We conduct a large-scale fine-grained comparative analysis of machine translations (MT) against human translations (HT) through the lens of morphosyntactic divergence. Across three language pairs and two types of divergence defined as the structural difference between the source and the target, MT is consistently more conservative than HT, with less morphosyntactic diversity, more convergent patterns, and more one-to-one alignments. Through analysis on different decoding algorithms, we attribute this discrepancy to the use of beam search that biases MT towards more convergent patterns. This bias is most amplified when the convergent pattern appears around 50% of the time in training data. Lastly, we show that for a majority of morphosyntactic divergences, their presence in HT is correlated with decreased MT performance, presenting a greater challenge for MT systems.
Maximum-a-posteriori (MAP) decoding is the most widely used decoding strategy for neural machine translation (NMT) models. The underlying assumption is that model probability correlates well with human judgment, with better translations being more likely. However, research has shown that this assumption does not always hold, and decoding strategies which directly optimize a utility function, like Minimum Bayes Risk (MBR) or Quality-Aware decoding can significantly improve translation quality over standard MAP decoding. The main disadvantage of these methods is that they require an additional model to predict the utility, and additional steps during decoding, which makes the entire process computationally demanding. In this paper, we propose to make the NMT models themselves quality-aware by training them to estimate the quality of their own output. During decoding, we can use the model's own quality estimates to guide the generation process and produce the highest-quality translations possible. We demonstrate that the model can self-evaluate its own output during translation, eliminating the need for a separate quality estimation model. Moreover, we show that using this quality signal as a prompt during MAP decoding can significantly improve translation quality. When using the internal quality estimate to prune the hypothesis space during MBR decoding, we can not only further improve translation quality, but also reduce inference speed by two orders of magnitude.
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 re-search 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
We introduce PaLM 2, a new state-of-the-art language model that has better multilingual and reasoning capabilities and is more compute-efficient than its predecessor PaLM. PaLM 2 is a Transformer-based model trained using a mixture of objectives. Through extensive evaluations on English and multilingual language, and reasoning tasks, we demonstrate that PaLM 2 has significantly improved quality on downstream tasks across different model sizes, while simultaneously exhibiting faster and more efficient inference compared to PaLM. This improved efficiency enables broader deployment while also allowing the model to respond faster, for a more natural pace of interaction. PaLM 2 demonstrates robust reasoning capabilities exemplified by large improvements over PaLM on BIG-Bench and other reasoning tasks. PaLM 2 exhibits stable performance on a suite of responsible AI evaluations, and enables inference-time control over toxicity without additional overhead or impact on other capabilities. Overall, PaLM 2 achieves state-of-the-art performance across a diverse set of tasks and capabilities. When discussing the PaLM 2 family, it is important to distinguish between pre-trained models (of various sizes), fine-tuned variants of these models, and the user-facing products that use these models. In particular, user-facing products typically include additional pre- and post-processing steps. Additionally, the underlying models may evolve over time. Therefore, one should not expect the performance of user-facing products to exactly match the results reported in this report.
Large, multilingual language models exhibit surprisingly good zero- or few-shot machine translation capabilities, despite having never seen the intentionally-included translation examples provided to typical neural translation systems. We investigate the role of incidental bilingualism -- the unintentional consumption of bilingual signals, including translation examples -- in explaining the translation capabilities of large language models, taking the Pathways Language Model (PaLM) as a case study. We introduce a mixed-method approach to measure and understand incidental bilingualism at scale. We show that PaLM is exposed to over 30 million translation pairs across at least 44 languages. Furthermore, the amount of incidental bilingual content is highly correlated with the amount of monolingual in-language content for non-English languages. We relate incidental bilingual content to zero-shot prompts and show that it can be used to mine new prompts to improve PaLM's out-of-English zero-shot translation quality. Finally, in a series of small-scale ablations, we show that its presence has a substantial impact on translation capabilities, although this impact diminishes with model scale.
We demonstrate the potential of few-shot translation systems, trained with unpaired language data, for both high and low-resource language pairs. We show that with only 5 examples of high-quality translation data shown at inference, a transformer decoder-only model trained solely with self-supervised learning, is able to match specialized supervised state-of-the-art models as well as more general commercial translation systems. In particular, we outperform the best performing system on the WMT'21 English - Chinese news translation task by only using five examples of English - Chinese parallel data at inference. Moreover, our approach in building these models does not necessitate joint multilingual training or back-translation, is conceptually simple and shows the potential to extend to the multilingual setting. Furthermore, the resulting models are two orders of magnitude smaller than state-of-the-art language models. We then analyze the factors which impact the performance of few-shot translation systems, and highlight that the quality of the few-shot demonstrations heavily determines the quality of the translations generated by our models. Finally, we show that the few-shot paradigm also provides a way to control certain attributes of the translation -- we show that we are able to control for regional varieties and formality using only a five examples at inference, paving the way towards controllable machine translation systems.
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.
We introduce XTREME-S, a new benchmark to evaluate universal cross-lingual speech representations in many languages. XTREME-S covers four task families: speech recognition, classification, speech-to-text translation and retrieval. Covering 102 languages from 10+ language families, 3 different domains and 4 task families, XTREME-S aims to simplify multilingual speech representation evaluation, as well as catalyze research in "universal" speech representation learning. This paper describes the new benchmark and establishes the first speech-only and speech-text baselines using XLS-R and mSLAM on all downstream tasks. We motivate the design choices and detail how to use the benchmark. Datasets and fine-tuning scripts are made easily accessible at https://hf.co/datasets/google/xtreme_s.
* Minor fix: language code for Filipino (Tagalog), "tg" -> "tl"
End-to-end speech-to-speech translation (S2ST) without relying on intermediate text representations is a rapidly emerging frontier of research. Recent works have demonstrated that the performance of such direct S2ST systems is approaching that of conventional cascade S2ST when trained on comparable datasets. However, in practice, the performance of direct S2ST is bounded by the availability of paired S2ST training data. In this work, we explore multiple approaches for leveraging much more widely available unsupervised and weakly-supervised speech and text data to improve the performance of direct S2ST based on Translatotron 2. With our most effective approaches, the average translation quality of direct S2ST on 21 language pairs on the CVSS-C corpus is improved by +13.6 BLEU (or +113% relatively), as compared to the previous state-of-the-art trained without additional data. The improvements on low-resource language are even more significant (+398% relatively on average). Our comparative studies suggest future research directions for S2ST and speech representation learning.
In this work, we study the effect of varying the architecture and training data quality on the data scaling properties of Neural Machine Translation (NMT). First, we establish that the test loss of encoder-decoder transformer models scales as a power law in the number of training samples, with a dependence on the model size. Then, we systematically vary aspects of the training setup to understand how they impact the data scaling laws. In particular, we change the following (1) Architecture and task setup: We compare to a transformer-LSTM hybrid, and a decoder-only transformer with a language modeling loss (2) Noise level in the training distribution: We experiment with filtering, and adding iid synthetic noise. In all the above cases, we find that the data scaling exponents are minimally impacted, suggesting that marginally worse architectures or training data can be compensated for by adding more data. Lastly, we find that using back-translated data instead of parallel data, can significantly degrade the scaling exponent.