Controlled generation of text is of high practical use. Recent efforts have made impressive progress in generating or editing sentences with given textual attributes (e.g., sentiment). This work studies a new practical setting of text content manipulation. Given a structured record, such as `(PLAYER: Lebron, POINTS: 20, ASSISTS: 10)', and a reference sentence, such as `Kobe easily dropped 30 points', we aim to generate a sentence that accurately describes the full content in the record, with the same writing style (e.g., wording, transitions) of the reference. The problem is unsupervised due to lack of parallel data in practice, and is challenging to minimally yet effectively manipulate the text (by rewriting/adding/deleting text portions) to ensure fidelity to the structured content. We derive a dataset from a basketball game report corpus as our testbed, and develop a neural method with unsupervised competing objectives and explicit content coverage constraints. Automatic and human evaluations show superiority of our approach over competitive methods including a strong rule-based baseline and prior approaches designed for style transfer.

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