Attribute-controlled translation (ACT) is a subtask of machine translation that involves controlling stylistic or linguistic attributes (like formality and gender) of translation outputs. While ACT has garnered attention in recent years due to its usefulness in real-world applications, progress in the task is currently limited by dataset availability, since most prior approaches rely on supervised methods. To address this limitation, we propose Retrieval and Attribute-Marking enhanced Prompting (RAMP), which leverages large multilingual language models to perform ACT in few-shot and zero-shot settings. RAMP improves generation accuracy over the standard prompting approach by (1) incorporating a semantic similarity retrieval component for selecting similar in-context examples, and (2) marking in-context examples with attribute annotations. Our comprehensive experiments show that RAMP is a viable approach in both zero-shot and few-shot settings.
Like many other machine learning applications, neural machine translation (NMT) benefits from over-parameterized deep neural models. However, these models have been observed to be brittle: NMT model predictions are sensitive to small input changes and can show significant variation across re-training or incremental model updates. This work studies a frequently used method in NMT, pseudo-label training (PLT), which is common to the related techniques of forward-translation (or self-training) and sequence-level knowledge distillation. While the effect of PLT on quality is well-documented, we highlight a lesser-known effect: PLT can enhance a model's stability to model updates and input perturbations, a set of properties we call model inertia. We study inertia effects under different training settings and we identify distribution simplification as a mechanism behind the observed results.
As generic machine translation (MT) quality has improved, the need for targeted benchmarks that explore fine-grained aspects of quality has increased. In particular, gender accuracy in translation can have implications in terms of output fluency, translation accuracy, and ethics. In this paper, we introduce MT-GenEval, a benchmark for evaluating gender accuracy in translation from English into eight widely-spoken languages. MT-GenEval complements existing benchmarks by providing realistic, gender-balanced, counterfactual data in eight language pairs where the gender of individuals is unambiguous in the input segment, including multi-sentence segments requiring inter-sentential gender agreement. Our data and code is publicly available under a CC BY SA 3.0 license.
Sockeye 3 is the latest version of the Sockeye toolkit for Neural Machine Translation (NMT). Now based on PyTorch, Sockeye 3 provides faster model implementations and more advanced features with a further streamlined codebase. This enables broader experimentation with faster iteration, efficient training of stronger and faster models, and the flexibility to move new ideas quickly from research to production. When running comparable models, Sockeye 3 is up to 126% faster than other PyTorch implementations on GPUs and up to 292% faster on CPUs. Sockeye 3 is open source software released under the Apache 2.0 license.
The machine translation (MT) task is typically formulated as that of returning a single translation for an input segment. However, in many cases, multiple different translations are valid and the appropriate translation may depend on the intended target audience, characteristics of the speaker, or even the relationship between speakers. Specific problems arise when dealing with honorifics, particularly translating from English into languages with formality markers. For example, the sentence "Are you sure?" can be translated in German as "Sind Sie sich sicher?" (formal register) or "Bist du dir sicher?" (informal). Using wrong or inconsistent tone may be perceived as inappropriate or jarring for users of certain cultures and demographics. This work addresses the problem of learning to control target language attributes, in this case formality, from a small amount of labeled contrastive data. We introduce an annotated dataset (CoCoA-MT) and an associated evaluation metric for training and evaluating formality-controlled MT models for six diverse target languages. We show that we can train formality-controlled models by fine-tuning on labeled contrastive data, achieving high accuracy (82% in-domain and 73% out-of-domain) while maintaining overall quality.
The training data used in NMT is rarely controlled with respect to specific attributes, such as word casing or gender, which can cause errors in translations. We argue that predicting the target word and attributes simultaneously is an effective way to ensure that translations are more faithful to the training data distribution with respect to these attributes. Experimental results on two tasks, uppercased input translation and gender prediction, show that this strategy helps mirror the training data distribution in testing. It also facilitates data augmentation on the task of uppercased input translation.
While Iterative Back-Translation and Dual Learning effectively incorporate monolingual training data in neural machine translation, they use different objectives and heuristic gradient approximation strategies, and have not been extensively compared. We introduce a novel dual reconstruction objective that provides a unified view of Iterative Back-Translation and Dual Learning. It motivates a theoretical analysis and controlled empirical study on German-English and Turkish-English tasks, which both suggest that Iterative Back-Translation is more effective than Dual Learning despite its relative simplicity.
We present Sockeye 2, a modernized and streamlined version of the Sockeye neural machine translation (NMT) toolkit. New features include a simplified code base through the use of MXNet's Gluon API, a focus on state of the art model architectures, distributed mixed precision training, and efficient CPU decoding with 8-bit quantization. These improvements result in faster training and inference, higher automatic metric scores, and a shorter path from research to production.
Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models are sensitive to small perturbations in the input. Robustness to such perturbations is typically measured using translation quality metrics such as BLEU on the noisy input. This paper proposes additional metrics which measure the relative degradation and changes in translation when small perturbations are added to the input. We focus on a class of models employing subword regularization to address robustness and perform extensive evaluations of these models using the robustness measures proposed. Results show that our proposed metrics reveal a clear trend of improved robustness to perturbations when subword regularization methods are used.
This work aims to produce translations that convey source language content at a formality level that is appropriate for a particular audience. Framing this problem as a neural sequence-to-sequence task ideally requires training triplets consisting of a bilingual sentence pair labeled with target language formality. However, in practice, available training examples are limited to English sentence pairs of different styles, and bilingual parallel sentences of unknown formality. We introduce a novel training scheme for multi-task models that automatically generates synthetic training triplets by inferring the missing element on the fly, thus enabling end-to-end training. Comprehensive automatic and human assessments show that our best model outperforms existing models by producing translations that better match desired formality levels while preserving the source meaning.