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1 - 15 of 147 publications
    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 We present Mu2SLAM, a multilingual sequence-to-sequence model pre-trained jointly on un-labeled speech, unlabeled text and supervised data spanning Automatic Speech Recognition(ASR), Automatic Speech Translation (AST)and Machine Translation (MT), in over 100 languages. By leveraging a quantized representation of speech as a target, Mu2SLAM trains ona sequence-to-sequence masked denoising objective similar to T5 on both unlabeled speech and text, while utilizing the supervised tasks to improve cross-lingual and cross-modal representation alignment within the model. On CoVoSTAST, Mu2SLAM establishes a new state-of-the-art for models trained on public datasets, improv-ing on xx-en translation over the previous best by 1.9 Bleu points and on en-xx translation by 0.9 Bleu points. On Voxpopuli ASR, our model matches the performance of a mSLAM model finetuned with a RNN-T decoder, despite using a relatively weaker sequence-to-sequence architecture. On text understanding tasks, our model improves by more than 6% over mSLAM on XNLI, getting closer to the performance of mT5 models of comparable capacity on XNLI and TydiQA, paving the way towards a single model for all speech and text understanding tasks. 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
    Bootstrapping Multilingual Semantic Parsers using Large Language Models
    Abhijeet Awasthi
    Bidisha Samanta
    Sunita Sarawagi
    Partha Pratim Talukdar
    Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL) (2023)
    Preview abstract Despite cross-lingual generalization demonstrated by pre-trained multilingual models, the translate-and-train paradigm of transferring English datasets across multiple languages remains to be the key ingredient for training task-specific multilingual models. However, for many low-resource languages, the availability of a reliable translation service entails significant amounts of costly human annotated translation pairs. Further, the translation services for low resource languages may continue to be brittle due to domain mismatch between the task-specific input text and the general-purpose text used while training the translation models. We consider the task of multilingual semantic parsing, and demonstrate the effectiveness and the flexibility offered by large language models (LLMs) for translating English datasets into several languages via few-shot prompting. We provide (i) Extensive comparisons with prior translate-and-train methods across 50 languages demonstrating that LLMs can serve as highly effective data translators, outperforming prior translation based methods on 40 out of 50 languages; (ii) A comprehensive study of the key design choices that enable effective data translation via prompted LLMs. View details
    Prompting PaLM for Translation: Assessing Strategies and Performance
    David Vilar Torres
    Colin Cherry
    Jiaming Luo
    Viresh Ratnakar
    George Foster
    Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers), Association for Computational Linguistics, Toronto, Canada (2023), 15406–15427
    Preview abstract Large language models (LLMs) that have been trained on multilingual but not parallel text exhibit a remarkable ability to translate between languages. We probe this ability in an in-depth study of the pathways language model (PaLM), which has demonstrated the strongest machine translation (MT) performance among similarly-trained LLMs to date. We investigate various strategies for choosing translation examples for few-shot prompting, concluding that example quality is the most important factor. Using optimized prompts, we revisit previous assessments of PaLM’s MT capabilities with more recent test sets, modern MT metrics, and human evaluation, and find that its performance, while impressive, still lags that of state-of-the-art supervised systems. We conclude by providing an analysis of PaLM’s MT output which reveals some interesting properties and prospects for future work. View details
    Results of WMT23 Metrics Shared Task: Metrics might be Guilty but References are not Innocent
    Nitika Mathur
    Chi-kiu Lo
    Eleftherios Avramidis
    Ricardo Rei
    Brian Thompson
    Tom Kocmi
    Frédéric Blain
    Craig Stewart
    Chrysoula Zerva
    Sheila Castilho
    Alon Lavie
    George Foster
    Proceedings of the Eighth Conference on Machine Translation, Association for Computational Linguistics, Singapore (2023), pp. 576-626
    Preview abstract This paper presents the results of the WMT23 Metrics Shared Task. Participants submitting automatic MT evaluation metrics were asked to score the outputs of the translation systems competing in the WMT23 News Translation Task. All metrics were evaluated on how well they correlate with human ratings at the system and segment level. Similar to last year, we acquired our own human ratings based on expert-based human evaluation via Multidimensional Quality Metrics (MQM). Following last year's success, we also included a challenge set subtask, where participants had to create contrastive test suites for evaluating metrics' ability to capture and penalise specific types of translation errors. Furthermore, we improved our meta-evaluation procedure by considering fewer tasks and calculating a global score by weighted averaging across the various tasks. We present an extensive analysis on how well metrics perform on three language pairs: Chinese-English, Hebrew-English on the sentence-level and English-German on the paragraph-level. The results strongly confirm the results reported last year, that neural-based metrics are significantly better than non-neural metrics in their levels of correlation with human judgments. Further, we investigate the impact of bad reference translations on the correlations of metrics with human judgment. We present a novel approach for generating synthetic reference translations based on the collection of MT system outputs and their corresponding MQM ratings, which has the potential to mitigate bad reference issues we observed this year for some language pairs. Finally, we also study the connections between the magnitude of metric differences and their expected significance in human evaluation, which should help the community to better understand and adopt new metrics. View details
    Ties Matter: Meta-Evaluating Modern Metrics with Pairwise Accuracy and Tie Calibration
    George Foster
    Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Association for Computational Linguistics, Singapore, pp. 12914-12929
    Preview abstract Kendall's tau is frequently used to meta-evaluate how well machine translation (MT) evaluation metrics score individual translations. Its focus on pairwise score comparisons is intuitive but raises the question of how ties should be handled, a gray area that has motivated different variants in the literature. We demonstrate that, in settings like modern MT meta-evaluation, existing variants have weaknesses arising from their handling of ties, and in some situations can even be gamed. We propose instead to meta-evaluate metrics with a version of pairwise accuracy that gives metrics credit for correctly predicting ties, in combination with a tie calibration procedure that automatically introduces ties into metric scores, enabling fair comparison between metrics that do and do not predict ties. We argue and provide experimental evidence that these modifications lead to fairer ranking-based assessments of metric performance. View details
    MetricX-23: The Google Submission to the WMT 2023 Metrics Shared Task
    Jurik Juraska
    Mara Finkelstein
    Mahdi Mirzazadeh
    Conference on Machine Translation (2023)
    Preview abstract This report details the MetricX-23 submission to the Workshop on Machine Translation's 2023 Metrics Shared Task and provides an overview of the experiments that informed which metrics were submitted. Our three submissions---each with a quality estimation (or reference-free) version---are all learned regression-based metrics that vary in the data used for training and which pretrained language model was used for initialization. We report results related to understanding (1) which supervised training data to use, (2) the impact of how the training labels are normalized, (3) the amount of synthetic training data to use, (4) how metric performance is related to model size, and (5) the effect of initializing the metrics with different pretrained language models. The training recipes that we found to be most successful are detailed in this report. View details
    WMT23 Metrics shared task Submission: Quality Estimation using Minimum Bayes Risk
    Subhajit Naskar
    Proceedings of the Eighth Conference on Machine Translation, Association for Computational Linguistics, Singapore (2023), pp. 806-811
    Preview abstract This report describes the Minimum Bayes Risk Quality Estimation (MBR-QE) submission to the Workshop on Machine Translation's 2023 Metrics Shared Task. MBR decoding with neural utility metrics (BLEURT) are known to be very effective in generating high quality machine translations. We use the underlying assumption of MBR decoding and develop a MBR based reference-free quality estimation metric. Our method uses a evaluator machine translation system and a reference-based utility metric (BLEURT, MeticX) to calculate a quality estimation score of a model. We report results related to comparing different MBR configuration and utility metrics. View details
    Preview abstract Automatic evaluation of machine translation (MT) is a critical tool driving the rapid iterative development of MT systems. While considerable progress has been made on direct estimation of quality scores, the resulting metrics lack the informativeness of more detailed schemes that annotate individual errors, such as Multidimensional Quality Metrics (MQM). In this paper, we fill this gap by proposing \textbf{\textsc{AutoMQM}}, a prompting technique which leverages the \textit{reasoning} and \textit{in-context learning} capabilities of large language models (LLMs) and asks them to identify and categorize errors in translations. We start by evaluating recent LLMs, such as PaLM and PaLM-2, through simple \textit{score prediction} prompting, and we study the impact of labeled data through in-context learning and finetuning. We then evaluate \textsc{AutoMQM} with PaLM-2 models, and we find that it improves performance compared to just prompting for scores (with particularly large gains for larger models) while providing interpretability through error spans that align with human annotations. View details
    Epsilon Sampling Rocks: Investigating Sampling Strategies for Minimum Bayes Risk Decoding for Machine Translation
    Behrooz Ghorbani
    Patrick Fernandes
    Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023, Association for Computational Linguistics, Singapore, pp. 9198-9209
    Preview abstract Recent advances in machine translation (MT) have shown that Minimum Bayes Risk (MBR) decoding can be a powerful alternative to beam search decoding, especially when combined with neural-based utility functions. However, the performance of MBR decoding depends heavily on how and how many candidates are sampled from the model. In this paper, we explore how different sampling approaches for generating candidate lists for MBR decoding affect performance. We evaluate popular sampling approaches, such as ancestral, nucleus, and top-k sampling. Based on our insights into their limitations, we experiment with the recently proposed epsilon-sampling approach, which prunes away all tokens with a probability smaller than epsilon, ensuring that each token in a sample receives a fair probability mass. Through extensive human evaluations, we demonstrate that MBR decoding based on epsilon-sampling significantly outperforms not only beam search decoding, but also MBR decoding with all other tested sampling methods across four language pairs. View details
    INSTRUCTSCORE: Towards Explainable Text Generation Evaluation with Automatic Feedback
    Wenda Xu
    Danqing Wang
    Liangming Pan
    Zhenqiao Song
    William Wang
    Lei Li
    Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Association for Computational Linguistics, Singapore, pp. 5967-5994
    Preview abstract Automatically evaluating the quality of language generation is critical. Although recent learned metrics show high correlation with human judgement, these metrics do not provide explicit explanation of their verdict, nor associate the scores with defects in the generated text. To address this limitation, we present INSTRUCTSCORE, a fine-grained explainable evaluation metric for text generation. By harnessing both explicit human instruction and the implicit knowledge of GPT-4, we fine-tune a text evaluation metric based on LLaMA, producing both a score for generated text and a human readable diagnostic report. We evaluate INSTRUCTSCORE on a variety of generation tasks, including translation, captioning, data-to-text, and commonsense generation. Experiments show that our 7B model surpasses all other unsupervised metrics, including those based on 175B GPT-3 and GPT-4. Surprisingly, our INSTRUCTSCORE, even without direct supervision from human-rated data, achieves performance levels on par with state-of-the-art metrics like COMET22, which were fine-tuned on human ratings. View details
    A Natural Diet: Towards Improving Naturalness of Machine Translation Output
    David Vilar Torres
    David Grangier
    Colin Cherry
    George Foster
    Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Association for Computational Linguistics, Online (2022)
    Preview abstract Machine translation (MT) evaluation often focuses on accuracy and fluency, without paying much attention to translation style. This means that, even when considered accurate and fluent, MT output can still sound less natural than high quality human translations or text originally written in the target language. Machine translation output notably exhibits lower lexical diversity, and employs constructs that mirror those in the source sentence. In this work we propose a method for training MT systems to achieve a more natural style, i.e. mirroring the style of text originally written in the target language. Our method tags parallel training data according to the naturalness of the target side by contrasting language models trained on natural and translated data. Tagging data allows us to put greater emphasis on target sentences originally written in the target language. Automatic metrics show that the resulting models achieve lexical richness on par with human translations, mimicking a style much closer to sentences originally written in the target language. Furthermore, we find that their output is preferred by human experts when compared to the baseline translations. View details
    Adapting Multilingual Models for Code-Mixed Translation
    Aditya Vavre
    Sunita Sarawagi
    Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022, Association for Computational Linguistics (2022), 7133–7141
    Preview abstract The scarcity of gold standard code-mixed to pure language parallel data makes it difficult to train translation models reliably.Prior work has addressed the paucity of parallel data with data augmentation techniques.Such methods rely heavily on external resources making systems difficult to train and scale effectively for multiple languages.We present a simple yet highly effective two-stage back-translation based training scheme for adapting multilingual models to the task of code-mixed translation which eliminates dependence on external resources.We show a substantial improvement in translation quality (measured through BLEU), beating existing prior work by up to +3.8 BLEU on code-mixed Hi→En, Mr→En, and Bn→En tasks. On the LinCE Machine Translation leader board, we achieve the highest score for code-mixed Es→En, beating existing best baseline by +6.5 BLEU, and our own stronger baseline by +1.1 BLEU. View details
    Preview abstract We introduce CVSS, a massively multilingual-to-English speech-to-speech translation (S2ST) corpus, covering sentence-level parallel S2ST pairs from 21 languages into English. CVSS is derived from the Common Voice speech corpus and the CoVoST 2 speech-to-text translation (ST) corpus, by synthesizing the translation text from CoVoST 2 into speech using state-of-the-art TTS systems. Two versions of translation speeches are provided: 1) CVSS-C: All the translation speeches are in a single high-quality canonical voice; 2) CVSS-T: The translation speeches are in voices transferred from the corresponding source speeches. In addition, CVSS provides normalized translation text which matches the pronunciation in the translation speech. On each version of CVSS, we built baseline multilingual direct S2ST models and cascade S2ST models, verifying the effectiveness of the corpus. To build strong cascade S2ST baselines, we trained an ST model on CoVoST 2, which outperforms the previous state-of-the-art trained on the corpus without extra data by 5.8 BLEU. Nevertheless, the performance of the direct S2ST models approaches the strong cascade baselines when trained from scratch, and with only 0.1 or 0.7 BLEU difference on ASR transcribed translation when initialized from matching ST models. View details