Pretrained language models (PLMs) form the basis of most state-of-the-art NLP technologies. Nevertheless, they are essentially black boxes: Humans do not have a clear understanding of what knowledge is encoded in different parts of the models, especially in individual neurons. The situation is different in computer vision, where feature visualization provides a decompositional interpretability technique for neurons of vision models. Activation maximization is used to synthesize inherently interpretable visual representations of the information encoded in individual neurons. Our work is inspired by this but presents a cautionary tale on the interpretability of single neurons, based on the first large-scale attempt to adapt activation maximization to NLP, and, more specifically, large PLMs. We propose feature textualization, a technique to produce dense representations of neurons in the PLM word embedding space. We apply feature textualization to the BERT model (Devlin et al., 2019) to investigate whether the knowledge encoded in individual neurons can be interpreted and symbolized. We find that the produced representations can provide insights about the knowledge encoded in individual neurons, but that individual neurons do not represent clearcut symbolic units of language such as words. Additionally, we use feature textualization to investigate how many neurons are needed to encode words in BERT.
Translated texts exhibit systematic linguistic differences compared to original texts in the same language, and these differences are referred to as translationese. Translationese has effects on various cross-lingual natural language processing tasks, potentially leading to biased results. In this paper, we explore a novel approach to reduce translationese in translated texts: translation-based style transfer. As there are no parallel human-translated and original data in the same language, we use a self-supervised approach that can learn from comparable (rather than parallel) mono-lingual original and translated data. However, even this self-supervised approach requires some parallel data for validation. We show how we can eliminate the need for parallel validation data by combining the self-supervised loss with an unsupervised loss. This unsupervised loss leverages the original language model loss over the style-transferred output and a semantic similarity loss between the input and style-transferred output. We evaluate our approach in terms of original vs. translationese binary classification in addition to measuring content preservation and target-style fluency. The results show that our approach is able to reduce translationese classifier accuracy to a level of a random classifier after style transfer while adequately preserving the content and fluency in the target original style.
Recent work has shown evidence of 'Clever Hans' behavior in high-performance neural translationese classifiers, where BERT-based classifiers capitalize on spurious correlations, in particular topic information, between data and target classification labels, rather than genuine translationese signals. Translationese signals are subtle (especially for professional translation) and compete with many other signals in the data such as genre, style, author, and, in particular, topic. This raises the general question of how much of the performance of a classifier is really due to spurious correlations in the data versus the signals actually targeted for by the classifier, especially for subtle target signals and in challenging (low resource) data settings. We focus on topic-based spurious correlation and approach the question from two directions: (i) where we have no knowledge about spurious topic information and its distribution in the data, (ii) where we have some indication about the nature of spurious topic correlations. For (i) we develop a measure from first principles capturing alignment of unsupervised topics with target classification labels as an indication of spurious topic information in the data. We show that our measure is the same as purity in clustering and propose a 'topic floor' (as in a 'noise floor') for classification. For (ii) we investigate masking of known spurious topic carriers in classification. Both (i) and (ii) contribute to quantifying and (ii) to mitigating spurious correlations.
Despite recent advancements in speech recognition, there are still difficulties in accurately transcribing conversational and emotional speech in noisy and reverberant acoustic environments. This poses a particular challenge in the search and rescue (SAR) domain, where transcribing conversations among rescue team members is crucial to support real-time decision-making. The scarcity of speech data and associated background noise in SAR scenarios make it difficult to deploy robust speech recognition systems. To address this issue, we have created and made publicly available a German speech dataset called RescueSpeech. This dataset includes real speech recordings from simulated rescue exercises. Additionally, we have released competitive training recipes and pre-trained models. Our study indicates that the current level of performance achieved by state-of-the-art methods is still far from being acceptable.
Existing approaches for unsupervised bilingual lexicon induction (BLI) often depend on good quality static or contextual embeddings trained on large monolingual corpora for both languages. In reality, however, unsupervised BLI is most likely to be useful for dialects and languages that do not have abundant amounts of monolingual data. We introduce a simple and fast method for unsupervised BLI for low-resource languages with a related mid-to-high resource language, only requiring inference on the higher-resource language monolingual BERT. We work with two low-resource languages ($<5M$ monolingual tokens), Bhojpuri and Magahi, of the severely under-researched Indic dialect continuum, showing that state-of-the-art methods in the literature show near-zero performance in these settings, and that our simpler method gives much better results. We repeat our experiments on Marathi and Nepali, two higher-resource Indic languages, to compare approach performances by resource range. We release automatically created bilingual lexicons for the first time for five languages of the Indic dialect continuum.
Dense vector representations for textual data are crucial in modern NLP. Word embeddings and sentence embeddings estimated from raw texts are key in achieving state-of-the-art results in various tasks requiring semantic understanding. However, obtaining embeddings at the document level is challenging due to computational requirements and lack of appropriate data. Instead, most approaches fall back on computing document embeddings based on sentence representations. Although there exist architectures and models to encode documents fully, they are in general limited to English and few other high-resourced languages. In this work, we provide a systematic comparison of methods to produce document-level representations from sentences based on LASER, LaBSE, and Sentence BERT pre-trained multilingual models. We compare input token number truncation, sentence averaging as well as some simple windowing and in some cases new augmented and learnable approaches, on 3 multi- and cross-lingual tasks in 8 languages belonging to 3 different language families. Our task-based extrinsic evaluations show that, independently of the language, a clever combination of sentence embeddings is usually better than encoding the full document as a single unit, even when this is possible. We demonstrate that while a simple sentence average results in a strong baseline for classification tasks, more complex combinations are necessary for semantic tasks.
Document-level neural machine translation (NMT) has outperformed sentence-level NMT on a number of datasets. However, document-level NMT is still not widely adopted in real-world translation systems mainly due to the lack of large-scale general-domain training data for document-level NMT. We examine the effectiveness of using Paracrawl for learning document-level translation. Paracrawl is a large-scale parallel corpus crawled from the Internet and contains data from various domains. The official Paracrawl corpus was released as parallel sentences (extracted from parallel webpages) and therefore previous works only used Paracrawl for learning sentence-level translation. In this work, we extract parallel paragraphs from Paracrawl parallel webpages using automatic sentence alignments and we use the extracted parallel paragraphs as parallel documents for training document-level translation models. We show that document-level NMT models trained with only parallel paragraphs from Paracrawl can be used to translate real documents from TED, News and Europarl, outperforming sentence-level NMT models. We also perform a targeted pronoun evaluation and show that document-level models trained with Paracrawl data can help context-aware pronoun translation.
Hybrid tabular-textual question answering (QA) requires reasoning from heterogeneous information, and the types of reasoning are mainly divided into numerical reasoning and span extraction. Despite being the main challenge of the task compared to extractive QA, current numerical reasoning method simply uses LSTM to autoregressively decode program sequences, and each decoding step produces either an operator or an operand. However, the step-by-step decoding suffers from exposure bias, and the accuracy of program generation drops sharply with progressive decoding. In this paper, we propose a non-autoregressive program generation framework, which facilitates program generation in parallel. Our framework, which independently generates complete program tuples containing both operators and operands, can significantly boost the speed of program generation while addressing the error accumulation issue. Our experiments on the MultiHiertt dataset shows that our model can bring about large improvements (+7.97 EM and +6.38 F1 points) over the strong baseline, establishing the new state-of-the-art performance, while being much faster (21x) in program generation. The performance drop of our method is also significantly smaller than the baseline with increasing numbers of numerical reasoning steps.
Recent work has shown that neural feature- and representation-learning, e.g. BERT, achieves superior performance over traditional manual feature engineering based approaches, with e.g. SVMs, in translationese classification tasks. Previous research did not show $(i)$ whether the difference is because of the features, the classifiers or both, and $(ii)$ what the neural classifiers actually learn. To address $(i)$, we carefully design experiments that swap features between BERT- and SVM-based classifiers. We show that an SVM fed with BERT representations performs at the level of the best BERT classifiers, while BERT learning and using handcrafted features performs at the level of an SVM using handcrafted features. This shows that the performance differences are due to the features. To address $(ii)$ we use integrated gradients and find that $(a)$ there is indication that information captured by hand-crafted features is only a subset of what BERT learns, and $(b)$ part of BERT's top performance results are due to BERT learning topic differences and spurious correlations with translationese.
Recent research on style transfer takes inspiration from unsupervised neural machine translation (UNMT), learning from large amounts of non-parallel data by exploiting cycle consistency loss, back-translation, and denoising autoencoders. By contrast, the use of self-supervised NMT (SSNMT), which leverages (near) parallel instances hidden in non-parallel data more efficiently than UNMT, has not yet been explored for style transfer. In this paper we present a novel Self-Supervised Style Transfer (3ST) model, which augments SSNMT with UNMT methods in order to identify and efficiently exploit supervisory signals in non-parallel social media posts. We compare 3ST with state-of-the-art (SOTA) style transfer models across civil rephrasing, formality and polarity tasks. We show that 3ST is able to balance the three major objectives (fluency, content preservation, attribute transfer accuracy) the best, outperforming SOTA models on averaged performance across their tested tasks in automatic and human evaluation.