Google Research

Learning Multilingual Word Embeddings Using Image-Text Data

Proceedings of 2019 NAACL HLT Workshop on Shortcomings in Vision and Language (SiVL)


There has been significant interest recently in learning multilingual word embeddings -- in which semantically similar words across languages have similar embeddings. State-of-the-art approaches have relied on expensive labeled data, which is unavailable for low-resource languages, or have involved post-hoc unification of monolingual embeddings. In the present paper, we investigate the efficacy of multilingual embeddings learned from weakly-supervised image-text data. In particular, we propose methods for learning multilingual embeddings using image-text data, by enforcing similarity between the representations of the image and that of the text. Our experiments reveal that even without using any expensive labeled data, a bag-of-words-based embedding model trained on image-text data achieves performance comparable to the the state-of-the-art on crosslingual semantic similarity tasks.

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