Despite the progress we have recorded in scaling multilingual machine translation (MT) models and evaluation data to several under-resourced African languages, it is difficult to measure accurately the progress we have made on these languages because evaluation is often performed on n-gram matching metrics like BLEU that often have worse correlation with human judgments. Embedding-based metrics such as COMET correlate better; however, lack of evaluation data with human ratings for under-resourced languages, complexity of annotation guidelines like Multidimensional Quality Metrics (MQM), and limited language coverage of multilingual encoders have hampered their applicability to African languages. In this paper, we address these challenges by creating high-quality human evaluation data with a simplified MQM guideline for error-span annotation and direct assessment (DA) scoring for 13 typologically diverse African languages. Furthermore, we develop AfriCOMET, a COMET evaluation metric for African languages by leveraging DA training data from high-resource languages and African-centric multilingual encoder (AfroXLM-Roberta) to create the state-of-the-art evaluation metric for African languages MT with respect to Spearman-rank correlation with human judgments (+0.406).
Using the generative nature of a language model to generate task-relevant separators has shown competitive results compared to human-curated prompts like "TL;DR". We demonstrate that even randomly chosen tokens from the vocabulary as separators can achieve near-state-of-the-art performance. We analyse this phenomenon in detail using three different random generation strategies, establishing that the language space is rich with potential good separators, regardless of the underlying language model size. These observations challenge the common assumption that an effective prompt should be human-readable or task-relevant. Experimental results show that using random separators leads to an average 16% relative improvement across nine text classification tasks on seven language models, compared to human-curated separators, and is on par with automatic prompt searching methods.
Recent advancements in natural language processing have led to the proliferation of large language models (LLMs). These models have been shown to yield good performance, using in-context learning, even on unseen tasks and languages. Additionally, they have been widely adopted as language-model-as-a-service commercial APIs like GPT-4 API. However, their performance on African languages is largely unknown. We present an analysis of three popular large language models (mT0, LLaMa 2, and GPT-4) on five tasks (news topic classification, sentiment classification, machine translation, question answering, and named entity recognition) across 30 African languages, spanning different language families and geographical regions. Our results suggest that all LLMs produce below-par performance on African languages, and there is a large gap in performance compared to high-resource languages like English most tasks. We find that GPT-4 has an average or impressive performance on classification tasks but very poor results on generative tasks like machine translation. Surprisingly, we find that mT0 had the best overall on cross-lingual QA, better than the state-of-the-art supervised model (i.e. fine-tuned mT5) and GPT-4 on African languages. Overall, LLaMa 2 records the worst performance due to its limited multilingual capabilities and English-centric pre-training corpus. In general, our findings present a call-to-action to ensure African languages are well represented in large language models, given their growing popularity.
Recent studies have demonstrated that large language models (LLMs) excel in diverse tasks through in-context learning (ICL) facilitated by task-specific prompts and examples. However, the existing literature shows that ICL encounters performance deterioration when exposed to adversarial inputs. Enhanced performance has been observed when ICL is augmented with natural language explanations (NLEs) (we refer to it as X-ICL). Thus, this work investigates whether X-ICL can improve the robustness of LLMs on a suite of seven adversarial and challenging natural language inference datasets. Moreover, we introduce a new approach to X-ICL by prompting an LLM (ChatGPT in our case) with few human-generated NLEs to produce further NLEs (we call it ChatGPT few-shot), which we show superior to both ChatGPT zero-shot and human-generated NLEs alone. We evaluate five popular LLMs (GPT3.5-turbo, LLaMa2, Vicuna, Zephyr, Mistral) and show that X-ICL with ChatGPT few-shot yields over 6% improvement over ICL. Furthermore, while prompt selection strategies were previously shown to significantly improve ICL on in-distribution test sets, we show that these strategies do not match the efficacy of the X-ICL paradigm in robustness-oriented evaluations.
Decoder-only Large Language Models (LLMs) have demonstrated potential in machine translation (MT), albeit with performance slightly lagging behind traditional encoder-decoder Neural Machine Translation (NMT) systems. However, LLMs offer a unique advantage: the ability to control the properties of the output through prompts. In this study, we harness this flexibility to explore LLaMa's capability to produce gender-specific translations for languages with grammatical gender. Our results indicate that LLaMa can generate gender-specific translations with competitive accuracy and gender bias mitigation when compared to NLLB, a state-of-the-art multilingual NMT system. Furthermore, our experiments reveal that LLaMa's translations are robust, showing significant performance drops when evaluated against opposite-gender references in gender-ambiguous datasets but maintaining consistency in less ambiguous contexts. This research provides insights into the potential and challenges of using LLMs for gender-specific translations and highlights the importance of in-context learning to elicit new tasks in LLMs.
Pretrained language models (PLMs) are today the primary model for natural language processing. Despite their impressive downstream performance, it can be difficult to apply PLMs to new languages, a barrier to making their capabilities universally accessible. While prior work has shown it possible to address this issue by learning a new embedding layer for the new language, doing so is both data and compute inefficient. We propose to use an active forgetting mechanism during pretraining, as a simple way of creating PLMs that can quickly adapt to new languages. Concretely, by resetting the embedding layer every K updates during pretraining, we encourage the PLM to improve its ability of learning new embeddings within a limited number of updates, similar to a meta-learning effect. Experiments with RoBERTa show that models pretrained with our forgetting mechanism not only demonstrate faster convergence during language adaptation but also outperform standard ones in a low-data regime, particularly for languages that are distant from English.
Non-parametric, k-nearest-neighbor algorithms have recently made inroads to assist generative models such as language models and machine translation decoders. We explore whether such non-parametric models can improve machine translation models at the fine-tuning stage by incorporating statistics from the kNN predictions to inform the gradient updates for a baseline translation model. There are multiple methods which could be used to incorporate kNN statistics and we investigate gradient scaling by a gating mechanism, the kNN's ground truth probability, and reinforcement learning. For four standard in-domain machine translation datasets, compared with classic fine-tuning, we report consistent improvements of all of the three methods by as much as 1.45 BLEU and 1.28 BLEU for German-English and English-German translations respectively. Through qualitative analysis, we found particular improvements when it comes to translating grammatical relations or function words, which results in increased fluency of our model.
The burgeoning progress in the field of Large Language Models (LLMs) heralds significant benefits due to their unparalleled capacities. However, it is critical to acknowledge the potential misuse of these models, which could give rise to a spectrum of social and ethical dilemmas. Despite numerous preceding efforts centered around distinguishing synthetic text, most existing detection systems fail to identify data synthesized by the latest LLMs, such as ChatGPT and GPT-4. In response to this challenge, we introduce an unpretentious yet potent detection approach proficient in identifying synthetic text across a wide array of fields. Moreover, our detector demonstrates outstanding performance uniformly across various model architectures and decoding strategies. It also possesses the capability to identify text generated utilizing a potent detection-evasion technique. Our comprehensive research underlines our commitment to boosting the robustness and efficiency of machine-generated text detection mechanisms, particularly in the context of swiftly progressing and increasingly adaptive AI technologies.
African languages are severely under-represented in NLP research due to lack of datasets covering several NLP tasks. While there are individual language specific datasets that are being expanded to different tasks, only a handful of NLP tasks (e.g. named entity recognition and machine translation) have standardized benchmark datasets covering several geographical and typologically-diverse African languages. In this paper, we develop MasakhaNEWS -- a new benchmark dataset for news topic classification covering 16 languages widely spoken in Africa. We provide an evaluation of baseline models by training classical machine learning models and fine-tuning several language models. Furthermore, we explore several alternatives to full fine-tuning of language models that are better suited for zero-shot and few-shot learning such as cross-lingual parameter-efficient fine-tuning (like MAD-X), pattern exploiting training (PET), prompting language models (like ChatGPT), and prompt-free sentence transformer fine-tuning (SetFit and Cohere Embedding API). Our evaluation in zero-shot setting shows the potential of prompting ChatGPT for news topic classification in low-resource African languages, achieving an average performance of 70 F1 points without leveraging additional supervision like MAD-X. In few-shot setting, we show that with as little as 10 examples per label, we achieved more than 90\% (i.e. 86.0 F1 points) of the performance of full supervised training (92.6 F1 points) leveraging the PET approach.
* Accepted to AfricaNLP Workshop @ICLR 2023 (non-archival)
Multi-hop QA (Question Answering) is the task of finding the answer to a question across multiple documents. In recent years, a number of Deep Learning-based approaches have been proposed to tackle this complex task, as well as a few standard benchmarks to assess models Multi-hop QA capabilities. In this paper, we focus on the well-established HotpotQA benchmark dataset, which requires models to perform answer span extraction as well as support sentence prediction. We present two extensions to the SOTA Graph Neural Network (GNN) based model for HotpotQA, Hierarchical Graph Network (HGN): (i) we complete the original hierarchical structure by introducing new edges between the query and context sentence nodes; (ii) in the graph propagation step, we propose a novel extension to Hierarchical Graph Attention Network GATH (Graph ATtention with Hierarchies) that makes use of the graph hierarchy to update the node representations in a sequential fashion. Experiments on HotpotQA demonstrate the efficiency of the proposed modifications and support our assumptions about the effects of model related variables.