Xiaolin Xing


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Taking Actions Separately: A Bidirectionally-Adaptive Transfer Learning Method for Low-Resource Neural Machine Translation
Xiaolin Xing | Yu Hong | Minhan Xu | Jianmin Yao | Guodong Zhou
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Training Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models suffers from sparse parallel data, in the infrequent translation scenarios towards low-resource source languages. The existing solutions primarily concentrate on the utilization of Parent-Child (PC) transfer learning. It transfers well-trained NMT models on high-resource languages (namely Parent NMT) to low-resource languages, so as to produce Child NMT models by fine-tuning. It has been carefully demonstrated that a variety of PC variants yield significant improvements for low-resource NMT. In this paper, we intend to enhance PC-based NMT by a bidirectionally-adaptive learning strategy. Specifically, we divide inner constituents (6 transformers) of Parent encoder into two “teams”, i.e., T1 and T2. During representation learning, T1 learns to encode low-resource languages conditioned on bilingual shareable latent space. Generative adversarial network and masked language modeling are used for space-shareable encoding. On the other hand, T2 is straightforwardly transferred to low-resource languages, and fine-tuned together with T1 for low-resource translation. Briefly, T1 and T2 take actions separately for different goals. The former aims to adapt to characteristics of low-resource languages during encoding, while the latter adapts to translation experiences learned from high-resource languages. We experiment on benchmark corpora SETIMES, conducting low-resource NMT for Albanian (Sq), Macedonian (Mk), Croatian (Hr) and Romanian (Ro). Experimental results show that our method yields substantial improvements, which allows the NMT performance to reach BLEU4-scores of 62.24%, 56.93%, 50.53% and 54.65% for Sq, Mk, Hr and Ro, respectively.