Unsupervised neural machine translation (NMT) is a recently proposed approach for machine translation which aims to train the model without using any labeled data. The models proposed for unsupervised NMT often use only one shared encoder to map the pairs of sentences from different languages to a shared-latent space, which is weak in keeping the unique and internal characteristics of each language, such as the style, terminology, and sentence structure. To address this issue, we introduce an extension by utilizing two independent encoders but sharing some partial weights which are responsible for extracting high-level representations of the input sentences. Besides, two different generative adversarial networks (GANs), namely the local GAN and global GAN, are proposed to enhance the cross-language translation. With this new approach, we achieve significant improvements on English-German, English-French and Chinese-to-English translation tasks.
Machine translation systems achieve near human-level performance on some languages, yet their effectiveness strongly relies on the availability of large amounts of parallel sentences, 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 a careful initialization of the parameters, the denoising effect of language models and automatic generation of parallel data by iterative back-translation. These models are significantly better than methods from the literature, while being simpler and having fewer hyper-parameters. On the widely used WMT'14 English-French and WMT'16 German-English benchmarks, our models respectively obtain 28.1 and 25.2 BLEU points without using a single parallel sentence, outperforming the state of the art by more than 11 BLEU points. On low-resource languages like English-Urdu and English-Romanian, our methods achieve even better results than semi-supervised and supervised approaches leveraging the paucity of available bitexts. Our code for NMT and PBSMT is publicly available.
Multi-source translation is an approach to exploit multiple inputs (e.g. in two different languages) to increase translation accuracy. In this paper, we examine approaches for multi-source neural machine translation (NMT) using an incomplete multilingual corpus in which some translations are missing. In practice, many multilingual corpora are not complete due to the difficulty to provide translations in all of the relevant languages (for example, in TED talks, most English talks only have subtitles for a small portion of the languages that TED supports). Existing studies on multi-source translation did not explicitly handle such situations. This study focuses on the use of incomplete multilingual corpora in multi-encoder NMT and mixture of NMT experts and examines a very simple implementation where missing source translations are replaced by a special symbol <NULL>. These methods allow us to use incomplete corpora both at training time and test time. In experiments with real incomplete multilingual corpora of TED Talks, the multi-source NMT with the <NULL> tokens achieved higher translation accuracies measured by BLEU than those by any one-to-one NMT systems.
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.
Style transfer usually refers to the task of applying color and texture information from a specific style image to a given content image while preserving the structure of the latter. Here we tackle the more generic problem of semantic style transfer: given two unpaired collections of images, we aim to learn a mapping between the corpus-level style of each collection, while preserving semantic content shared across the two domains. We introduce XGAN ("Cross-GAN"), a dual adversarial autoencoder, which captures a shared representation of the common domain semantic content in an unsupervised way, while jointly learning the domain-to-domain image translations in both directions. We exploit ideas from the domain adaptation literature and define a semantic consistency loss which encourages the model to preserve semantics in the learned embedding space. We report promising qualitative results for the task of face-to-cartoon translation. The cartoon dataset we collected for this purpose is in the process of being released as a new benchmark for semantic style transfer.
Machine translation has recently achieved impressive performance thanks to recent advances in deep learning and the availability of large-scale parallel corpora. There have been numerous attempts to extend these successes to low-resource language pairs, yet requiring tens of thousands of parallel sentences. In this work, we take this research direction to the extreme and investigate whether it is possible to learn to translate even without any parallel data. We propose a model that takes sentences from monolingual corpora in two different languages and maps them into the same latent space. By learning to reconstruct in both languages from this shared feature space, the model effectively learns to translate without using any labeled data. We demonstrate our model on two widely used datasets and two language pairs, reporting BLEU scores of 32.8 and 15.1 on the Multi30k and WMT English-French datasets, without using even a single parallel sentence at training time.
This paper proposes an approach for applying GANs to NMT. We build a conditional sequence generative adversarial net which comprises of two adversarial sub models, a generator and a discriminator. The generator aims to generate sentences which are hard to be discriminated from human-translated sentences (i.e., the golden target sentences), And the discriminator makes efforts to discriminate the machine-generated sentences from human-translated ones. The two sub models play a mini-max game and achieve the win-win situation when they reach a Nash Equilibrium. Additionally, the static sentence-level BLEU is utilized as the reinforced objective for the generator, which biases the generation towards high BLEU points. During training, both the dynamic discriminator and the static BLEU objective are employed to evaluate the generated sentences and feedback the evaluations to guide the learning of the generator. Experimental results show that the proposed model consistently outperforms the traditional RNNSearch and the newly emerged state-of-the-art Transformer on English-German and Chinese-English translation tasks.
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.
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.
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.