The importance of qualitative parallel data in machine translation has long been determined but it has always been very difficult to obtain such in sufficient quantity for the majority of world languages, mainly because of the associated cost and also the lack of accessibility to these languages. Despite the potential for obtaining parallel datasets from online articles using automatic approaches, forensic investigations have found a lot of quality-related issues such as misalignment, and wrong language codes. In this work, we present a simple but qualitative parallel sentence aligner that carefully leveraged the closed-access Cohere multilingual embedding, a solution that ranked second in the just concluded #CoHereAIHack 2023 Challenge (see https://ai6lagos.devpost.com). The proposed approach achieved $94.96$ and $54.83$ f1 scores on FLORES and MAFAND-MT, compared to $3.64$ and $0.64$ of LASER respectively. Our method also achieved an improvement of more than 5 BLEU scores over LASER, when the resulting datasets were used with MAFAND-MT dataset to train translation models. Our code and data are available for research purposes here (https://github.com/abumafrim/Cohere-Align).
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).
This paper presents HaVQA, the first multimodal dataset for visual question-answering (VQA) tasks in the Hausa language. The dataset was created by manually translating 6,022 English question-answer pairs, which are associated with 1,555 unique images from the Visual Genome dataset. As a result, the dataset provides 12,044 gold standard English-Hausa parallel sentences that were translated in a fashion that guarantees their semantic match with the corresponding visual information. We conducted several baseline experiments on the dataset, including visual question answering, visual question elicitation, text-only and multimodal machine translation.
In this paper, we present MasakhaPOS, the largest part-of-speech (POS) dataset for 20 typologically diverse African languages. We discuss the challenges in annotating POS for these languages using the UD (universal dependencies) guidelines. We conducted extensive POS baseline experiments using conditional random field and several multilingual pre-trained language models. We applied various cross-lingual transfer models trained with data available in UD. Evaluating on the MasakhaPOS dataset, we show that choosing the best transfer language(s) in both single-source and multi-source setups greatly improves the POS tagging performance of the target languages, in particular when combined with cross-lingual parameter-efficient fine-tuning methods. Crucially, transferring knowledge from a language that matches the language family and morphosyntactic properties seems more effective for POS tagging in unseen languages.
We present the first Africentric SemEval Shared task, Sentiment Analysis for African Languages (AfriSenti-SemEval) - The dataset is available at https://github.com/afrisenti-semeval/afrisent-semeval-2023. AfriSenti-SemEval is a sentiment classification challenge in 14 African languages: Amharic, Algerian Arabic, Hausa, Igbo, Kinyarwanda, Moroccan Arabic, Mozambican Portuguese, Nigerian Pidgin, Oromo, Swahili, Tigrinya, Twi, Xitsonga, and Yor\`ub\'a (Muhammad et al., 2023), using data labeled with 3 sentiment classes. We present three subtasks: (1) Task A: monolingual classification, which received 44 submissions; (2) Task B: multilingual classification, which received 32 submissions; and (3) Task C: zero-shot classification, which received 34 submissions. The best performance for tasks A and B was achieved by NLNDE team with 71.31 and 75.06 weighted F1, respectively. UCAS-IIE-NLP achieved the best average score for task C with 58.15 weighted F1. We describe the various approaches adopted by the top 10 systems and their approaches.
We present the findings of our participation in the SemEval-2023 Task 10: Explainable Detection of Online Sexism (EDOS) task, a shared task on offensive language (sexism) detection on English Gab and Reddit dataset. We investigated the effects of transferring two language models: XLM-T (sentiment classification) and HateBERT (same domain -- Reddit) for multi-level classification into Sexist or not Sexist, and other subsequent sub-classifications of the sexist data. We also use synthetic classification of unlabelled dataset and intermediary class information to maximize the performance of our models. We submitted a system in Task A, and it ranked 49th with F1-score of 0.82. This result showed to be competitive as it only under-performed the best system by 0.052% F1-score.
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.
Africa is home to over 2000 languages from over six language families and has the highest linguistic diversity among all continents. This includes 75 languages with at least one million speakers each. Yet, there is little NLP research conducted on African languages. Crucial in enabling such research is the availability of high-quality annotated datasets. In this paper, we introduce AfriSenti, which consists of 14 sentiment datasets of 110,000+ tweets in 14 African languages (Amharic, Algerian Arabic, Hausa, Igbo, Kinyarwanda, Moroccan Arabic, Mozambican Portuguese, Nigerian Pidgin, Oromo, Swahili, Tigrinya, Twi, Xitsonga, and Yor\`ub\'a) from four language families annotated by native speakers. The data is used in SemEval 2023 Task 12, the first Afro-centric SemEval shared task. We describe the data collection methodology, annotation process, and related challenges when curating each of the datasets. We conduct experiments with different sentiment classification baselines and discuss their usefulness. We hope AfriSenti enables new work on under-represented languages. The dataset is available at https://github.com/afrisenti-semeval/afrisent-semeval-2023 and can also be loaded as a huggingface datasets (https://huggingface.co/datasets/shmuhammad/AfriSenti).
Social media platforms allow users to freely share their opinions about issues or anything they feel like. However, they also make it easier to spread hate and abusive content. The Fulani ethnic group has been the victim of this unfortunate phenomenon. This paper introduces the HERDPhobia - the first annotated hate speech dataset on Fulani herders in Nigeria - in three languages: English, Nigerian-Pidgin, and Hausa. We present a benchmark experiment using pre-trained languages models to classify the tweets as either hateful or non-hateful. Our experiment shows that the XML-T model provides better performance with 99.83% weighted F1. We released the dataset at https://github.com/hausanlp/HERDPhobia for further research.