Yaoyiran Li


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Translation-Enhanced Multilingual Text-to-Image Generation
Yaoyiran Li | Ching-Yun Chang | Stephen Rawls | Ivan Vulić | Anna Korhonen
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Research on text-to-image generation (TTI) still predominantly focuses on the English language due to the lack of annotated image-caption data in other languages; in the long run, this might widen inequitable access to TTI technology. In this work, we thus investigate multilingual TTI (termed mTTI) and the current potential of neural machine translation (NMT) to bootstrap mTTI systems. We provide two key contributions. 1) Relying on a multilingual multi-modal encoder, we provide a systematic empirical study of standard methods used in cross-lingual NLP when applied to mTTI: Translate Train, Translate Test, and Zero-Shot Transfer. 2) We propose Ensemble Adapter (EnsAd), a novel parameter-efficient approach that learns to weigh and consolidate the multilingual text knowledge within the mTTI framework, mitigating the language gap and thus improving mTTI performance. Our evaluations on standard mTTI datasets COCO-CN, Multi30K Task2, and LAION-5B demonstrate the potential of translation-enhanced mTTI systems and also validate the benefits of the proposed EnsAd which derives consistent gains across all datasets. Further investigations on model variants, ablation studies, and qualitative analyses provide additional insights on the inner workings of the proposed mTTI approaches.


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Improving Word Translation via Two-Stage Contrastive Learning
Yaoyiran Li | Fangyu Liu | Nigel Collier | Anna Korhonen | Ivan Vulić
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Word translation or bilingual lexicon induction (BLI) is a key cross-lingual task, aiming to bridge the lexical gap between different languages. In this work, we propose a robust and effective two-stage contrastive learning framework for the BLI task. At Stage C1, we propose to refine standard cross-lingual linear maps between static word embeddings (WEs) via a contrastive learning objective; we also show how to integrate it into the self-learning procedure for even more refined cross-lingual maps. In Stage C2, we conduct BLI-oriented contrastive fine-tuning of mBERT, unlocking its word translation capability. We also show that static WEs induced from the ‘C2-tuned’ mBERT complement static WEs from Stage C1. Comprehensive experiments on standard BLI datasets for diverse languages and different experimental setups demonstrate substantial gains achieved by our framework. While the BLI method from Stage C1 already yields substantial gains over all state-of-the-art BLI methods in our comparison, even stronger improvements are met with the full two-stage framework: e.g., we report gains for 112/112 BLI setups, spanning 28 language pairs.

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Improving Bilingual Lexicon Induction with Cross-Encoder Reranking
Yaoyiran Li | Fangyu Liu | Ivan Vulić | Anna Korhonen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Bilingual lexicon induction (BLI) with limited bilingual supervision is a crucial yet challenging task in multilingual NLP. Current state-of-the-art BLI methods rely on the induction of cross-lingual word embeddings (CLWEs) to capture cross-lingual word similarities; such CLWEs are obtained 1) via traditional static models (e.g., VecMap), or 2) by extracting type-level CLWEs from multilingual pretrained language models (mPLMs), or 3) through combining the former two options. In this work, we propose a novel semi-supervised post-hoc reranking method termed BLICEr (BLI with Cross-Encoder Reranking), applicable to any precalculated CLWE space, which improves their BLI capability. The key idea is to ‘extract’ cross-lingual lexical knowledge from mPLMs, and then combine it with the original CLWEs. This crucial step is done via 1) creating a word similarity dataset, comprising positive word pairs (i.e., true translations) and hard negative pairs induced from the original CLWE space, and then 2) fine-tuning an mPLM (e.g., mBERT or XLM-R) in a cross-encoder manner to predict the similarity scores. At inference, we 3) combine the similarity score from the original CLWE space with the score from the BLI-tuned cross-encoder. BLICEr establishes new state-of-the-art results on two standard BLI benchmarks spanning a wide spectrum of diverse languages: it substantially outperforms a series of strong baselines across the board. We also validate the robustness of BLICEr with different CLWEs.


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Emergent Communication Pretraining for Few-Shot Machine Translation
Yaoyiran Li | Edoardo Maria Ponti | Ivan Vulić | Anna Korhonen
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

While state-of-the-art models that rely upon massively multilingual pretrained encoders achieve sample efficiency in downstream applications, they still require abundant amounts of unlabelled text. Nevertheless, most of the world’s languages lack such resources. Hence, we investigate a more radical form of unsupervised knowledge transfer in the absence of linguistic data. In particular, for the first time we pretrain neural networks via emergent communication from referential games. Our key assumption is that grounding communication on images—as a crude approximation of real-world environments—inductively biases the model towards learning natural languages. On the one hand, we show that this substantially benefits machine translation in few-shot settings. On the other hand, this also provides an extrinsic evaluation protocol to probe the properties of emergent languages ex vitro. Intuitively, the closer they are to natural languages, the higher the gains from pretraining on them should be. For instance, in this work we measure the influence of communication success and maximum sequence length on downstream performances. Finally, we introduce a customised adapter layer and annealing strategies for the regulariser of maximum-a-posteriori inference during fine-tuning. These turn out to be crucial to facilitate knowledge transfer and prevent catastrophic forgetting. Compared to a recurrent baseline, our method yields gains of 59.0% 147.6% in BLEU score with only 500 NMT training instances and 65.1% 196.7% with 1,000 NMT training instances across four language pairs. These proof-of-concept results reveal the potential of emergent communication pretraining for both natural language processing tasks in resource-poor settings and extrinsic evaluation of artificial languages.

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Two-Headed Monster and Crossed Co-Attention Networks
Yaoyiran Li | Jing Jiang
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: Student Research Workshop

This paper investigates a new co-attention mechanism in neural transduction models for machine translation tasks. We propose a paradigm, termed Two-Headed Monster (THM), which consists of two symmetric encoder modules and one decoder module connected with co-attention. As a specific and concrete implementation of THM, Crossed Co-Attention Networks (CCNs) are designed based on the Transformer model. We test CCNs on WMT 2014 EN-DE and WMT 2016 EN-FI translation tasks and show both advantages and disadvantages of the proposed method. Our model outperforms the strong Transformer baseline by 0.51 (big) and 0.74 (base) BLEU points on EN-DE and by 0.17 (big) and 0.47 (base) BLEU points on EN-FI but the epoch time increases by circa 75%.