Proceedings of the First Workshop on Cross-Cultural Considerations in NLP (C3NLP)

Sunipa Dev, Vinodkumar Prabhakaran, David Adelani, Dirk Hovy, Luciana Benotti (Editors)

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Dubrovnik, Croatia
Association for Computational Linguistics
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Proceedings of the First Workshop on Cross-Cultural Considerations in NLP (C3NLP)
Sunipa Dev | Vinodkumar Prabhakaran | David Adelani | Dirk Hovy | Luciana Benotti

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Varepsilon kú mask: Integrating Yorùbá cultural greetings into machine translation
Idris Akinade | Jesujoba Alabi | David Adelani | Clement Odoje | Dietrich Klakow

This paper investigates the performance of massively multilingual neural machine translation (NMT) systems in translating Yorùbá greetings (kú mask), which are a big part of Yorùbá language and culture, into English. To evaluate these models, we present IkiniYorùbá, a Yorùbá-English translation dataset containing some Yorùbá greetings, and sample use cases. We analysed the performance of different multilingual NMT systems including Google and NLLB and show that these models struggle to accurately translate Yorùbá greetings into English. In addition, we trained a Yorùbá-English model by fine-tuning an existing NMT model on the training split of IkiniYorùbá and this achieved better performance when compared to the pre-trained multilingual NMT models, although they were trained on a large volume of data.

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Cross-Cultural Transfer Learning for Chinese Offensive Language Detection
Li Zhou | Laura Cabello | Yong Cao | Daniel Hershcovich

Detecting offensive language is a challenging task. Generalizing across different cultures and languages becomes even more challenging: besides lexical, syntactic and semantic differences, pragmatic aspects such as cultural norms and sensitivities, which are particularly relevant in this context, vary greatly. In this paper, we target Chinese offensive language detection and aim to investigate the impact of transfer learning using offensive language detection data from different cultural backgrounds, specifically Korean and English. We find that culture-specific biases in what is considered offensive negatively impact the transferability of language models (LMs) and that LMs trained on diverse cultural data are sensitive to different features in Chinese offensive language detection. In a few-shot learning scenario, however, our study shows promising prospects for non-English offensive language detection with limited resources. Our findings highlight the importance of cross-cultural transfer learning in improving offensive language detection and promoting inclusive digital spaces.

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A Cross-Lingual Study of Homotransphobia on Twitter
Davide Locatelli | Greta Damo | Debora Nozza

We present a cross-lingual study of homotransphobia on Twitter, examining the prevalence and forms of homotransphobic content in tweets related to LGBT issues in seven languages. Our findings reveal that homotransphobia is a global problem that takes on distinct cultural expressions, influenced by factors such as misinformation, cultural prejudices, and religious beliefs. To aid the detection of hate speech, we also devise a taxonomy that classifies public discourse around LGBT issues. By contributing to the growing body of research on online hate speech, our study provides valuable insights for creating effective strategies to combat homotransphobia on social media.

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Strengthening Relationships Between Indigenous Communities, Documentary Linguists, and Computational Linguists in the Era of NLP-Assisted Language Revitalization
Darren Flavelle | Jordan Lachler

As the global crisis of language endangerment deepens, Indigenous communities have continued to seek new means of preserving, promoting and passing on their languages to future generations. For many communities, modern language technology holds the promise of accelerating that process. However, the cultural and disciplinary divides between documentary linguists, computational linguists and Indigenous communities have posed an on-going challenge for the development and deployment of NLP applications that can support the documentation and revitalization of Indigenous languages. In this paper, we discuss the main barriers to collaboration that these groups have encountered, as well as some notable initiatives in recent years to bring the groups closer together. We follow this with specific recommendations to build upon those efforts, calling for increased opportunities for awareness-building and skills-training in computational linguistics, tailored to the specific needs of both documentary linguists and Indigenous community members. We see this as an essential step as we move forward into an era of NLP-assisted language revitalization.

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Hate Speech Classifiers are Culturally Insensitive
Nayeon Lee | Chani Jung | Alice Oh

Increasingly, language models and machine translation are becoming valuable tools to help people communicate with others from diverse cultural backgrounds. However, current language models lack cultural awareness because they are trained on data representing only the culture within the dataset. This presents a problem in the context of hate speech classification, where cultural awareness is especially critical. This study aims to quantify the cultural insensitivity of three monolingual (Korean, English, Arabic) hate speech classifiers by evaluating their performance on translated datasets from the other two languages. Our research has revealed that hate speech classifiers evaluated on datasets from other cultures yield significantly lower F1 scores, up to almost 50%. In addition, they produce considerably higher false negative rates, with a magnitude up to five times greater, demonstrating the extent of the cultural gap. The study highlights the severity of cultural insensitivity of language models in hate speech classification.

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MMT: A Multilingual and Multi-Topic Indian Social Media Dataset
Dwip Dalal | Vivek Srivastava | Mayank Singh

Social media plays a significant role in cross-cultural communication. A vast amount of this occurs in code-mixed and multilingual form, posing a significant challenge to Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools for processing such information, like language identification, topic modeling, and named-entity recognition. To address this, we introduce a large-scale multilingual and multi-topic dataset MMT collected from Twitter (1.7 million Tweets), encompassing 13 coarse-grained and 63 fine-grained topics in the Indian context. We further annotate a subset of 5,346 tweets from the MMT dataset with various Indian languages and their code-mixed counterparts. Also, we demonstrate that the currently existing tools fail to capture the linguistic diversity in MMT on two downstream tasks, i.e., topic modeling and language identification. To facilitate future research, we will make the anonymized and annotated dataset available in the public domain.

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Assessing Cross-Cultural Alignment between ChatGPT and Human Societies: An Empirical Study
Yong Cao | Li Zhou | Seolhwa Lee | Laura Cabello | Min Chen | Daniel Hershcovich

The recent release of ChatGPT has garnered widespread recognition for its exceptional ability to generate human-like conversations. Given its usage by users from various nations and its training on a vast multilingual corpus that includes diverse cultural and societal norms, it is crucial to evaluate its effectiveness in cultural adaptation. In this paper, we investigate the underlying cultural background of ChatGPT by analyzing its responses to questions designed to quantify human cultural differences. Our findings suggest that, when prompted with American context, ChatGPT exhibits a strong alignment with American culture, but it adapts less effectively to other cultural contexts. Furthermore, by using different prompts to probe the model, we show that English prompts reduce the variance in model responses, flattening out cultural differences and biasing them towards American culture. This study provides valuable insights into the cultural implications of ChatGPT and highlights the necessity of greater diversity and cultural awareness in language technologies.

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Toward Cultural Bias Evaluation Datasets: The Case of Bengali Gender, Religious, and National Identity
Dipto Das | Shion Guha | Bryan Semaan

Critical studies found NLP systems to bias based on gender and racial identities. However, few studies focused on identities defined by cultural factors like religion and nationality. Compared to English, such research efforts are even further limited in major languages like Bengali due to the unavailability of labeled datasets. This paper describes a process for developing a bias evaluation dataset highlighting cultural influences on identity. We also provide a Bengali dataset as an artifact outcome that can contribute to future critical research.

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Building Stereotype Repositories with Complementary Approaches for Scale and Depth
Sunipa Dev | Akshita Jha | Jaya Goyal | Dinesh Tewari | Shachi Dave | Vinodkumar Prabhakaran

Measurements of fairness in NLP have been critiqued for lacking concrete definitions of biases or harms measured, and for perpetuating a singular, Western narrative of fairness globally. To combat some of these pivotal issues, methods for curating datasets and benchmarks that target specific harms are rapidly emerging. However, these methods still face the significant challenge of achieving coverage over global cultures and perspectives at scale. To address this, in this paper, we highlight the utility and importance of complementary approaches that leverage both community engagement as well as large generative models, in these curation strategies. We specifically target the harm of stereotyping and demonstrate a pathway to build a benchmark that covers stereotypes about diverse, and intersectional identities. We discuss the two approaches, their advantages and constraints, the characteristics of the data they produce, and finally, their potential to be used complementarily for better evaluation of stereotyping harms.

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Bias assessment for experts in discrimination, not in computer science
Laura Alonso Alemany | Luciana Benotti | Hernán Maina | Lucía Gonzalez | Lautaro Martínez | Beatriz Busaniche | Alexia Halvorsen | Amanda Rojo | Mariela Rajngewerc

Approaches to bias assessment usually require such technical skills that, by design, they leave discrimination experts out. In this paper we present EDIA, a tool that facilitates that experts in discrimination explore social biases in word embeddings and masked language models. Experts can then characterize those biases so that their presence can be assessed more systematically, and actions can be planned to address them. They can work interactively to assess the effects of different characterizations of bias in a given word embedding or language model, which helps to specify informal intuitions in concrete resources for systematic testing.

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Toward Disambiguating the Definitions of Abusive, Offensive, Toxic, and Uncivil Comments
Pia Pachinger | Allan Hanbury | Julia Neidhardt | Anna Planitzer

The definitions of abusive, offensive, toxic and uncivil comments used for annotating corpora for automated content moderation are highly intersected and researchers call for their disambiguation. We summarize the definitions of these terms as they appear in 23 papers across different fields. We compare examples given for uncivil, offensive, and toxic comments, attempting to foster more unified scientific resources. Additionally, we stress that the term incivility that frequently appears in social science literature has hardly been mentioned in the literature we analyzed that focuses on computational linguistics and natural language processing.

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Probing Pre-Trained Language Models for Cross-Cultural Differences in Values
Arnav Arora | Lucie-aimée Kaffee | Isabelle Augenstein

Language embeds information about social, cultural, and political values people hold. Prior work has explored potentially harmful social biases encoded in Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs). However, there has been no systematic study investigating how values embedded in these models vary across cultures. In this paper, we introduce probes to study which cross-cultural values are embedded in these models, and whether they align with existing theories and cross-cultural values surveys. We find that PLMs capture differences in values across cultures, but those only weakly align with established values surveys. We discuss implications of using mis-aligned models in cross-cultural settings, as well as ways of aligning PLMs with values surveys.