Isaac R Caswell

I do research in low-resource machine translation!
Authored Publications
Google Publications
Other Publications
Sort By
  • Title
  • Title, descending
  • Year
  • Year, descending
    Connecting Language Technologies with Rich, Diverse Data Sources Covering Thousands of Languages
    Sebastian Ruder
    Julia Kreutzer
    Clara Rivera
    Ishank Saxena
    Proceedings of the 2024 Joint International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-COLING 2024)
    Preview abstract Contrary to common belief, there are rich and diverse data sources available for many thousands of languages, which can be used to develop technologies for these languages. In this paper, we provide an overview of some of the major online data sources, the types of data that they provide access to, potential applications of this data, and the number of languages that they cover. Even this covers only a small fraction of the data that exists; for example, printed books are published in many languages but few online aggregators exist. View details
    Preview abstract Neural machine translation (NMT) has progressed rapidly over the past several years, and modern models are able to achieve relatively high quality using only monolingual text data, an approach dubbed Unsupervised Machine Translation, or UNMT. However, these models still struggle in a variety of ways, including aspects of translation that for a human are the easiest---for instance, correctly translating common nouns. This work explores a cheap and abundant resource to combat this problem: bilingual lexicons (\textsc{BiLex}s). We test the efficacy of bilingual lexicons in a real-world set-up, on 200-language translation models trained on web-mined text. We present several findings: (1) we demonstrate the most effective ways to use this resource for MT by extensively experimenting with lexical data augmentation techniques, such as codeswitching and lexical prompting; (2) we pinpoint what settings and languages are benefited most from lexical data augmentation; and (3) we provide an empirical, per-language analysis of the quality of the public resource PanLex, a multilingual lexicon covering thousands of languages. View details
    XTREME-UP: A User-Centric Scarce-Data Benchmark for Under-Represented Languages
    Sebastian Ruder
    Mihir Sanjay Kale
    Min Ma
    Shruti Rijhwani
    Parker Riley
    Jean-Michel Sarr
    Cindy Wang
    John Wieting
    Christo Kirov
    Dana L. Dickinson
    Bidisha Samanta
    Connie Tao
    David Adelani
    Colin Cherry
    Reeve Ingle
    Dmitry Panteleev
    Partha Talukdar
    Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023, Association for Computational Linguistics, Singapore, pp. 1856-1884
    Preview abstract Data scarcity is a crucial issue for the development of highly multilingual NLP systems. Yet for many under-represented languages (ULs) — languages for which NLP research is particularly far behind in meeting user needs — it is feasible to annotate small amounts of data. Motivated by this, we propose XTREME-UP, a benchmark defined by: its focus on the scarce-data scenario rather than zero-shot; its focus on user-centric tasks — tasks with broad adoption by speakers of high-resource languages; and its focus on under-represented languages where this scarce-data scenario tends to be most realistic. XTREME-UP evaluates the capabilities of language models across 88 under-represented languages over 9 key user-centric technologies including ASR, OCR, MT, and information access tasks that are of general utility. We create new datasets for OCR, autocomplete, semantic parsing, and transliteration, and build on and refine existing datasets for other tasks. XTREME-UP provides methodology for evaluating many modeling scenarios including text only, multi-modal (vision, audio, and text), supervised parameter tuning, and in-context learning. We evaluate commonly used models on the benchmark. We release all code and scripts to train and evaluate models. View details
    Writing System and Speaker Metadata for 2,800+ Language Varieties
    Sebastian Ruder
    Clara E. Rivera
    Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, European Language Resources Association, Marseille, France(2022), pp. 5035-5046
    Preview abstract We describe an open-source dataset providing metadata for about 2,800 language varieties used in the world today. Specifically, the dataset provides the attested writing system(s) for each of these 2,800+ varieties, as well as an estimated speaker count for each variety. This data set was developed through internal research and has been used for analyses around language technologies. This is the largest publicly-available, machine-readable resource with writing system and speaker information for the world's languages. We hope the availability of this data will catalyze research in under-represented languages. View details
    Preview abstract In this paper we share findings from our effort towards building practical machine translation (MT) systems capable of translating across over one thousand languages. We describe results across three research domains: (i) Building clean, web-mined datasets by leveraging semi-supervised pre-training for language-id and developing data-driven filtering techniques; (ii) Leveraging massively multilingual MT models trained with supervised parallel data for over $100$ languages and small monolingual datasets for over 1000 languages to enable translation for several previously under-studied languages; and (iii) Studying the limitations of evaluation metrics for long tail languages and conducting qualitative analysis of the outputs from our MT models. We hope that our work provides useful insights to practitioners working towards building MT systems for long tail languages, and highlights research directions that can complement the weaknesses of massively multilingual pre-trained models in data-sparse settings. View details
    Quality at a Glance: An Audit of Web-Crawled Multilingual Datasets
    Julia Kreutzer
    Lisa Wang
    Ahsan Wahab
    Nasanbayar Ulzii-Orshikh
    Allahsera Auguste Tapo
    Nishant Subramani
    Artem Sokolov
    Claytone Sikasote
    Monang Setyawan
    Supheakmungkol Sarin
    Sokhar Samb
    Benoît Sagot
    Clara E. Rivera
    Annette Rios
    Isabel Papadimitriou
    Salomey Osei
    Pedro Javier Ortiz Suárez
    Iroro Fred Ọ̀nọ̀mẹ̀ Orife
    Kelechi Ogueji
    Rubungo Andre Niyongabo
    Toan Nguyen
    Mathias Müller
    André Müller
    Shamsuddeen Hassan Muhammad
    Nanda Muhammad
    Ayanda Mnyakeni
    Jamshidbek Mirzakhalov
    Tapiwanashe Matangira
    Colin Leong
    Nze Lawson
    Yacine Jernite
    Mathias Jenny
    Bonaventure F. P. Dossou
    Sakhile Dlamini
    Nisansa de Silva
    Sakine Çabuk Ballı
    Stella Biderman
    Alessia Battisti
    Ahmed Baruwa
    Pallavi Baljekar
    Israel Abebe Azime
    Ayodele Awokoya
    Duygu Ataman
    Orevaoghene Ahia
    Oghenefego Ahia
    Sweta Agrawal
    Mofetoluwa Adeyemi
    Preview abstract With the success of large-scale pre-training and multilingual modeling in Natural Language Processing (NLP), recent years have seen a proliferation of large, web-mined text datasets covering hundreds of languages. However, to date there has been no systematic analysis of the quality of these publicly available datasets, or whether the datasets actually contain content in the languages they claim to represent. In this work, we manually audit the quality of 205 language-specific corpora released with five major public datasets (CCAligned, ParaCrawl, WikiMatrix, OSCAR, mC4), and audit the correctness of language codes in a sixth (JW300). We find that lower-resource corpora have systematic issues: at least 15 corpora are completely erroneous, and a significant fraction contains less than 50% sentences of acceptable quality. Similarly, we find 82 corpora that are mislabeled or use nonstandard/ambiguous language codes. We demonstrate that these issues are easy to detect even for non-speakers of the languages in question, and supplement the human judgements with automatic analyses. Inspired by our analysis, we recommend techniques to evaluate and improve multilingual corpora and discuss the risks that come with low-quality data releases. View details
    BLEU might be Guilty but References are not Innocent
    David Grangier
    Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), Association for Computational Linguistics, pp. 61-71
    Preview abstract The quality of automatic metrics for machine translation has been increasingly called into question, especially for high-quality systems. This paper demonstrates that, while choice of metric is important, the nature of the references is also critical. We study different methods to collect references and compare their value in automated evaluation by reporting correlation with human evaluation for a variety of systems and metrics. Motivated by the finding that typical references exhibit poor diversity, concentrating around translationese language, we develop a paraphrasing task for linguists to perform on existing reference translations, which counteracts this bias. Our method yields higher correlation with human judgment not only for the submissions of WMT 2019 English to German, but also for Back-translation and APE augmented MT output, which have been shown to have low correlation with automatic metrics using standard references. We demonstrate that our methodology improves correlation with all modern evaluation metrics we look at, including embedding-based methods.To complete this picture, we reveal that multi-reference BLEU does not improve the correlation for high quality output, and present an alternative multi-reference formulation that is more effective. View details
    Translationese as a Language in “Multilingual” NMT
    Parker Riley
    David Grangier
    Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Association for Computational Linguistics, Online(2020), pp. 7737-7746
    Preview abstract Machine translation has an undesirable propensity to produce “translationese” artifacts, which can lead to higher BLEU scores while being liked less by human raters. Motivated by this, we model translationese and original (i.e. natural) text as separate languages in a multilingual model, and pose the question: can we perform zero-shot translation between original source text and original target text? There is no data with original source and original target, so we train a sentence-level classifier to distinguish translationese from original target text, and use this classifier to tag the training data for an NMT model. Using this technique we bias the model to produce more natural outputs at test time, yielding gains in human evaluation scores on both adequacy and fluency. Additionally, we demonstrate that it is possible to bias the model to produce translationese and game the BLEU score, increasing it while decreasing human-rated quality. We analyze these outputs using metrics measuring the degree of translationese, and present an analysis of the volatility of heuristic-based train-data tagging. View details
    Preview abstract Large text corpora are increasingly important for a wide variety of Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks, and automatic language identification (LangID) is a core technology needed to collect such datasets in a multilingual context. LangID is largely treated as solved in the literature, with models reported that achieve over 90% average F1 on as many as 1,366 languages. We train LangID models on up to 1,629 languages with comparable quality on held-out test sets, but find that human-judged LangID accuracy for web-crawl text corpora created using these models is only around 5% for many lower-resource languages, suggesting a need for more robust evaluation. Further analysis revealed a variety of error modes, arising from domain mismatch, class imbalance, language similarity, and insufficiently expressive models. We propose two classes of techniques to mitigate these errors: wordlist-based tunable-precision filters (for which we release curated lists in about 500 languages) and transformer-based semi-supervised LangID models, which increase median dataset precision from 5.5% to 71.2%. These techniques enable us to create an initial data set covering 100K or more relatively clean sentences in each of 500+ languages, paving the way towards a 1,000-language web text corpus. View details
    Learning a Multi-Domain Curriculum for Neural Machine Translation
    Wei Wang
    Ye Tian
    Jiquan Ngiam
    Yinfei Yang
    Zarana Parekh
    ACL 2020
    Preview abstract Most data selection research in machine translation focuses on improving a single domain. We perform data selection for multiple domains at once. This is achieved by carefully introducing instance-level domain-relevance features and automatically constructing a training curriculum to gradually concentrate on multi-domain relevant and noise-reduced data batches. Both the choice of features and the use of curriculum are crucial for balancing and improving all domains, including out-of-domain. In large-scale experiments, the multi-domain curriculum simultaneously reaches or outperforms the individual performance and brings solid gains over no-curriculum training. View details
    Preview abstract Recent work in Neural Machine Translation (NMT) has shown significant quality gains from noised-beam decoding during back-translation, a method to generate synthetic parallel data. We show that the main role of such synthetic noise is not to diversify the source side, as previously suggested, but simply to indicate to the model that the given source is synthetic. We propose a simpler alternative to noising techniques, consisting of tagging back-translated source sentences with an extra token. Our results on WMT outperform noised back-translation in English-Romanian and match performance on English-German, re-defining state-of-the-art in the former. View details
    Preview abstract Multilingual Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models have yielded large empirical success in transfer learning settings. However, these black-box representations are poorly understood, and their mode of transfer remains elusive. In this work, we attempt to understand massively multilingual NMT representations (with over 100 languages) using Singular Value Canonical Correlation Analysis (SVCCA), a representation similarity framework that allows us to compare representations across different languages, layers and models. Our analysis validates several empirical results and long-standing intuitions, and unveils new observations regarding how representations evolve in a multilingual translation model. We draw two major results from our analysis: (i) Representations of the same sentences across different languages cluster based on linguistic similarity and (ii) Source sentence representations learned by the encoder are dependent on the target language. We further confirm our observations with carefully designed experiments and connect our findings with existing results in multilingual NMT and cross-lingual transfer learning. View details
    Preview abstract Noise and domain are important aspects of data quality for neural machine translation. Existing research focus separately on domain-data selection, clean-data selection, or their static combination, leaving the dynamic interaction across them not explicitly examined. This paper introduces a ``co-curricular learning'' method to compose dynamic domain-data selection with dynamic clean-data selection, for transfer learning across both capabilities. We apply an EM-style optimization procedure to further refine the ``co-curriculum''. Experiment results and analysis with two domains demonstrate the viability of the method and the properties of data scheduled by the co-curriculum. View details
    APE at Scale and its Implications on MT Evaluation Biases
    Scott Roy
    Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Machine Translation (Volume 1: Research Papers), Association for Computational Linguistics, Florence, Italy(2019), pp. 34-44
    Preview abstract In this work, we train an Automatic Post-Editing (APE) model and use it to reveal biases in standard MT evaluation procedures. The goal of our APE model is to correct typical errors introduced by the translation process, and convert the “translationese” output into natural text. Our APE model is trained entirely on monolingual data that has been round-trip translated through English, to mimic errors that are similar to the ones introduced by NMT. We apply our model to the output of existing NMT systems, and demonstrate that, while the human-judged quality improves in all cases, BLEU scores drop with forward-translated test sets. We verify these results for the WMT18 English to German, WMT15 English to French, and WMT16 English to Romanian tasks. Furthermore, we selectively apply our APE model on the output of the top submissions of the most recent WMT evaluation campaigns. We see quality improvements on all tasks of up to 2.5 BLEU points. View details
    No Results Found