achieving similar or (more often) better performance than original embeddings. We have released the source code along with this paper.

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On Leveraging the Visual Modality for Neural Machine Translation
Vikas Raunak | Sang Keun Choe | Quanyang Lu | Yi Xu | Florian Metze
Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Natural Language Generation

Leveraging the visual modality effectively for Neural Machine Translation (NMT) remains an open problem in computational linguistics. Recently, Caglayan et al. posit that the observed gains are limited mainly due to the very simple, short, repetitive sentences of the Multi30k dataset (the only multimodal MT dataset available at the time), which renders the source text sufficient for context. In this work, we further investigate this hypothesis on a new large scale multimodal Machine Translation (MMT) dataset, How2, which has 1.57 times longer mean sentence length than Multi30k and no repetition. We propose and evaluate three novel fusion techniques, each of which is designed to ensure the utilization of visual context at different stages of the Sequence-to-Sequence transduction pipeline, even under full linguistic context. However, we still obtain only marginal gains under full linguistic context and posit that visual embeddings extracted from deep vision models (ResNet for Multi30k, ResNext for How2) do not lend themselves to increasing the discriminativeness between the vocabulary elements at token level prediction in NMT. We demonstrate this qualitatively by analyzing attention distribution and quantitatively through Principal Component Analysis, arriving at the conclusion that it is the quality of the visual embeddings rather than the length of sentences, which need to be improved in existing MMT datasets.