Google Research

Massively Multilingual Neural Machine Translation

Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers), Association for Computational Linguistics, Minneapolis, Minnesota, pp. 3874-3884 (to appear)

Abstract

Multilingual Neural Machine Translation enables training a single model that supports translation from multiple source languages into multiple target languages. We perform extensive experiments in training massively multilingual NMT models, involving up to 103 distinct languages and 204 translation directions simultaneously. We explore different setups for training such models and analyze the trade-offs between translation quality and various modeling decisions. We report results on the publicly available TED talks multilingual corpus where we show that massively multilingual many-to-many models are effective in low resource settings, outperforming the previous state-of-the-art while supporting up to 59 languages in 116 translation directions in a single model. Our experiments on a large-scale dataset with 103 languages, 204 trained directions and one million examples per direction also show promising results, surpassing strong bilingual baselines and encouraging future work on massively multilingual NMT.

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