This paper describes NiuTrans neural machine translation systems of the WMT 2021 news translation tasks. We made submissions to 9 language directions, including English2Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Icelandic and English2Hausa tasks. Our primary systems are built on several effective variants of Transformer, e.g., Transformer-DLCL, ODE-Transformer. We also utilize back-translation, knowledge distillation, post-ensemble, and iterative fine-tuning techniques to enhance the model performance further.
Unsupervised Bilingual Dictionary Induction methods based on the initialization and the self-learning have achieved great success in similar language pairs, e.g., English-Spanish. But they still fail and have an accuracy of 0% in many distant language pairs, e.g., English-Japanese. In this work, we show that this failure results from the gap between the actual initialization performance and the minimum initialization performance for the self-learning to succeed. We propose Iterative Dimension Reduction to bridge this gap. Our experiments show that this simple method does not hamper the performance of similar language pairs and achieves an accuracy of 13.64 55.53% between English and four distant languages, i.e., Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai.
This paper describes the submissions of the NiuTrans Team to the WMT 2020 Quality Estimation Shared Task. We participated in all tasks and all language pairs. We explored the combination of transfer learning, multi-task learning and model ensemble. Results on multiple tasks show that deep transformer machine translation models and multilingual pretraining methods significantly improve translation quality estimation performance. Our system achieved remarkable results in multiple level tasks, e.g., our submissions obtained the best results on all tracks in the sentence-level Direct Assessment task.