Universal Neural Machine Translation for Extremely Low Resource Languages

ACL 2018

Universal Neural Machine Translation for Extremely Low Resource Languages

Jan 21, 2021
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Abstract: In this paper, we propose a new universal machine translation approach focusing on languages with a limited amount of parallel data. Our proposed approach utilizes a transfer-learning approach to share lexical and sentence level representations across multiple source languages into one target language. The lexical part is shared through a Universal Lexical Representation to support multilingual word-level sharing. The sentence-level sharing is represented by a model of experts from all source languages that share the source encoders with all other languages. This enables the low-resource language to utilize the lexical and sentence representations of the higher resource languages. Our approach is able to achieve 23 BLEU on Romanian-English WMT2016 using a tiny parallel corpus of 6k sentences, compared to the 18 BLEU of strong baseline system which uses multilingual training and back-translation. Furthermore, we show that the proposed approach can achieve almost 20 BLEU on the same dataset through fine-tuning a pre-trained multi-lingual system in a zero-shot setting. Authors: Jiatao Gu, Hany Hassan, Jacob Devlin, Victor O.K. Li (The University of Hong Kong, Microsoft Research)

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