The word order between source and target languages significantly influences the translation quality in machine translation. Preordering can effectively address this problem. Previous preordering methods require a manual feature design, making language dependent design costly. In this paper, we propose a preordering method with a recursive neural network that learns features from raw inputs. Experiments show that the proposed method achieves comparable gain in translation quality to the state-of-the-art method but without a manual feature design.
Neural machine translation (NMT) has a drawback in that can generate only high-frequency words owing to the computational costs of the softmax function in the output layer. In Japanese-English NMT, Japanese predicate conjugation causes an increase in vocabulary size. For example, one verb can have as many as 19 surface varieties. In this research, we focus on predicate conjugation for compressing the vocabulary size in Japanese. The vocabulary list is filled with the various forms of verbs. We propose methods using predicate conjugation information without discarding linguistic information. The proposed methods can generate low-frequency words and deal with unknown words. Two methods were considered to introduce conjugation information: the first considers it as a token (conjugation token) and the second considers it as an embedded vector (conjugation feature). The results using these methods demonstrate that the vocabulary size can be compressed by approximately 86.1% (Tanaka corpus) and the NMT models can output the words not in the training data set. Furthermore, BLEU scores improved by 0.91 points in Japanese-to-English translation, and 0.32 points in English-to-Japanese translation with ASPEC.
In NMT, words are sometimes dropped from the source or generated repeatedly in the translation. We explore novel strategies to address the coverage problem that change only the attention transformation. Our approach allocates fertilities to source words, used to bound the attention each word can receive. We experiment with various sparse and constrained attention transformations and propose a new one, constrained sparsemax, shown to be differentiable and sparse. Empirical evaluation is provided in three languages pairs.
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.
In this paper, we present Neural Phrase-based Machine Translation (NPMT). Our method explicitly models the phrase structures in output sequences using Sleep-WAke Networks (SWAN), a recently proposed segmentation-based sequence modeling method. To mitigate the monotonic alignment requirement of SWAN, we introduce a new layer to perform (soft) local reordering of input sequences. Different from existing neural machine translation (NMT) approaches, NPMT does not use attention-based decoding mechanisms. Instead, it directly outputs phrases in a sequential order and can decode in linear time. Our experiments show that NPMT achieves superior performances on IWSLT 2014 German-English/English-German and IWSLT 2015 English-Vietnamese machine translation tasks compared with strong NMT baselines. We also observe that our method produces meaningful phrases in output languages.
Recently, neural machine translation (NMT) has emerged as a powerful alternative to conventional statistical approaches. However, its performance drops considerably in the presence of morphologically rich languages (MRLs). Neural engines usually fail to tackle the large vocabulary and high out-of-vocabulary (OOV) word rate of MRLs. Therefore, it is not suitable to exploit existing word-based models to translate this set of languages. In this paper, we propose an extension to the state-of-the-art model of Chung et al. (2016), which works at the character level and boosts the decoder with target-side morphological information. In our architecture, an additional morphology table is plugged into the model. Each time the decoder samples from a target vocabulary, the table sends auxiliary signals from the most relevant affixes in order to enrich the decoder's current state and constrain it to provide better predictions. We evaluated our model to translate English into German, Russian, and Turkish as three MRLs and observed significant improvements.
Neural machine translation (NMT) has been a new paradigm in machine translation, and the attention mechanism has become the dominant approach with the state-of-the-art records in many language pairs. While there are variants of the attention mechanism, all of them use only temporal attention where one scalar value is assigned to one context vector corresponding to a source word. In this paper, we propose a fine-grained (or 2D) attention mechanism where each dimension of a context vector will receive a separate attention score. In experiments with the task of En-De and En-Fi translation, the fine-grained attention method improves the translation quality in terms of BLEU score. In addition, our alignment analysis reveals how the fine-grained attention mechanism exploits the internal structure of context vectors.
Monolingual data have been demonstrated to be helpful in improving translation quality of both statistical machine translation (SMT) systems and neural machine translation (NMT) systems, especially in resource-poor or domain adaptation tasks where parallel data are not rich enough. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to better leveraging monolingual data for neural machine translation by jointly learning source-to-target and target-to-source NMT models for a language pair with a joint EM optimization method. The training process starts with two initial NMT models pre-trained on parallel data for each direction, and these two models are iteratively updated by incrementally decreasing translation losses on training data. In each iteration step, both NMT models are first used to translate monolingual data from one language to the other, forming pseudo-training data of the other NMT model. Then two new NMT models are learnt from parallel data together with the pseudo training data. Both NMT models are expected to be improved and better pseudo-training data can be generated in next step. Experiment results on Chinese-English and English-German translation tasks show that our approach can simultaneously improve translation quality of source-to-target and target-to-source models, significantly outperforming strong baseline systems which are enhanced with monolingual data for model training including back-translation.
In spite of the recent success of neural machine translation (NMT) in standard benchmarks, the lack of large parallel corpora poses a major practical problem for many language pairs. There have been several proposals to alleviate this issue with, for instance, triangulation and semi-supervised learning techniques, but they still require a strong cross-lingual signal. In this work, we completely remove the need of parallel data and propose a novel method to train an NMT system in a completely unsupervised manner, relying on nothing but monolingual corpora. Our model builds upon the recent work on unsupervised embedding mappings, and consists of a slightly modified attentional encoder-decoder model that can be trained on monolingual corpora alone using a combination of denoising and backtranslation. Despite the simplicity of the approach, our system obtains 15.56 and 10.21 BLEU points in WMT 2014 French-to-English and German-to-English translation. The model can also profit from small parallel corpora, and attains 21.81 and 15.24 points when combined with 100,000 parallel sentences, respectively. Our implementation is released as an open source project.
Partially inspired by successful applications of variational recurrent neural networks, we propose a novel variational recurrent neural machine translation (VRNMT) model in this paper. Different from the variational NMT, VRNMT introduces a series of latent random variables to model the translation procedure of a sentence in a generative way, instead of a single latent variable. Specifically, the latent random variables are included into the hidden states of the NMT decoder with elements from the variational autoencoder. In this way, these variables are recurrently generated, which enables them to further capture strong and complex dependencies among the output translations at different timesteps. In order to deal with the challenges in performing efficient posterior inference and large-scale training during the incorporation of latent variables, we build a neural posterior approximator, and equip it with a reparameterization technique to estimate the variational lower bound. Experiments on Chinese-English and English-German translation tasks demonstrate that the proposed model achieves significant improvements over both the conventional and variational NMT models.
Neural machine translation (NMT) suffers a performance deficiency when a limited vocabulary fails to cover the source or target side adequately, which happens frequently when dealing with morphologically rich languages. To address this problem, previous work focused on adjusting translation granularity or expanding the vocabulary size. However, morphological information is relatively under-considered in NMT architectures, which may further improve translation quality. We propose a novel method, which can not only reduce data sparsity but also model morphology through a simple but effective mechanism. By predicting the stem and suffix separately during decoding, our system achieves an improvement of up to 1.98 BLEU compared with previous work on English to Russian translation. Our method is orthogonal to different NMT architectures and stably gains improvements on various domains.