IndT5: A Text-to-Text Transformer for 10 Indigenous Languages
El Moatez Billah Nagoudi | Wei-Rui Chen | Muhammad Abdul-Mageed | Hasan Cavusoglu
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas
Transformer language models have become fundamental components of NLP based pipelines. Although several Transformer have been introduced to serve many languages, there is a shortage of models pre-trained for low-resource and Indigenous languages in particular. In this work, we introduce IndT5, the first Transformer language model for Indigenous languages. To train IndT5, we build IndCorpus, a new corpus for 10 Indigenous languages and Spanish. We also present the application of IndT5 to machine translation by investigating different approaches to translate between Spanish and the Indigenous languages as part of our contribution to the AmericasNLP 2021 Shared Task on Open Machine Translation. IndT5 and IndCorpus are publicly available for research.
In this work, we investigate methods for the challenging task of translating between low- resource language pairs that exhibit some level of similarity. In particular, we consider the utility of transfer learning for translating between several Indo-European low-resource languages from the Germanic and Romance language families. In particular, we build two main classes of transfer-based systems to study how relatedness can benefit the translation performance. The primary system fine-tunes a model pre-trained on a related language pair and the contrastive system fine-tunes one pre-trained on an unrelated language pair. Our experiments show that although relatedness is not necessary for transfer learning to work, it does benefit model performance.