Yuan Cao


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Multilingual Mix: Example Interpolation Improves Multilingual Neural Machine Translation
Yong Cheng | Ankur Bapna | Orhan Firat | Yuan Cao | Pidong Wang | Wolfgang Macherey
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Multilingual neural machine translation models are trained to maximize the likelihood of a mix of examples drawn from multiple language pairs. The dominant inductive bias applied to these models is a shared vocabulary and a shared set of parameters across languages; the inputs and labels corresponding to examples drawn from different language pairs might still reside in distinct sub-spaces. In this paper, we introduce multilingual crossover encoder-decoder (mXEncDec) to fuse language pairs at an instance level. Our approach interpolates instances from different language pairs into joint ‘crossover examples’ in order to encourage sharing input and output spaces across languages. To ensure better fusion of examples in multilingual settings, we propose several techniques to improve example interpolation across dissimilar languages under heavy data imbalance. Experiments on a large-scale WMT multilingual dataset demonstrate that our approach significantly improves quality on English-to-Many, Many-to-English and zero-shot translation tasks (from +0.5 BLEU up to +5.5 BLEU points). Results on code-switching sets demonstrate the capability of our approach to improve model generalization to out-of-distribution multilingual examples. We also conduct qualitative and quantitative representation comparisons to analyze the advantages of our approach at the representation level.

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Unsupervised Slot Schema Induction for Task-oriented Dialog
Dian Yu | Mingqiu Wang | Yuan Cao | Izhak Shafran | Laurent Shafey | Hagen Soltau
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Carefully-designed schemas describing how to collect and annotate dialog corpora are a prerequisite towards building task-oriented dialog systems. In practical applications, manually designing schemas can be error-prone, laborious, iterative, and slow, especially when the schema is complicated. To alleviate this expensive and time consuming process, we propose an unsupervised approach for slot schema induction from unlabeled dialog corpora. Leveraging in-domain language models and unsupervised parsing structures, our data-driven approach extracts candidate slots without constraints, followed by coarse-to-fine clustering to induce slot types. We compare our method against several strong supervised baselines, and show significant performance improvement in slot schema induction on MultiWoz and SGD datasets. We also demonstrate the effectiveness of induced schemas on downstream applications including dialog state tracking and response generation.

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Show, Don’t Tell: Demonstrations Outperform Descriptions for Schema-Guided Task-Oriented Dialogue
Raghav Gupta | Harrison Lee | Jeffrey Zhao | Yuan Cao | Abhinav Rastogi | Yonghui Wu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Building universal dialogue systems that operate across multiple domains/APIs and generalize to new ones with minimal overhead is a critical challenge. Recent works have leveraged natural language descriptions of schema elements to enable such systems; however, descriptions only indirectly convey schema semantics. In this work, we propose Show, Don’t Tell, which prompts seq2seq models with a labeled example dialogue to show the semantics of schema elements rather than tell the model through descriptions. While requiring similar effort from service developers as generating descriptions, we show that using short examples as schema representations with large language models results in state-of-the-art performance on two popular dialogue state tracking benchmarks designed to measure zero-shot generalization - the Schema-Guided Dialogue dataset and the MultiWOZ leave-one-out benchmark.


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Deciphering Undersegmented Ancient Scripts Using Phonetic Prior
Jiaming Luo | Frederik Hartmann | Enrico Santus | Regina Barzilay | Yuan Cao
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Most undeciphered lost languages exhibit two characteristics that pose significant decipherment challenges: (1) the scripts are not fully segmented into words; (2) the closest known language is not determined. We propose a decipherment model that handles both of these challenges by building on rich linguistic constraints reflecting consistent patterns in historical sound change. We capture the natural phonological geometry by learning character embeddings based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The resulting generative framework jointly models word segmentation and cognate alignment, informed by phonological constraints. We evaluate the model on both deciphered languages (Gothic, Ugaritic) and an undeciphered one (Iberian). The experiments show that incorporating phonetic geometry leads to clear and consistent gains. Additionally, we propose a measure for language closeness which correctly identifies related languages for Gothic and Ugaritic. For Iberian, the method does not show strong evidence supporting Basque as a related language, concurring with the favored position by the current scholarship.1

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Effective Sequence-to-Sequence Dialogue State Tracking
Jeffrey Zhao | Mahdis Mahdieh | Ye Zhang | Yuan Cao | Yonghui Wu
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Sequence-to-sequence models have been applied to a wide variety of NLP tasks, but how to properly use them for dialogue state tracking has not been systematically investigated. In this paper, we study this problem from the perspectives of pre-training objectives as well as the formats of context representations. We demonstrate that the choice of pre-training objective makes a significant difference to the state tracking quality. In particular, we find that masked span prediction is more effective than auto-regressive language modeling. We also explore using Pegasus, a span prediction-based pre-training objective for text summarization, for the state tracking model. We found that pre-training for the seemingly distant summarization task works surprisingly well for dialogue state tracking. In addition, we found that while recurrent state context representation works also reasonably well, the model may have a hard time recovering from earlier mistakes. We conducted experiments on the MultiWOZ 2.1-2.4, WOZ 2.0, and DSTC2 datasets with consistent observations.


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Leveraging Monolingual Data with Self-Supervision for Multilingual Neural Machine Translation
Aditya Siddhant | Ankur Bapna | Yuan Cao | Orhan Firat | Mia Chen | Sneha Kudugunta | Naveen Arivazhagan | Yonghui Wu
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Over the last few years two promising research directions in low-resource neural machine translation (NMT) have emerged. The first focuses on utilizing high-resource languages to improve the quality of low-resource languages via multilingual NMT. The second direction employs monolingual data with self-supervision to pre-train translation models, followed by fine-tuning on small amounts of supervised data. In this work, we join these two lines of research and demonstrate the efficacy of monolingual data with self-supervision in multilingual NMT. We offer three major results: (i) Using monolingual data significantly boosts the translation quality of low-resource languages in multilingual models. (ii) Self-supervision improves zero-shot translation quality in multilingual models. (iii) Leveraging monolingual data with self-supervision provides a viable path towards adding new languages to multilingual models, getting up to 33 BLEU on ro-en translation without any parallel data or back-translation.


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Neural Decipherment via Minimum-Cost Flow: From Ugaritic to Linear B
Jiaming Luo | Yuan Cao | Regina Barzilay
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In this paper we propose a novel neural approach for automatic decipherment of lost languages. To compensate for the lack of strong supervision signal, our model design is informed by patterns in language change documented in historical linguistics. The model utilizes an expressive sequence-to-sequence model to capture character-level correspondences between cognates. To effectively train the model in unsupervised manner, we innovate the training procedure by formalizing it as a minimum-cost flow problem. When applied to decipherment of Ugaritic, we achieve 5% absolute improvement over state-of-the-art results. We also report first automatic results in deciphering Linear B, a syllabic language related to ancient Greek, where our model correctly translates 67.3% of cognates.


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Training Deeper Neural Machine Translation Models with Transparent Attention
Ankur Bapna | Mia Chen | Orhan Firat | Yuan Cao | Yonghui Wu
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

While current state-of-the-art NMT models, such as RNN seq2seq and Transformers, possess a large number of parameters, they are still shallow in comparison to convolutional models used for both text and vision applications. In this work we attempt to train significantly (2-3x) deeper Transformer and Bi-RNN encoders for machine translation. We propose a simple modification to the attention mechanism that eases the optimization of deeper models, and results in consistent gains of 0.7-1.1 BLEU on the benchmark WMT’14 English-German and WMT’15 Czech-English tasks for both architectures.


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Translations of the Callhome Egyptian Arabic corpus for conversational speech translation
Gaurav Kumar | Yuan Cao | Ryan Cotterell | Chris Callison-Burch | Daniel Povey | Sanjeev Khudanpur
Proceedings of the 11th International Workshop on Spoken Language Translation: Papers

Translation of the output of automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems, also known as speech translation, has received a lot of research interest recently. This is especially true for programs such as DARPA BOLT which focus on improving spontaneous human-human conversation across languages. However, this research is hindered by the dearth of datasets developed for this explicit purpose. For Egyptian Arabic-English, in particular, no parallel speechtranscription-translation dataset exists in the same domain. In order to support research in speech translation, we introduce the Callhome Egyptian Arabic-English Speech Translation Corpus. This supplements the existing LDC corpus with four reference translations for each utterance in the transcripts. The result is a three-way parallel dataset of Egyptian Arabic Speech, transcriptions and English translations.

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Online Learning in Tensor Space
Yuan Cao | Sanjeev Khudanpur
Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)


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Joshua 5.0: Sparser, Better, Faster, Server
Matt Post | Juri Ganitkevitch | Luke Orland | Jonathan Weese | Yuan Cao | Chris Callison-Burch
Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop on Statistical Machine Translation


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Sample Selection for Large-scale MT Discriminative Training
Yuan Cao | Sanjeev Khudanpur
Proceedings of the 10th Conference of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas: Research Papers

Discriminative training for MT usually involves numerous features and requires large-scale training set to reach reliable parameter estimation. Other than using the expensive human-labeled parallel corpora for training, semi-supervised methods have been proposed to generate huge amount of “hallucinated” data which relieves the data sparsity problem. However the large training set contains both good samples which are suitable for training and bad ones harmful to the training. How to select training samples from vast amount of data can greatly affect the training performance. In this paper we propose a method for selecting samples that are most suitable for discriminative training according to a criterion measuring the dataset quality. Our experimental results show that by adding samples to the training set selectively, we are able to exceed the performance of system trained with the same amount of samples selected randomly.

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Review of Hypothesis Alignment Algorithms for MT System Combination via Confusion Network Decoding
Antti-Veikko Rosti | Xiaodong He | Damianos Karakos | Gregor Leusch | Yuan Cao | Markus Freitag | Spyros Matsoukas | Hermann Ney | Jason Smith | Bing Zhang
Proceedings of the Seventh Workshop on Statistical Machine Translation

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Joshua 4.0: Packing, PRO, and Paraphrases
Juri Ganitkevitch | Yuan Cao | Jonathan Weese | Matt Post | Chris Callison-Burch
Proceedings of the Seventh Workshop on Statistical Machine Translation


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Description of the JHU System Combination Scheme for WMT 2011
Daguang Xu | Yuan Cao | Damianos Karakos
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Statistical Machine Translation