Statistical language models conventionally implement representation learning based on the contextual distribution of words or other formal units, whereas any information related to the logographic features of written text are often ignored, assuming they should be retrieved relying on the cooccurence statistics. On the other hand, as language models become larger and require more data to learn reliable representations, such assumptions may start to fall back, especially under conditions of data sparsity. Many languages, including Chinese and Vietnamese, use logographic writing systems where surface forms are represented as a visual organization of smaller graphemic units, which often contain many semantic cues. In this paper, we present a novel study which explores the benefits of providing language models with logographic information in learning better semantic representations. We test our hypothesis in the natural language inference (NLI) task by evaluating the benefit of computing multi-modal representations that combine contextual information with glyph information. Our evaluation results in six languages with different typology and writing systems suggest significant benefits of using multi-modal embeddings in languages with logograhic systems, especially for words with less occurence statistics.
The Universal Morphology (UniMorph) project is a collaborative effort providing broad-coverage instantiated normalized morphological inflection tables for hundreds of diverse world languages. The project comprises two major thrusts: a language-independent feature schema for rich morphological annotation and a type-level resource of annotated data in diverse languages realizing that schema. This paper presents the expansions and improvements made on several fronts over the last couple of years (since McCarthy et al. (2020)). Collaborative efforts by numerous linguists have added 67 new languages, including 30 endangered languages. We have implemented several improvements to the extraction pipeline to tackle some issues, e.g. missing gender and macron information. We have also amended the schema to use a hierarchical structure that is needed for morphological phenomena like multiple-argument agreement and case stacking, while adding some missing morphological features to make the schema more inclusive. In light of the last UniMorph release, we also augmented the database with morpheme segmentation for 16 languages. Lastly, this new release makes a push towards inclusion of derivational morphology in UniMorph by enriching the data and annotation schema with instances representing derivational processes from MorphyNet.
Theoretical work in morphological typology offers the possibility of measuring morphological diversity on a continuous scale. However, literature in Natural Language Processing (NLP) typically labels a whole language with a strict type of morphology, e.g. fusional or agglutinative. In this work, we propose to reduce the rigidity of such claims, by quantifying morphological typology at the word and segment level. We consider Payne (2017)'s approach to classify morphology using two indices: synthesis (e.g. analytic to polysynthetic) and fusion (agglutinative to fusional). For computing synthesis, we test unsupervised and supervised morphological segmentation methods for English, German and Turkish, whereas for fusion, we propose a semi-automatic method using Spanish as a case study. Then, we analyse the relationship between machine translation quality and the degree of synthesis and fusion at word (nouns and verbs for English-Turkish, and verbs in English-Spanish) and segment level (previous language pairs plus English-German in both directions). We complement the word-level analysis with human evaluation, and overall, we observe a consistent impact of both indexes on machine translation quality.
Despite the increasing number of large and comprehensive machine translation (MT) systems, evaluation of these methods in various languages has been restrained by the lack of high-quality parallel corpora as well as engagement with the people that speak these languages. In this study, we present an evaluation of state-of-the-art approaches to training and evaluating MT systems in 22 languages from the Turkic language family, most of which being extremely under-explored. First, we adopt the TIL Corpus with a few key improvements to the training and the evaluation sets. Then, we train 26 bilingual baselines as well as a multi-way neural MT (MNMT) model using the corpus and perform an extensive analysis using automatic metrics as well as human evaluations. We find that the MNMT model outperforms almost all bilingual baselines in the out-of-domain test sets and finetuning the model on a downstream task of a single pair also results in a huge performance boost in both low- and high-resource scenarios. Our attentive analysis of evaluation criteria for MT models in Turkic languages also points to the necessity for further research in this direction. We release the corpus splits, test sets as well as models to the public.
Recent advances in neural machine translation (NMT) have pushed the quality of machine translation systems to the point where they are becoming widely adopted to build competitive systems. However, there is still a large number of languages that are yet to reap the benefits of NMT. In this paper, we provide the first large-scale case study of the practical application of MT in the Turkic language family in order to realize the gains of NMT for Turkic languages under high-resource to extremely low-resource scenarios. In addition to presenting an extensive analysis that identifies the bottlenecks towards building competitive systems to ameliorate data scarcity, our study has several key contributions, including, i) a large parallel corpus covering 22 Turkic languages consisting of common public datasets in combination with new datasets of approximately 2 million parallel sentences, ii) bilingual baselines for 26 language pairs, iii) novel high-quality test sets in three different translation domains and iv) human evaluation scores. All models, scripts, and data will be released to the public.
Multimodal machine translation (MMT) systems have been shown to outperform their text-only neural machine translation (NMT) counterparts when visual context is available. However, recent studies have also shown that the performance of MMT models is only marginally impacted when the associated image is replaced with an unrelated image or noise, which suggests that the visual context might not be exploited by the model at all. We hypothesize that this might be caused by the nature of the commonly used evaluation benchmark, also known as Multi30K, where the translations of image captions were prepared without actually showing the images to human translators. In this paper, we present a qualitative study that examines the role of datasets in stimulating the leverage of visual modality and we propose methods to highlight the importance of visual signals in the datasets which demonstrate improvements in reliance of models on the source images. Our findings suggest the research on effective MMT architectures is currently impaired by the lack of suitable datasets and careful consideration must be taken in creation of future MMT datasets, for which we also provide useful insights.
With the success of large-scale pre-training and multilingual modeling in Natural Language Processing (NLP), recent years have seen a proliferation of large, web-mined text datasets covering hundreds of languages. However, to date there has been no systematic analysis of the quality of these publicly available datasets, or whether the datasets actually contain content in the languages they claim to represent. In this work, we manually audit the quality of 205 language-specific corpora released with five major public datasets (CCAligned, ParaCrawl, WikiMatrix, OSCAR, mC4), and audit the correctness of language codes in a sixth (JW300). We find that lower-resource corpora have systematic issues: at least 15 corpora are completely erroneous, and a significant fraction contains less than 50% sentences of acceptable quality. Similarly, we find 82 corpora that are mislabeled or use nonstandard/ambiguous language codes. We demonstrate that these issues are easy to detect even for non-speakers of the languages in question, and supplement the human judgements with automatic analyses. Inspired by our analysis, we recommend techniques to evaluate and improve multilingual corpora and discuss the risks that come with low-quality data releases.
Translation into morphologically-rich languages challenges neural machine translation (NMT) models with extremely sparse vocabularies where atomic treatment of surface forms is unrealistic. This problem is typically addressed by either pre-processing words into subword units or performing translation directly at the level of characters. The former is based on word segmentation algorithms optimized using corpus-level statistics with no regard to the translation task. The latter learns directly from translation data but requires rather deep architectures. In this paper, we propose to translate words by modeling word formation through a hierarchical latent variable model which mimics the process of morphological inflection. Our model generates words one character at a time by composing two latent representations: a continuous one, aimed at capturing the lexical semantics, and a set of (approximately) discrete features, aimed at capturing the morphosyntactic function, which are shared among different surface forms. Our model achieves better accuracy in translation into three morphologically-rich languages than conventional open-vocabulary NMT methods, while also demonstrating a better generalization capacity under low to mid-resource settings.
Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models generally perform translation using a fixed-size lexical vocabulary, which is an important bottleneck on their generalization capability and overall translation quality. The standard approach to overcome this limitation is to segment words into subword units, typically using some external tools with arbitrary heuristics, resulting in vocabulary units not optimized for the translation task. Recent studies have shown that the same approach can be extended to perform NMT directly at the level of characters, which can deliver translation accuracy on-par with subword-based models, on the other hand, this requires relatively deeper networks. In this paper, we propose a more computationally-efficient solution for character-level NMT which implements a hierarchical decoding architecture where translations are subsequently generated at the level of words and characters. We evaluate different methods for open-vocabulary NMT in the machine translation task from English into five languages with distinct morphological typology, and show that the hierarchical decoding model can reach higher translation accuracy than the subword-level NMT model using significantly fewer parameters, while demonstrating better capacity in learning longer-distance contextual and grammatical dependencies than the standard character-level NMT model.
We present a new open-source parallel corpus consisting of news articles collected from the Bianet magazine, an online newspaper that publishes Turkish news, often along with their translations in English and Kurdish. In this paper, we describe the collection process of the corpus and its statistical properties. We validate the benefit of using the Bianet corpus by evaluating bilingual and multilingual neural machine translation models in English-Turkish and English-Kurdish directions.