Word alignment over parallel corpora has a wide variety of applications, including learning translation lexicons, cross-lingual transfer of language processing tools, and automatic evaluation or analysis of translation outputs. The great majority of past work on word alignment has worked by performing unsupervised learning on parallel texts. Recently, however, other work has demonstrated that pre-trained contextualized word embeddings derived from multilingually trained language models (LMs) prove an attractive alternative, achieving competitive results on the word alignment task even in the absence of explicit training on parallel data. In this paper, we examine methods to marry the two approaches: leveraging pre-trained LMs but fine-tuning them on parallel text with objectives designed to improve alignment quality, and proposing methods to effectively extract alignments from these fine-tuned models. We perform experiments on five language pairs and demonstrate that our model can consistently outperform previous state-of-the-art models of all varieties. In addition, we demonstrate that we are able to train multilingual word aligners that can obtain robust performance on different language pairs. Our aligner, AWESOME (Aligning Word Embedding Spaces of Multilingual Encoders), with pre-trained models is available at https://github.com/neulab/awesome-align

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Fine-tuning pre-trained language models (PLMs) has demonstrated its effectiveness on various downstream NLP tasks recently. However, in many low-resource scenarios, the conventional fine-tuning strategies cannot sufficiently capture the important semantic features for downstream tasks. To address this issue, we introduce a novel framework (named "CSS-LM") to improve the fine-tuning phase of PLMs via contrastive semi-supervised learning. Specifically, given a specific task, we retrieve positive and negative instances from large-scale unlabeled corpora according to their domain-level and class-level semantic relatedness to the task. We then perform contrastive semi-supervised learning on both the retrieved unlabeled and original labeled instances to help PLMs capture crucial task-related semantic features. The experimental results show that CSS-LM achieves better results than the conventional fine-tuning strategy on a series of downstream tasks with few-shot settings, and outperforms the latest supervised contrastive fine-tuning strategies. Our datasets and source code will be available to provide more details.

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In neural network-based models for natural language processing (NLP), the largest part of the parameters often consists of word embeddings. Conventional models prepare a large embedding matrix whose size depends on the vocabulary size. Therefore, storing these models in memory and disk storage is costly. In this study, to reduce the total number of parameters, the embeddings for all words are represented by transforming a shared embedding. The proposed method, ALONE (all word embeddings from one), constructs the embedding of a word by modifying the shared embedding with a filter vector, which is word-specific but non-trainable. Then, we input the constructed embedding into a feed-forward neural network to increase its expressiveness. Naively, the filter vectors occupy the same memory size as the conventional embedding matrix, which depends on the vocabulary size. To solve this issue, we also introduce a memory-efficient filter construction approach. We indicate our ALONE can be used as word representation sufficiently through an experiment on the reconstruction of pre-trained word embeddings. In addition, we also conduct experiments on NLP application tasks: machine translation and summarization. We combined ALONE with the current state-of-the-art encoder-decoder model, the Transformer, and achieved comparable scores on WMT 2014 English-to-German translation and DUC 2004 very short summarization with less parameters.

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Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) represents the latest incarnation of pretrained language models which have recently advanced a wide range of natural language processing tasks. In this paper, we showcase how BERT can be usefully applied in text summarization and propose a general framework for both extractive and abstractive models. We introduce a novel document-level encoder based on BERT which is able to express the semantics of a document and obtain representations for its sentences. Our extractive model is built on top of this encoder by stacking several inter-sentence Transformer layers. For abstractive summarization, we propose a new fine-tuning schedule which adopts different optimizers for the encoder and the decoder as a means of alleviating the mismatch between the two (the former is pretrained while the latter is not). We also demonstrate that a two-staged fine-tuning approach can further boost the quality of the generated summaries. Experiments on three datasets show that our model achieves state-of-the-art results across the board in both extractive and abstractive settings. Our code is available at https://github.com/nlpyang/PreSumm

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Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) has shown marvelous improvements across various NLP tasks. Recently, an upgraded version of BERT has been released with Whole Word Masking (WWM), which mitigate the drawbacks of masking partial WordPiece tokens in pre-training BERT. In this technical report, we adapt whole word masking in Chinese text, that masking the whole word instead of masking Chinese characters, which could bring another challenge in Masked Language Model (MLM) pre-training task. The model was trained on the latest Chinese Wikipedia dump. We aim to provide easy extensibility and better performance for Chinese BERT without changing any neural architecture or even hyper-parameters. The model is verified on various NLP tasks, across sentence-level to document-level, including sentiment classification (ChnSentiCorp, Sina Weibo), named entity recognition (People Daily, MSRA-NER), natural language inference (XNLI), sentence pair matching (LCQMC, BQ Corpus), and machine reading comprehension (CMRC 2018, DRCD, CAIL RC). Experimental results on these datasets show that the whole word masking could bring another significant gain. Moreover, we also examine the effectiveness of Chinese pre-trained models: BERT, ERNIE, BERT-wwm. We release the pre-trained model (both TensorFlow and PyTorch) on GitHub: https://github.com/ymcui/Chinese-BERT-wwm

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Pre-trained language model representations have been successful in a wide range of language understanding tasks. In this paper, we examine different strategies to integrate pre-trained representations into sequence to sequence models and apply it to neural machine translation and abstractive summarization. We find that pre-trained representations are most effective when added to the encoder network which slows inference by only 14%. Our experiments in machine translation show gains of up to 5.3 BLEU in a simulated resource-poor setup. While returns diminish with more labeled data, we still observe improvements when millions of sentence-pairs are available. Finally, on abstractive summarization we achieve a new state of the art on the full text version of CNN/DailyMail.

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Multilingual Word Embeddings (MWEs) represent words from multiple languages in a single distributional vector space. Unsupervised MWE (UMWE) methods acquire multilingual embeddings without cross-lingual supervision, which is a significant advantage over traditional supervised approaches and opens many new possibilities for low-resource languages. Prior art for learning UMWEs, however, merely relies on a number of independently trained Unsupervised Bilingual Word Embeddings (UBWEs) to obtain multilingual embeddings. These methods fail to leverage the interdependencies that exist among many languages. To address this shortcoming, we propose a fully unsupervised framework for learning MWEs that directly exploits the relations between all language pairs. Our model substantially outperforms previous approaches in the experiments on multilingual word translation and cross-lingual word similarity. In addition, our model even beats supervised approaches trained with cross-lingual resources.

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Despite impressive progress in high-resource settings, Neural Machine Translation (NMT) still struggles in low-resource and out-of-domain scenarios, often failing to match the quality of phrase-based translation. We propose a novel technique that combines back-translation and multilingual NMT to improve performance in these difficult cases. Our technique trains a single model for both directions of a language pair, allowing us to back-translate source or target monolingual data without requiring an auxiliary model. We then continue training on the augmented parallel data, enabling a cycle of improvement for a single model that can incorporate any source, target, or parallel data to improve both translation directions. As a byproduct, these models can reduce training and deployment costs significantly compared to uni-directional models. Extensive experiments show that our technique outperforms standard back-translation in low-resource scenarios, improves quality on cross-domain tasks, and effectively reduces costs across the board.

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Machine translation systems achieve near human-level performance on some languages, yet their effectiveness strongly relies on the availability of large amounts of bitexts, which hinders their applicability to the majority of language pairs. This work investigates how to learn to translate when having access to only large monolingual corpora in each language. We propose two model variants, a neural and a phrase-based model. Both versions leverage automatic generation of parallel data by backtranslating with a backward model operating in the other direction, and the denoising effect of a language model trained on the target side. These models are significantly better than methods from the literature, while being simpler and having fewer hyper-parameters. On the widely used WMT14 English-French and WMT16 German-English benchmarks, our models respectively obtain 27.1 and 23.6 BLEU points without using a single parallel sentence, outperforming the state of the art by more than 11 BLEU points.

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The performance of Neural Machine Translation (NMT) systems often suffers in low-resource scenarios where sufficiently large-scale parallel corpora cannot be obtained. Pre-trained word embeddings have proven to be invaluable for improving performance in natural language analysis tasks, which often suffer from paucity of data. However, their utility for NMT has not been extensively explored. In this work, we perform five sets of experiments that analyze when we can expect pre-trained word embeddings to help in NMT tasks. We show that such embeddings can be surprisingly effective in some cases -- providing gains of up to 20 BLEU points in the most favorable setting.

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State-of-the-art methods for learning cross-lingual word embeddings have relied on bilingual dictionaries or parallel corpora. Recent studies showed that the need for parallel data supervision can be alleviated with character-level information. While these methods showed encouraging results, they are not on par with their supervised counterparts and are limited to pairs of languages sharing a common alphabet. In this work, we show that we can build a bilingual dictionary between two languages without using any parallel corpora, by aligning monolingual word embedding spaces in an unsupervised way. Without using any character information, our model even outperforms existing supervised methods on cross-lingual tasks for some language pairs. Our experiments demonstrate that our method works very well also for distant language pairs, like English-Russian or English-Chinese. We finally describe experiments on the English-Esperanto low-resource language pair, on which there only exists a limited amount of parallel data, to show the potential impact of our method in fully unsupervised machine translation. Our code, embeddings and dictionaries are publicly available.

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