Yikun Lei


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CKDST: Comprehensively and Effectively Distill Knowledge from Machine Translation to End-to-End Speech Translation
Yikun Lei | Zhengshan Xue | Xiaohu Zhao | Haoran Sun | Shaolin Zhu | Xiaodong Lin | Deyi Xiong
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Distilling knowledge from a high-resource task, e.g., machine translation, is an effective way to alleviate the data scarcity problem of end-to-end speech translation. However, previous works simply use the classical knowledge distillation that does not allow for adequate transfer of knowledge from machine translation. In this paper, we propose a comprehensive knowledge distillation framework for speech translation, CKDST, which is capable of comprehensively and effectively distilling knowledge from machine translation to speech translation from two perspectives: cross-modal contrastive representation distillation and simultaneous decoupled knowledge distillation. In the former, we leverage a contrastive learning objective to optmize the mutual information between speech and text representations for representation distillation in the encoder. In the later, we decouple the non-target class knowledge from target class knowledge for logits distillation in the decoder. Experiments on the MuST-C benchmark dataset demonstrate that our CKDST substantially improves the baseline by 1.2 BLEU on average in all translation directions, and outperforms previous state-of-the-art end-to-end and cascaded speech translation models.

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CCSRD: Content-Centric Speech Representation Disentanglement Learning for End-to-End Speech Translation
Xiaohu Zhao | Haoran Sun | Yikun Lei | Shaolin Zhu | Deyi Xiong
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Deep neural networks have demonstrated their capacity in extracting features from speech inputs. However, these features may include non-linguistic speech factors such as timbre and speaker identity, which are not directly related to translation. In this paper, we propose a content-centric speech representation disentanglement learning framework for speech translation, CCSRD, which decomposes speech representations into content representations and non-linguistic representations via representation disentanglement learning. CCSRD consists of a content encoder that encodes linguistic content information from the speech input, a non-content encoder that models non-linguistic speech features, and a disentanglement module that learns disentangled representations with a cyclic reconstructor, feature reconstructor and speaker classifier trained in a multi-task learning way. Experiments on the MuST-C benchmark dataset demonstrate that CCSRD achieves an average improvement of +0.9 BLEU in two settings across five translation directions over the baseline, outperforming state-of-the-art end-to-end speech translation models and cascaded models.

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Towards a Deep Understanding of Multilingual End-to-End Speech Translation
Haoran Sun | Xiaohu Zhao | Yikun Lei | Shaolin Zhu | Deyi Xiong
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

In this paper, we employ Singular Value Canonical Correlation Analysis (SVCCA) to analyze representations learnt in a multilingual end-to-end speech translation model trained over 22 languages. SVCCA enables us to estimate representational similarity across languages and layers, enhancing our understanding of the functionality of multilingual speech translation and its potential connection to multilingual neural machine translation. The multilingual speech translation model is trained on the CoVoST 2 dataset in all possible directions, and we utilize LASER to extract parallel bitext data for SVCCA analysis. We derive three major findings from our analysis: (I) Linguistic similarity loses its efficacy in multilingual speech translation when the training data for a specific language is limited. (II) Enhanced encoder representations and well-aligned audio-text data significantly improve translation quality, surpassing the bilingual counterparts when the training data is not compromised. (III) The encoder representations of multilingual speech translation demonstrate superior performance in predicting phonetic features in linguistic typology prediction. With these findings, we propose that releasing the constraint of limited data for low-resource languages and subsequently combining them with linguistically related high-resource languages could offer a more effective approach for multilingual end-to-end speech translation.

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PEIT: Bridging the Modality Gap with Pre-trained Models for End-to-End Image Translation
Shaolin Zhu | Shangjie Li | Yikun Lei | Deyi Xiong
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Image translation is a task that translates an image containing text in the source language to the target language. One major challenge with image translation is the modality gap between visual text inputs and textual inputs/outputs of machine translation (MT). In this paper, we propose PEIT, an end-to-end image translation framework that bridges the modality gap with pre-trained models. It is composed of four essential components: a visual encoder, a shared encoder-decoder backbone network, a vision-text representation aligner equipped with the shared encoder and a cross-modal regularizer stacked over the shared decoder. Both the aligner and regularizer aim at reducing the modality gap. To train PEIT, we employ a two-stage pre-training strategy with an auxiliary MT task: (1) pre-training the MT model on the MT training data to initialize the shared encoder-decoder backbone network; and (2) pre-training PEIT with the aligner and regularizer on a synthesized dataset with rendered images containing text from the MT training data. In order to facilitate the evaluation of PEIT and promote research on image translation, we create a large-scale image translation corpus ECOIT containing 480K image-translation pairs via crowd-sourcing and manual post-editing from real-world images in the e-commerce domain. Experiments on the curated ECOIT benchmark dataset demonstrate that PEIT substantially outperforms both cascaded image translation systems (OCR+MT) and previous strong end-to-end image translation model, with fewer parameters and faster decoding speed.


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CoDoNMT: Modeling Cohesion Devices for Document-Level Neural Machine Translation
Yikun Lei | Yuqi Ren | Deyi Xiong
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Cohesion devices, e.g., reiteration, coreference, are crucial for building cohesion links across sentences. In this paper, we propose a document-level neural machine translation framework, CoDoNMT, which models cohesion devices from two perspectives: Cohesion Device Masking (CoDM) and Cohesion Attention Focusing (CoAF). In CoDM, we mask cohesion devices in the current sentence and force NMT to predict them with inter-sentential context information. A prediction task is also introduced to be jointly trained with NMT. In CoAF, we attempt to guide the model to pay exclusive attention to relevant cohesion devices in the context when translating cohesion devices in the current sentence. Such a cohesion attention focusing strategy is softly applied to the self-attention layer. Experiments on three benchmark datasets demonstrate that our approach outperforms state-of-the-art document-level neural machine translation baselines. Further linguistic evaluation validates the effectiveness of the proposed model in producing cohesive translations.


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NEUer at SemEval-2021 Task 4: Complete Summary Representation by Filling Answers into Question for Matching Reading Comprehension
Zhixiang Chen | Yikun Lei | Pai Liu | Guibing Guo
Proceedings of the 15th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2021)

SemEval task 4 aims to find a proper option from multiple candidates to resolve the task of machine reading comprehension. Most existing approaches propose to concat question and option together to form a context-aware model. However, we argue that straightforward concatenation can only provide a coarse-grained context for the MRC task, ignoring the specific positions of the option relative to the question. In this paper, we propose a novel MRC model by filling options into the question to produce a fine-grained context (defined as summary) which can better reveal the relationship between option and question. We conduct a series of experiments on the given dataset, and the results show that our approach outperforms other counterparts to a large extent.