Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: AACL-IJCNLP 2022

Yulan He, Heng Ji, Sujian Li, Yang Liu, Chua-Hui Chang (Editors)

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Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: AACL-IJCNLP 2022
Yulan He | Heng Ji | Sujian Li | Yang Liu | Chua-Hui Chang

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Efficient Entity Embedding Construction from Type Knowledge for BERT
Yukun Feng | Amir Fayazi | Abhinav Rastogi | Manabu Okumura

Recent work has shown advantages of incorporating knowledge graphs (KGs) into BERT for various NLP tasks. One common way is to feed entity embeddings as an additional input during pre-training. There are two limitations to such a method. First, to train the entity embeddings to include rich information of factual knowledge, it typically requires access to the entire KG. This is challenging for KGs with daily changes (e.g., Wikidata). Second, it requires a large scale pre-training corpus with entity annotations and high computational cost during pre-training. In this work, we efficiently construct entity embeddings only from the type knowledge, that does not require access to the entire KG. Although the entity embeddings contain only local information, they perform very well when combined with context. Furthermore, we show that our entity embeddings, constructed from BERT’s input embeddings, can be directly incorporated into the fine-tuning phase without requiring any specialized pre-training. In addition, these entity embeddings can also be constructed on the fly without requiring a large memory footprint to store them. Finally, we propose task-specific models that incorporate our entity embeddings for entity linking, entity typing, and relation classification. Experiments show that our models have comparable or superior performance to existing models while being more resource efficient.

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Spa: On the Sparsity of Virtual Adversarial Training for Dependency Parsing
Chao Lou | Wenjuan Han | Kewei Tu

Virtual adversarial training (VAT) is a powerful approach to improving robustness and performance, leveraging both labeled and unlabeled data to compensate for the scarcity of labeled data. It is adopted on lots of vision and language classification tasks. However, for tasks with structured output (e.g., dependency parsing), the application of VAT is nontrivial due to the intrinsic proprieties of structures: (1) the non-sparse problem and (2) exponential complexity. Against this background, we propose the Sparse Parse Adjustment (spa) algorithm and successfully applied VAT to the dependency parsing task. spa refers to the learning algorithm which combines the graph-based dependency parsing model with VAT in an exact computational manner and enhances the dependency parser with controllable and adjustable sparsity. Empirical studies show that the TreeCRF parser optimized using outperforms other methods without sparsity regularization.

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KreolMorisienMT: A Dataset for Mauritian Creole Machine Translation
Raj Dabre | Aneerav Sukhoo

In this paper, we describe KreolMorisienMT, a dataset for benchmarking machine translation quality of Mauritian Creole. Mauritian Creole (Kreol Morisien) is a French-based creole and a lingua franca of the Republic of Mauritius. KreolMorisienMT consists of a parallel corpus between English and Kreol Morisien, French and Kreol Morisien and a monolingual corpus for Kreol Morisien. We first give an overview of Kreol Morisien and then describe the steps taken to create the corpora. Thereafter, we benchmark Kreol Morisien ↔ English and Kreol Morisien ↔ French models leveraging pre-trained models and multilingual transfer learning. Human evaluation reveals our systems’ high translation quality.

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LEATHER: A Framework for Learning to Generate Human-like Text in Dialogue
Anthony Sicilia | Malihe Alikhani

Algorithms for text-generation in dialogue can be misguided. For example, in task-oriented settings, reinforcement learning that optimizes only task-success can lead to abysmal lexical diversity. We hypothesize this is due to poor theoretical understanding of the objectives in text-generation and their relation to the learning process (i.e., model training). To this end, we propose a new theoretical framework for learning to generate text in dialogue. Compared to existing theories of learning, our framework allows for analysis of the multi-faceted goals inherent to text-generation. We use our framework to develop theoretical guarantees for learners that adapt to unseen data. As an example, we apply our theory to study data-shift within a cooperative learning algorithm proposed for the GuessWhat?! visual dialogue game. From this insight, we propose a new algorithm, and empirically, we demonstrate our proposal improves both task-success and human-likeness of the generated text. Finally, we show statistics from our theory are empirically predictive of multiple qualities of the generated dialogue, suggesting our theory is useful for model-selection when human evaluations are not available.

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Conceptual Similarity for Subjective Tags
Yacine Gaci | Boualem Benatallah | Fabio Casati | Khalid Benabdeslem

Tagging in the context of online resources is a fundamental addition to search systems. Tags assist with the indexing, management, and retrieval of online products and services to answer complex user queries. Traditional methods of matching user queries with tags either rely on cosine similarity, or employ semantic similarity models that fail to recognize conceptual connections between tags, e.g. ambiance and music. In this work, we focus on subjective tags which characterize subjective aspects of a product or service. We propose conceptual similarity to leverage conceptual awareness when assessing similarity between tags. We also provide a simple cost-effective pipeline to automatically generate data in order to train the conceptual similarity model. We show that our pipeline generates high-quality datasets, and evaluate the similarity model both systematically and on a downstream application. Experiments show that conceptual similarity outperforms existing work when using subjective tags.

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TaskMix: Data Augmentation for Meta-Learning of Spoken Intent Understanding
Surya Kant Sahu

Meta-Learning has emerged as a research direction to better transfer knowledge from related tasks to unseen but related tasks. However, Meta-Learning requires many training tasks to learn representations that transfer well to unseen tasks; otherwise, it leads to overfitting, and the performance degenerates to worse than Multi-task Learning. We show that a state-of-the-art data augmentation method worsens this problem of overfitting when the task diversity is low. We propose a simple method, TaskMix, which synthesizes new tasks by linearly interpolating existing tasks. We compare TaskMix against many baselines on an in-house multilingual intent classification dataset of N-Best ASR hypotheses derived from real-life human-machine telephony utterances and two datasets derived from MTOP. We show that TaskMix outperforms baselines, alleviates overfitting when task diversity is low, and does not degrade performance even when it is high.

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Understanding the Use of Quantifiers in Mandarin
Guanyi Chen | Kees van Deemter

We introduce a corpus of short texts in Mandarin, in which quantified expressions figure prominently. We illustrate the significance of the corpus by examining the hypothesis (known as Huang’s “coolness” hypothesis) that speakers of East Asian Languages tend to speak more briefly but less informatively than, for example, speakers of West-European languages. The corpus results from an elicitation experiment in which participants were asked to describe abstract visual scenes. We compare the resulting corpus, called MQTUNA, with an English corpus that was collected using the same experimental paradigm. The comparison reveals that some, though not all, aspects of quantifier use support the above-mentioned hypothesis. Implications of these findings for the generation of quantified noun phrases are discussed.

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Does Representational Fairness Imply Empirical Fairness?
Aili Shen | Xudong Han | Trevor Cohn | Timothy Baldwin | Lea Frermann

NLP technologies can cause unintended harms if learned representations encode sensitive attributes of the author, or predictions systematically vary in quality across groups. Popular debiasing approaches, like adversarial training, remove sensitive information from representations in order to reduce disparate performance, however the relation between representational fairness and empirical (performance) fairness has not been systematically studied. This paper fills this gap, and proposes a novel debiasing method building on contrastive learning to encourage a latent space that separates instances based on target label, while mixing instances that share protected attributes. Our results show the effectiveness of our new method and, more importantly, show across a set of diverse debiasing methods that representational fairness does not imply empirical fairness. This work highlights the importance of aligning and understanding the relation of the optimization objective and final fairness target.

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SEHY: A Simple yet Effective Hybrid Model for Summarization of Long Scientific Documents
Zhihua Jiang | Junzhan Yang | Dongning Rao

Long document (e.g., scientific papers) summarization is obtaining more and more attention in recent years. Extractive approaches attempt to choose salient sentences via understanding the whole document, but long documents cover numerous subjects with varying details and will not ease content understanding. Instead, abstractive approaches elaborate to generate related tokens while suffering from truncating the source document due to their input sizes. To this end, we propose a Simple yet Effective HYbrid approach, which we call SEHY, that exploits the discourse information of a document to select salient sections instead sentences for summary generation. On the one hand, SEHY avoids the full-text understanding; on the other hand, it retains salient information given the length limit. In particular, we design two simple strategies for training the extractor: extracting sections incrementally and based on salience-analysis. Then, we use strong abstractive models to generate the final summary. We evaluate our approach on a large-scale scientific paper dataset: arXiv. Further, we discuss how the disciplinary class (e.g., computer science, math or physics) of a scientific paper affects the performance of SEHY as its writing style indicates, which is unexplored yet in existing works. Experimental results show the effectiveness of our approach and interesting findings on arXiv and its subsets generated in this paper.

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PLATO-XL: Exploring the Large-scale Pre-training of Dialogue Generation
Siqi Bao | Huang He | Fan Wang | Hua Wu | Haifeng Wang | Wenquan Wu | Zhihua Wu | Zhen Guo | Hua Lu | Xinxian Huang | Xin Tian | Xinchao Xu | Yingzhan Lin | Zheng-Yu Niu

To explore the limit of dialogue generation pre-training, we present the models of PLATO-XL with up to 11 billion parameters, trained on both Chinese and English social media conversations. To train such large models, we adopt the architecture of unified transformer with high computation and parameter efficiency. In addition, we carry out multi-party aware pre-training to better distinguish the characteristic information in social media conversations. With such designs, PLATO-XL successfully achieves superior performances as compared to other approaches in both Chinese and English chitchat. We further explore the capacity of PLATO-XL on other conversational tasks, such as knowledge grounded dialogue and task-oriented conversation. The experimental results indicate that PLATO-XL obtains state-of-the-art results across multiple conversational tasks, verifying its potential as a foundation model of conversational AI.

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A Hybrid Architecture for Labelling Bilingual Māori-English Tweets
David Trye | Vithya Yogarajan | Jemma König | Te Taka Keegan | David Bainbridge | Mark Apperley

Most large-scale language detection tools perform poorly at identifying Māori text. Moreover, rule-based and machine learning-based techniques devised specifically for the Māori-English language pair struggle with interlingual homographs. We develop a hybrid architecture that couples Māori-language orthography with machine learning models in order to annotate mixed Māori-English text. This architecture is used to label a new bilingual Twitter corpus at both the token (word) and tweet (sentence) levels. We use the collected tweets to show that the hybrid approach outperforms existing systems with respect to language detection of interlingual homographs and overall accuracy. We also evaluate its performance on out-of-domain data. Two interactive visualisations are provided for exploring the Twitter corpus and comparing errors across the new and existing techniques. The architecture code and visualisations are available online, and the corpus is available on request.

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Meta-Learning Adaptive Knowledge Distillation for Efficient Biomedical Natural Language Processing
Abiola Obamuyide | Blair Johnston

There has been an increase in the number of large and high-performing models made available for various biomedical natural language processing tasks. While these models have demonstrated impressive performance on various biomedical tasks, their training and run-time costs can be computationally prohibitive. This work investigates the use of knowledge distillation, a common model compression method, to reduce the size of large models for biomedical natural language processing. We further improve the performance of knowledge distillation methods for biomedical natural language by proposing a meta-learning approach which adaptively learns parameters that enable the optimal rate of knowledge exchange between the teacher and student models from the distillation data during knowledge distillation. Experiments on two biomedical natural language processing tasks demonstrate that our proposed adaptive meta-learning approach to knowledge distillation delivers improved predictive performance over previous and recent state-of-the-art knowledge distillation methods.

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The Effects of Surprisal across Languages: Results from Native and Non-native Reading
Andrea de Varda | Marco Marelli

It is well known that the surprisal of an upcoming word, as estimated by language models, is a solid predictor of reading times (Smith and Levy, 2013). However, most of the studies that support this view are based on English and few other Germanic languages, leaving an open question as to the cross-lingual generalizability of such findings. Moreover, they tend to consider only the best-performing eye-tracking measure, which might conflate the effects of predictive and integrative processing. Furthermore, it is not clear whether prediction plays a role in non-native language processing in bilingual individuals (Grüter et al., 2014). We approach these problems at large scale, extracting surprisal estimates from mBERT, and assessing their psychometric predictive power on the MECO corpus, a cross-linguistic dataset of eye movement behavior in reading (Siegelman et al., 2022; Kuperman et al., 2020). We show that surprisal is a strong predictor of reading times across languages and fixation measurements, and that its effects in L2 are weaker with respect to L1.

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Assessing How Users Display Self-Disclosure and Authenticity in Conversation with Human-Like Agents: A Case Study of Luda Lee
Won Ik Cho | Soomin Kim | Eujeong Choi | Younghoon Jeong

There is an ongoing discussion on what makes humans more engaged when interacting with conversational agents. However, in the area of language processing, there has been a paucity of studies on how people react to agents and share interactions with others. We attack this issue by investigating the user dialogues with human-like agents posted online and aim to analyze the dialogue patterns. We construct a taxonomy to discern the users’ self-disclosure in the dialogue and the communication authenticity displayed in the user posting. We annotate the in-the-wild data, examine the reliability of the proposed scheme, and discuss how the categorization can be utilized for future research and industrial development.

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Block Diagram-to-Text: Understanding Block Diagram Images by Generating Natural Language Descriptors
Shreyanshu Bhushan | Minho Lee

Block diagrams are very popular for representing a workflow or process of a model. Understanding block diagrams by generating summaries can be extremely useful in document summarization. It can also assist people in inferring key insights from block diagrams without requiring a lot of perceptual and cognitive effort. In this paper, we propose a novel task of converting block diagram images into text by presenting a framework called “BloSum”. This framework extracts the contextual meaning from the images in the form of triplets that help the language model in summary generation. We also introduce a new dataset for complex computerized block diagrams, explain the dataset preparation process, and later analyze it. Additionally, to showcase the generalization of the model, we test our method with publicly available handwritten block diagram datasets. Our evaluation with different metrics demonstrates the effectiveness of our approach that outperforms other methods and techniques.

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Multi-Domain Dialogue State Tracking By Neural-Retrieval Augmentation
Lohith Ravuru | Seonghan Ryu | Hyungtak Choi | Haehun Yang | Hyeonmok Ko

Dialogue State Tracking (DST) is a very complex task that requires precise understanding and information tracking of multi-domain conversations between users and dialogue systems. Many task-oriented dialogue systems use dialogue state tracking technology to infer users’ goals from the history of the conversation. Existing approaches for DST are usually conditioned on previous dialogue states. However, the dependency on previous dialogues makes it very challenging to prevent error propagation to subsequent turns of a dialogue. In this paper, we propose Neural Retrieval Augmentation to alleviate this problem by creating a Neural Index based on dialogue context. Our NRA-DST framework efficiently retrieves dialogue context from the index built using a combination of unstructured dialogue state and structured user/system utterances. We explore a simple pipeline resulting in a retrieval-guided generation approach for training a DST model. Experiments on different retrieval methods for augmentation show that neural retrieval augmentation is the best performing retrieval method for DST. Our evaluations on the large-scale MultiWOZ dataset show that our model outperforms the baseline approaches.

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TaKG: A New Dataset for Paragraph-level Table-to-Text Generation Enhanced with Knowledge Graphs
Qianqian Qi | Zhenyun Deng | Yonghua Zhu | Lia Jisoo Lee | Michael Witbrock | Jiamou Liu

We introduce TaKG, a new table-to-text generation dataset with the following highlights: (1) TaKG defines a long-text (paragraph-level) generation task as opposed to well-established short-text (sentence-level) generation datasets. (2) TaKG is the first large-scale dataset for this task, containing three application domains and ~750,000 samples. (3) To address the divergence phenomenon, TaKG enhances table input using external knowledge graphs, extracted by a new Wikidata-based method. We then propose a new Transformer-based multimodal sequence-to-sequence architecture for TaKG that integrates two pretrained language models RoBERTa and GPT-2. Our model shows reliable performance on long-text generation across a variety of metrics, and outperforms existing models for short-text generation tasks.

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Revisiting Checkpoint Averaging for Neural Machine Translation
Yingbo Gao | Christian Herold | Zijian Yang | Hermann Ney

Checkpoint averaging is a simple and effective method to boost the performance of converged neural machine translation models. The calculation is cheap to perform and the fact that the translation improvement almost comes for free, makes it widely adopted in neural machine translation research. Despite the popularity, the method itself simply takes the mean of the model parameters from several checkpoints, the selection of which is mostly based on empirical recipes without many justifications. In this work, we revisit the concept of checkpoint averaging and consider several extensions. Specifically, we experiment with ideas such as using different checkpoint selection strategies, calculating weighted average instead of simple mean, making use of gradient information and fine-tuning the interpolation weights on development data. Our results confirm the necessity of applying checkpoint averaging for optimal performance, but also suggest that the landscape between the converged checkpoints is rather flat and not much further improvement compared to simple averaging is to be obtained.

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Modeling Referential Gaze in Task-oriented Settings of Varying Referential Complexity
Özge Alacam | Eugen Ruppert | Sina Zarrieß | Ganeshan Malhotra | Chris Biemann | Sina Zarrieß

Referential gaze is a fundamental phenomenon for psycholinguistics and human-human communication. However, modeling referential gaze for real-world scenarios, e.g. for task-oriented communication, is lacking the well-deserved attention from the NLP community. In this paper, we address this challenging issue by proposing a novel multimodal NLP task; namely predicting when the gaze is referential. We further investigate how to model referential gaze and transfer gaze features to adapt to unseen situated settings that target different referential complexities than the training environment. We train (i) a sequential attention-based LSTM model and (ii) a multivariate transformer encoder architecture to predict whether the gaze is on a referent object. The models are evaluated on the three complexity datasets. The results indicate that the gaze features can be transferred not only among various similar tasks and scenes but also across various complexity levels. Taking the referential complexity of a scene into account is important for successful target prediction using gaze parameters especially when there is not much data for fine-tuning.

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Automating Interlingual Homograph Recognition with Parallel Sentences
Yi Han | Ryohei Sasano | Koichi Takeda

Interlingual homographs are words that spell the same but possess different meanings across languages. Recognizing interlingual homographs from form-identical words generally needs linguistic knowledge and massive annotation work. In this paper, we propose an automatic interlingual homograph recognition method based on the cross-lingual word embedding similarity and co-occurrence of form-identical words in parallel sentences. We conduct experiments with various off-the-shelf language models coordinating with cross-lingual alignment operations and co-occurrence metrics on the Chinese-Japanese and English-Dutch language pairs. Experimental results demonstrate that our proposed method is able to make accurate and consistent predictions across languages.

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CoRAL: a Context-aware Croatian Abusive Language Dataset
Ravi Shekhar | Mladen Karan | Matthew Purver

In light of unprecedented increases in the popularity of the internet and social media, comment moderation has never been a more relevant task. Semi-automated comment moderation systems greatly aid human moderators by either automatically classifying the examples or allowing the moderators to prioritize which comments to consider first. However, the concept of inappropriate content is often subjective, and such content can be conveyed in many subtle and indirect ways. In this work, we propose CoRAL – a language and culturally aware Croatian Abusive dataset covering phenomena of implicitness and reliance on local and global context. We show experimentally that current models degrade when comments are not explicit and further degrade when language skill and context knowledge are required to interpret the comment.

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A Copy Mechanism for Handling Knowledge Base Elements in SPARQL Neural Machine Translation
Rose Hirigoyen | Amal Zouaq | Samuel Reyd

Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models from English to SPARQL are a promising development for SPARQL query generation. However, current architectures are unable to integrate the knowledge base (KB) schema and handle questions on knowledge resources, classes, and properties unseen during training, rendering them unusable outside the scope of topics covered in the training set. Inspired by the performance gains in natural language processing tasks, we propose to integrate a copy mechanism for neural SPARQL query generation as a way to tackle this issue. We illustrate our proposal by adding a copy layer and a dynamic knowledge base vocabulary to two Seq2Seq architectures (CNNs and Transformers). This layer makes the models copy KB elements directly from the questions, instead of generating them. We evaluate our approach on state-of-the-art datasets, including datasets referencing unknown KB elements and measure the accuracy of the copy-augmented architectures. Our results show a considerable increase in performance on all datasets compared to non-copy architectures.

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A Multilingual Multiway Evaluation Data Set for Structured Document Translation of Asian Languages
Bianka Buschbeck | Raj Dabre | Miriam Exel | Matthias Huck | Patrick Huy | Raphael Rubino | Hideki Tanaka

Translation of structured content is an important application of machine translation, but the scarcity of evaluation data sets, especially for Asian languages, limits progress. In this paper we present a novel multilingual multiway evaluation data set for the translation of structured documents of the Asian languages Japanese, Korean and Chinese. We describe the data set, its creation process and important characteristics, followed by establishing and evaluating baselines using the direct translation as well as detag-project approaches. Our data set is well suited for multilingual evaluation, and it contains richer annotation tag sets than existing data sets. Our results show that massively multilingual translation models like M2M-100 and mBART-50 perform surprisingly well despite not being explicitly trained to handle structured content. The data set described in this paper and used in our experiments is released publicly.

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On Measures of Biases and Harms in NLP
Sunipa Dev | Emily Sheng | Jieyu Zhao | Aubrie Amstutz | Jiao Sun | Yu Hou | Mattie Sanseverino | Jiin Kim | Akihiro Nishi | Nanyun Peng | Kai-Wei Chang

Recent studies show that Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies propagate societal biases about demographic groups associated with attributes such as gender, race, and nationality. To create interventions and mitigate these biases and associated harms, it is vital to be able to detect and measure such biases. While existing works propose bias evaluation and mitigation methods for various tasks, there remains a need to cohesively understand the biases and the specific harms they measure, and how different measures compare with each other. To address this gap, this work presents a practical framework of harms and a series of questions that practitioners can answer to guide the development of bias measures. As a validation of our framework and documentation questions, we also present several case studies of how existing bias measures in NLP—both intrinsic measures of bias in representations and extrinsic measures of bias of downstream applications—can be aligned with different harms and how our proposed documentation questions facilitates more holistic understanding of what bias measures are measuring.

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Logographic Information Aids Learning Better Representations for Natural Language Inference
Zijian Jin | Duygu Ataman

Statistical language models conventionally implement representation learning based on the contextual distribution of words or other formal units, whereas any information related to the logographic features of written text are often ignored, assuming they should be retrieved relying on the cooccurence statistics. On the other hand, as language models become larger and require more data to learn reliable representations, such assumptions may start to fall back, especially under conditions of data sparsity. Many languages, including Chinese and Vietnamese, use logographic writing systems where surface forms are represented as a visual organization of smaller graphemic units, which often contain many semantic cues. In this paper, we present a novel study which explores the benefits of providing language models with logographic information in learning better semantic representations. We test our hypothesis in the natural language inference (NLI) task by evaluating the benefit of computing multi-modal representations that combine contextual information with glyph information. Our evaluation results in six languages with different typology and writing systems suggest significant benefits of using multi-modal embeddings in languages with logograhic systems, especially for words with less occurence statistics.

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Cross-domain Analysis on Japanese Legal Pretrained Language Models
Keisuke Miyazaki | Hiroaki Yamada | Takenobu Tokunaga

This paper investigates the pretrained language model (PLM) specialised in the Japanese legal domain. We create PLMs using different pretraining strategies and investigate their performance across multiple domains. Our findings are (i) the PLM built with general domain data can be improved by further pretraining with domain-specific data, (ii) domain-specific PLMs can learn domain-specific and general word meanings simultaneously and can distinguish them, (iii) domain-specific PLMs work better on its target domain; still, the PLMs retain the information learnt in the original PLM even after being further pretrained with domain-specific data, (iv) the PLMs sequentially pretrained with corpora of different domains show high performance for the later learnt domains.

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Multilingual CheckList: Generation and Evaluation
Karthikeyan K | Shaily Bhatt | Pankaj Singh | Somak Aditya | Sandipan Dandapat | Sunayana Sitaram | Monojit Choudhury

Multilingual evaluation benchmarks usually contain limited high-resource languages and do not test models for specific linguistic capabilities. CheckList is a template-based evaluation approach that tests models for specific capabilities. The CheckList template creation process requires native speakers, posing a challenge in scaling to hundreds of languages. In this work, we explore multiple approaches to generate Multilingual CheckLists. We device an algorithm –Template Extraction Algorithm (TEA) for automatically extracting target language CheckList templates from machine translated instances of a source language templates. We compare the TEA CheckLists with CheckLists created with different levels of human intervention. We further introduce metrics along the dimensions of cost, diversity, utility, and correctness to compare the CheckLists. We thoroughly analyze different approaches to creating CheckLists in Hindi. Furthermore, we experiment with 9 more different languages. We find that TEA followed by human verification is ideal for scaling Checklist-based evaluation to multiple languages while TEA gives a good estimates of model performance. We release the code of TEA and the CheckLists created at

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Part Represents Whole: Improving the Evaluation of Machine Translation System Using Entropy Enhanced Metrics
Yilun Liu | Shimin Tao | Chang Su | Min Zhang | Yanqing Zhao | Hao Yang

Machine translation (MT) metrics often experience poor correlations with human assessments. In terms of MT system evaluation, most metrics pay equal attentions to every sample in an evaluation set, while in human evaluation, difficult sentences often make candidate systems distinguishable via notable fluctuations in human scores, especially when systems are competitive. We find that samples with high entropy values, which though usually count less than 5%, tend to play a key role in MT evaluation: when the evaluation set is shrunk to only the high-entropy portion, correlations with human assessments are actually improved. Thus, in this paper, we propose a fast and unsupervised approach to enhance MT metrics using entropy, expanding the dimension of evaluation by introducing sentence-level difficulty. A translation hypothesis with a significantly high entropy value is considered difficult and receives a large weight in aggregation of system-level scores. Experimental results on five sub-tracks in the WMT19 Metrics shared tasks show that our proposed method significantly enhanced the performance of commonly-used MT metrics in terms of system-level correlations with human assessments, even outperforming existing SOTA metrics. In particular, all enhanced metrics exhibit overall stability in correlations with human assessments in circumstances where only competitive MT systems are included, while the corresponding vanilla metrics fail to correlate with human assessments.

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Memformer: A Memory-Augmented Transformer for Sequence Modeling
Qingyang Wu | Zhenzhong Lan | Kun Qian | Jing Gu | Alborz Geramifard | Zhou Yu

Transformers have reached remarkable success in sequence modeling. However, these models have efficiency issues as they need to store all the history token-level representations as memory. We present Memformer, an efficient neural network for sequence modeling, that utilizes an external dynamic memory to encode and retrieve past information. Our model achieves linear time complexity and constant memory space complexity when processing long sequences. We also propose a new optimization scheme, memory replay back-propagation (MRBP), which promotes long-range back-propagation through time with a significantly reduced memory requirement. Experimental results show that Memformer has achieved comparable performance compared against the baselines by using 8.1x less memory space and 3.2x faster on inference. Analysis of the attention pattern shows that our external memory slots can encode and retain important information through timesteps.

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Open-Domain Conversational Question Answering with Historical Answers
Hung-Chieh Fang | Kuo-Han Hung | Chen-Wei Huang | Yun-Nung Chen

Open-domain conversational question answering can be viewed as two tasks: passage retrieval and conversational question answering, where the former relies on selecting candidate passages from a large corpus and the latter requires better understanding of a question with contexts to predict the answers. This paper proposes ConvADR-QA that leverages historical answers to boost retrieval performance and further achieves better answering performance. Our experiments on the benchmark dataset, OR-QuAC, demonstrate that our model outperforms existing baselines in both extractive and generative reader settings, well justifying the effectiveness of historical answers for open-domain conversational question answering.

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Robustness Evaluation of Text Classification Models Using Mathematical Optimization and Its Application to Adversarial Training
Hikaru Tomonari | Masaaki Nishino | Akihiro Yamamoto

Neural networks are known to be vulnerable to adversarial examples due to slightly perturbed input data. In practical applications of neural network models, the robustness of the models against perturbations must be evaluated. However, no method can strictly evaluate their robustness in natural language domains. We therefore propose a method that evaluates the robustness of text classification models using an integer linear programming (ILP) solver by an optimization problem that identifies a minimum synonym swap that changes the classification result. Our method allows us to compare the robustness of various models in realistic time. It can also be used for obtaining adversarial examples. Because of the minimal impact on the altered sentences, adversarial examples with our method obtained high scores in human evaluations of grammatical correctness and semantic similarity for an IMDb dataset. In addition, we implemented adversarial training with the IMDb and SST2 datasets and found that our adversarial training method makes the model robust.

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HERB: Measuring Hierarchical Regional Bias in Pre-trained Language Models
Yizhi Li | Ge Zhang | Bohao Yang | Chenghua Lin | Anton Ragni | Shi Wang | Jie Fu

Fairness has become a trending topic in natural language processing (NLP) and covers biases targeting certain social groups such as genders and religions. Yet regional bias, another long-standing global discrimination problem, remains unexplored still. Consequently, we intend to provide a study to analyse the regional bias learned by the pre-trained language models (LMs) that are broadly used in NLP tasks. While verifying the existence of regional bias in LMs, we find that the biases on regional groups can be largely affected by the corresponding geographical clustering. We accordingly propose a hierarchical regional bias evaluation method (HERB) utilising the information from the sub-region clusters to quantify the bias in the pre-trained LMs. Experiments show that our hierarchical metric can effectively evaluate the regional bias with regard to comprehensive topics and measure the potential regional bias that can be propagated to downstream tasks. Our codes are available at

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Multilingual Auxiliary Tasks Training: Bridging the Gap between Languages for Zero-Shot Transfer of Hate Speech Detection Models
Syrielle Montariol | Arij Riabi | Djamé Seddah

Zero-shot cross-lingual transfer learning has been shown to be highly challenging for tasks involving a lot of linguistic specificities or when a cultural gap is present between lan- guages, such as in hate speech detection. In this paper, we highlight this limitation for hate speech detection in several domains and languages using strict experimental settings. Then, we propose to train on multilingual auxiliary tasks – sentiment analysis, named entity recognition, and tasks relying on syntactic information – to improve zero-shot transfer of hate speech detection models across languages. We show how hate speech detection models benefit from a cross-lingual knowledge proxy brought by auxiliary tasks fine-tuning and highlight these tasks’ positive impact on bridging the hate speech linguistic and cultural gap between languages.

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Chop and Change: Anaphora Resolution in Instructional Cooking Videos
Cennet Oguz | Ivana Kruijff-Korbayova | Emmanuel Vincent | Pascal Denis | Josef van Genabith

Linguistic ambiguities arising from changes in entities in action flows are a key challenge in instructional cooking videos. In particular, temporally evolving entities present rich and to date understudied challenges for anaphora resolution. For example “oil” mixed with “salt” is later referred to as a “mixture”. In this paper we propose novel annotation guidelines to annotate recipes for the anaphora resolution task, reflecting change in entities. Moreover, we present experimental results for end-to-end multimodal anaphora resolution with the new annotation scheme and propose the use of temporal features for performance improvement.

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“#DisabledOnIndianTwitter” : A Dataset towards Understanding the Expression of People with Disabilities on Indian Twitter
Ishani Mondal | Sukhnidh Kaur | Kalika Bali | Aditya Vashistha | Manohar Swaminathan

Twitter serves as a powerful tool for self-expression among the disabled people. To understand how disabled people in India use Twitter, we introduce a manually annotated corpus #DisabledOnIndianTwitter comprising of 2,384 tweets posted by 27 female and 15 male users. These users practice diverse professions and engage in varied online discourses on disability in India. To examine patterns in their Twitter use, we propose a novel hierarchical annotation taxonomy to classify the tweets into various themes including discrimination, advocacy, and self-identification. Using these annotations, we benchmark the corpus leveraging state-of-the-art classifiers. Finally through a mixed-methods analysis on our annotated corpus, we reveal stark differences in self-expression between male and female disabled users on Indian Twitter.

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Topic-aware Multimodal Summarization
Sourajit Mukherjee | Anubhav Jangra | Sriparna Saha | Adam Jatowt

Multimodal Summarization (MS) has attracted research interest in the past few years due to the ease with which users perceive multimodal summaries. It is important for MS models to consider the topic a given target content belongs to. In the current paper, we propose a topic-aware MS system which performs two tasks simultaneously: differentiating the images into “on-topic” and “off-topic” categories and further utilizing the “on-topic” images to generate multimodal summaries. The hypothesis is that, the proposed topic similarity classifier will help in generating better multimodal summary by focusing on important components of images and text which are specific to a particular topic. To develop the topic similarity classifier, we have augmented the existing popular MS data set, MSMO, with similar “on-topic” and dissimilar “off-topic” images for each sample. Our experimental results establish that the focus on “on-topic” features helps in generating topic-aware multimodal summaries, which outperforms the state of the art approach by 1.7 % in ROUGE-L metric.

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ArgGen: Prompting Text Generation Models for Document-Level Event-Argument Aggregation
Debanjana Kar | Sudeshna Sarkar | Pawan Goyal

Most of the existing discourse-level Information Extraction tasks have been modeled to be extractive in nature. However, we argue that extracting information from larger bodies of discourse-like documents requires more natural language understanding and reasoning capabilities. In our work, we propose the novel task of document-level event argument aggregation which generates consolidated event-arguments at a document-level with minimal loss of information. More specifically, we focus on generating precise document-level information frames in a multilingual setting using prompt-based methods. In this paper, we show the effectiveness of u prompt-based text generation approach to generate document-level argument spans in a low-resource and zero-shot setting. We also release the first of its kind multilingual event argument aggregation dataset that can be leveraged in other related multilingual text generation tasks as well:

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Hierarchical Processing of Visual and Language Information in the Brain
Haruka Kawasaki | Satoshi Nishida | Ichiro Kobayashi

In recent years, many studies using deep learning have been conducted to elucidate the mechanism of information representation in the brain under stimuli evoked by various modalities. On the other hand, it has not yet been clarified how we humans link information of different modalities in the brain. In this study, to elucidate the relationship between visual and language information in the brain, we constructed encoding models that predict brain activity based on features extracted from the hidden layers of VGG16 for visual information and BERT for language information. We investigated the hierarchical characteristics of cortical localization and representational content of visual and semantic information in the cortex based on the brain activity predicted by the encoding model. The results showed that the cortical localization modeled by VGG16 is getting close to that of BERT as VGG16 moves to higher layers, while the representational contents differ significantly between the two modalities.

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Differential Bias: On the Perceptibility of Stance Imbalance in Argumentation
Alonso Palomino | Khalid Al Khatib | Martin Potthast | Benno Stein

Most research on natural language processing treats bias as an absolute concept: Based on a (probably complex) algorithmic analysis, a sentence, an article, or a text is classified as biased or not. Given the fact that for humans the question of whether a text is biased can be difficult to answer or is answered contradictory, we ask whether an “absolute bias classification” is a promising goal at all. We see the problem not in the complexity of interpreting language phenomena but in the diversity of sociocultural backgrounds of the readers, which cannot be handled uniformly: To decide whether a text has crossed the proverbial line between non-biased and biased is subjective. By asking “Is text X more [less, equally] biased than text Y?” we propose to analyze a simpler problem, which, by its construction, is rather independent of standpoints, views, or sociocultural aspects. In such a model, bias becomes a preference relation that induces a partial ordering from least biased to most biased texts without requiring a decision on where to draw the line. A prerequisite for this kind of bias model is the ability of humans to perceive relative bias differences in the first place. In our research, we selected a specific type of bias in argumentation, the stance bias, and designed a crowdsourcing study showing that differences in stance bias are perceptible when (light) support is provided through training or visual aid.

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BeamR: Beam Reweighing with Attribute Discriminators for Controllable Text Generation
David Landsman | Jerry Zikun Chen | Hussain Zaidi

Recent advances in natural language processing have led to the availability of large pre-trained language models (LMs), with rich generative capabilities. Although these models are able to produce fluent and coherent text, it remains a challenge to control various attributes of the generation, including sentiment, formality, topic and many others. We propose a Beam Reweighing (BeamR) method, building on top of standard beam search, in order to control different attributes. BeamR combines any generative LM with any attribute discriminator, offering full flexibility of generation style and attribute, while the beam search backbone maintains fluency across different domains. Notably, BeamR allows practitioners to leverage pre-trained models without the need to train generative LMs together with discriminators. We evaluate BeamR in two diverse tasks: sentiment steering, and machine translation formality. Our results show that BeamR performs on par with or better than existing state-of-the-art approaches (including fine-tuned methods), and highlight the flexiblity of BeamR in both causal and seq2seq language modeling tasks.

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R&R: Metric-guided Adversarial Sentence Generation
Lei Xu | Alfredo Cuesta-Infante | Laure Berti-Equille | Kalyan Veeramachaneni

Adversarial examples are helpful for analyzing and improving the robustness of text classifiers. Generating high-quality adversarial examples is a challenging task as it requires generating fluent adversarial sentences that are semantically similar to the original sentences and preserve the original labels, while causing the classifier to misclassify them. Existing methods prioritize misclassification by maximizing each perturbation’s effectiveness at misleading a text classifier; thus, the generated adversarial examples fall short in terms of fluency and similarity. In this paper, we propose a rewrite and rollback (R&R) framework for adversarial attack. It improves the quality of adversarial examples by optimizing a critique score which combines the fluency, similarity, and misclassification metrics. R&R generates high-quality adversarial examples by allowing exploration of perturbations that do not have immediate impact on the misclassification metric but can improve fluency and similarity metrics. We evaluate our method on 5 representative datasets and 3 classifier architectures. Our method outperforms current state-of-the-art in attack success rate by +16.2%, +12.8%, and +14.0% on the classifiers respectively. Code is available at

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A Simple yet Effective Learnable Positional Encoding Method for Improving Document Transformer Model
Guoxin Wang | Yijuan Lu | Lei Cui | Tengchao Lv | Dinei Florencio | Cha Zhang

Positional encoding plays a key role in Transformer-based architecture, which is to indicate and embed token sequential order information. Understanding documents with unreliable reading order information is a real challenge for document Transformer models. This paper proposes a simple and effective positional encoding method, learnable sinusoidal positional encoding (LSPE), by building a learnable sinusoidal positional encoding feed-forward network. We apply LSPE to document Transformer models and pretrain them on document datasets. Then we finetune and evaluate the model performance on document understanding tasks in form, receipt, and invoice domains. Experimental results show our proposed method not only outperforms other baselines, but also demonstrates its robustness and stability on handling noisy data with incorrect order information.

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MMM: An Emotion and Novelty-aware Approach for Multilingual Multimodal Misinformation Detection
Vipin Gupta | Rina Kumari | Nischal Ashok | Tirthankar Ghosal | Asif Ekbal

The growth of multilingual web content in low-resource languages is becoming an emerging challenge to detect misinformation. One particular hindrance to research on this problem is the non-availability of resources and tools. Majority of the earlier works in misinformation detection are based on English content which confines the applicability of the research to a specific language only. Increasing presence of multimedia content on the web has promoted misinformation in which real multimedia content (images, videos) are used in different but related contexts with manipulated texts to mislead the readers. Detecting this category of misleading information is almost impossible without any prior knowledge. Studies say that emotion-invoking and highly novel content accelerates the dissemination of false information. To counter this problem, here in this paper, we first introduce a novel multilingual multimodal misinformation dataset that includes background knowledge (from authentic sources) of the misleading articles. Second, we propose an effective neural model leveraging novelty detection and emotion recognition to detect fabricated information. We perform extensive experiments to justify that our proposed model outperforms the state-of-the-art (SOTA) on the concerned task.

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Adversarial Sample Generation for Aspect based Sentiment Classification
Mamta | Asif Ekbal

Deep learning models have been proven vulnerable towards small imperceptible perturbed input, known as adversarial samples, which are indiscernible by humans. Initial attacks in Natural Language Processing perturb characters or words in sentences using heuristics and synonyms-based strategies, resulting in grammatical incorrect or out-of-context sentences. Recent works attempt to generate contextual adversarial samples using a masked language model, capturing word relevance using leave-one-out (LOO). However, they lack the design to maintain the semantic coherency for aspect based sentiment analysis (ABSA) tasks. Moreover, they focused on resource-rich languages like English. We present an attack algorithm for the ABSA task by exploiting model explainability techniques to address these limitations. It does not require access to the training data, raw access to the model, or calibrating a new model. Our proposed method generates adversarial samples for a given aspect, maintaining more semantic coherency. In addition, it can be generalized to low-resource languages, which are at high risk due to resource scarcity. We show the effectiveness of the proposed attack using automatic and human evaluation. Our method outperforms the state-of-art methods in perturbation ratio, success rate, and semantic coherence.