We incorporate an explicit neural interlingua into a multilingual encoder-decoder neural machine translation (NMT) architecture. We demonstrate that our model learns a language-independent representation by performing direct zero-shot translation (without using pivot translation), and by using the source sentence embeddings to create an English Yelp review classifier that, through the mediation of the neural interlingua, can also classify French and German reviews. Furthermore, we show that, despite using a smaller number of parameters than a pairwise collection of bilingual NMT models, our approach produces comparable BLEU scores for each language pair in WMT15.
We describe a prototype dialogue response generation model for the customer service domain at Amazon. The model, which is trained in a weakly supervised fashion, measures the similarity between customer questions and agent answers using a dual encoder network, a Siamese-like neural network architecture. Answer templates are extracted from embeddings derived from past agent answers, without turn-by-turn annotations. Responses to customer inquiries are generated by selecting the best template from the final set of templates. We show that, in a closed domain like customer service, the selected templates cover $>$70\% of past customer inquiries. Furthermore, the relevance of the model-selected templates is significantly higher than templates selected by a standard tf-idf baseline.