Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Neural Generation and Translation

Alexandra Birch, Andrew Finch, Hiroaki Hayashi, Ioannis Konstas, Thang Luong, Graham Neubig, Yusuke Oda, Katsuhito Sudoh (Editors)

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Hong Kong
Association for Computational Linguistics
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Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Neural Generation and Translation
Alexandra Birch | Andrew Finch | Hiroaki Hayashi | Ioannis Konstas | Thang Luong | Graham Neubig | Yusuke Oda | Katsuhito Sudoh

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Recycling a Pre-trained BERT Encoder for Neural Machine TranslationBERT Encoder for Neural Machine Translation
Kenji Imamura | Eiichiro Sumita

In this paper, a pre-trained Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) model is applied to Transformer-based neural machine translation (NMT). In contrast to monolingual tasks, the number of unlearned model parameters in an NMT decoder is as huge as the number of learned parameters in the BERT model. To train all the models appropriately, we employ two-stage optimization, which first trains only the unlearned parameters by freezing the BERT model, and then fine-tunes all the sub-models. In our experiments, stable two-stage optimization was achieved, in contrast the BLEU scores of direct fine-tuning were extremely low. Consequently, the BLEU scores of the proposed method were better than those of the Transformer base model and the same model without pre-training. Additionally, we confirmed that NMT with the BERT encoder is more effective in low-resource settings.

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Generating a Common Question from Multiple Documents using Multi-source Encoder-Decoder Models
Woon Sang Cho | Yizhe Zhang | Sudha Rao | Chris Brockett | Sungjin Lee

Ambiguous user queries in search engines result in the retrieval of documents that often span multiple topics. One potential solution is for the search engine to generate multiple refined queries, each of which relates to a subset of the documents spanning the same topic. A preliminary step towards this goal is to generate a question that captures common concepts of multiple documents. We propose a new task of generating common question from multiple documents and present simple variant of an existing multi-source encoder-decoder framework, called the Multi-Source Question Generator (MSQG). We first train an RNN-based single encoder-decoder generator from (single document, question) pairs. At test time, given multiple documents, the Distribute step of our MSQG model predicts target word distributions for each document using the trained model. The Aggregate step aggregates these distributions to generate a common question. This simple yet effective strategy significantly outperforms several existing baseline models applied to the new task when evaluated using automated metrics and human judgments on the MS-MARCO-QA dataset.

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Transformer-based Model for Single Documents Neural Summarization
Elozino Egonmwan | Yllias Chali

We propose a system that improves performance on single document summarization task using the CNN / DailyMail and Newsroom datasets. It follows the popular encoder-decoder paradigm, but with an extra focus on the encoder. The intuition is that the probability of correctly decoding an information significantly lies in the pattern and correctness of the encoder. Hence we introduce, encode encode decode. A framework that encodes the source text first with a transformer, then a sequence-to-sequence (seq2seq) model. We find that the transformer and seq2seq model complement themselves adequately, making for a richer encoded vector representation. We also find that paying more attention to the vocabulary of target words during abstraction improves performance. We experiment our hypothesis and framework on the task of extractive and abstractive single document summarization and evaluate using the standard CNN / DailyMail dataset and the recently released Newsroom dataset.

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Making Asynchronous Stochastic Gradient Descent Work for Transformers
Alham Fikri Aji | Kenneth Heafield

Asynchronous stochastic gradient descent (SGD) converges poorly for Transformer models, so synchronous SGD has become the norm for Transformer training. This is unfortunate because asynchronous SGD is faster at raw training speed since it avoids waiting for synchronization. Moreover, the Transformer model is the basis for state-of-the-art models for several tasks, including machine translation, so training speed matters. To understand why asynchronous SGD under-performs, we blur the lines between asynchronous and synchronous methods. We find that summing several asynchronous updates, rather than applying them immediately, restores convergence behavior. With this method, the Transformer attains the same BLEU score 1.36 times as fast.

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On the Importance of the Kullback-Leibler Divergence Term in Variational Autoencoders for Text GenerationKullback-Leibler Divergence Term in Variational Autoencoders for Text Generation
Victor Prokhorov | Ehsan Shareghi | Yingzhen Li | Mohammad Taher Pilehvar | Nigel Collier

Variational Autoencoders (VAEs) are known to suffer from learning uninformative latent representation of the input due to issues such as approximated posterior collapse, or entanglement of the latent space. We impose an explicit constraint on the Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence term inside the VAE objective function. While the explicit constraint naturally avoids posterior collapse, we use it to further understand the significance of the KL term in controlling the information transmitted through the VAE channel. Within this framework, we explore different properties of the estimated posterior distribution, and highlight the trade-off between the amount of information encoded in a latent code during training, and the generative capacity of the model.

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Enhanced Transformer Model for Data-to-Text Generation
Li Gong | Josep Crego | Jean Senellart

Neural models have recently shown significant progress on data-to-text generation tasks in which descriptive texts are generated conditioned on database records. In this work, we present a new Transformer-based data-to-text generation model which learns content selection and summary generation in an end-to-end fashion. We introduce two extensions to the baseline transformer model : First, we modify the latent representation of the input, which helps to significantly improve the content correctness of the output summary ; Second, we include an additional learning objective that accounts for content selection modelling. In addition, we propose two data augmentation methods that succeed to further improve performance of the resulting generation models. Evaluation experiments show that our final model outperforms current state-of-the-art systems as measured by different metrics : BLEU, content selection precision and content ordering. We made publicly available the transformer extension presented in this paper.

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Generalization in Generation : A closer look at Exposure Bias
Florian Schmidt

Exposure bias refers to the train-test discrepancy that seemingly arises when an autoregressive generative model uses only ground-truth contexts at training time but generated ones at test time. We separate the contribution of the learning framework and the model to clarify the debate on consequences and review proposed counter-measures. In this light, we argue that generalization is the underlying property to address and propose unconditional generation as its fundamental benchmark. Finally, we combine latent variable modeling with a recent formulation of exploration in reinforcement learning to obtain a rigorous handling of true and generated contexts. Results on language modeling and variational sentence auto-encoding confirm the model’s generalization capability.

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A Margin-based Loss with Synthetic Negative Samples for Continuous-output Machine Translation
Gayatri Bhat | Sachin Kumar | Yulia Tsvetkov

Neural models that eliminate the softmax bottleneck by generating word embeddings (rather than multinomial distributions over a vocabulary) attain faster training with fewer learnable parameters. These models are currently trained by maximizing densities of pretrained target embeddings under von Mises-Fisher distributions parameterized by corresponding model-predicted embeddings. This work explores the utility of margin-based loss functions in optimizing such models. We present syn-margin loss, a novel margin-based loss that uses a synthetic negative sample constructed from only the predicted and target embeddings at every step. The loss is efficient to compute, and we use a geometric analysis to argue that it is more consistent and interpretable than other margin-based losses. Empirically, we find that syn-margin provides small but significant improvements over both vMF and standard margin-based losses in continuous-output neural machine translation.

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Mixed Multi-Head Self-Attention for Neural Machine Translation
Hongyi Cui | Shohei Iida | Po-Hsuan Hung | Takehito Utsuro | Masaaki Nagata

Recently, the Transformer becomes a state-of-the-art architecture in the filed of neural machine translation (NMT). A key point of its high-performance is the multi-head self-attention which is supposed to allow the model to independently attend to information from different representation subspaces. However, there is no explicit mechanism to ensure that different attention heads indeed capture different features, and in practice, redundancy has occurred in multiple heads. In this paper, we argue that using the same global attention in multiple heads limits multi-head self-attention’s capacity for learning distinct features. In order to improve the expressiveness of multi-head self-attention, we propose a novel Mixed Multi-Head Self-Attention (MMA) which models not only global and local attention but also forward and backward attention in different attention heads. This enables the model to learn distinct representations explicitly among multiple heads. In our experiments on both WAT17 English-Japanese as well as IWSLT14 German-English translation task, we show that, without increasing the number of parameters, our models yield consistent and significant improvements (0.9 BLEU scores on average) over the strong Transformer baseline.

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Interrogating the Explanatory Power of Attention in Neural Machine Translation
Pooya Moradi | Nishant Kambhatla | Anoop Sarkar

Attention models have become a crucial component in neural machine translation (NMT). They are often implicitly or explicitly used to justify the model’s decision in generating a specific token but it has not yet been rigorously established to what extent attention is a reliable source of information in NMT. To evaluate the explanatory power of attention for NMT, we examine the possibility of yielding the same prediction but with counterfactual attention models that modify crucial aspects of the trained attention model. Using these counterfactual attention mechanisms we assess the extent to which they still preserve the generation of function and content words in the translation process. Compared to a state of the art attention model, our counterfactual attention models produce 68 % of function words and 21 % of content words in our German-English dataset. Our experiments demonstrate that attention models by themselves can not reliably explain the decisions made by a NMT model.

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Auto-Sizing the Transformer Network : Improving Speed, Efficiency, and Performance for Low-Resource Machine Translation
Kenton Murray | Jeffery Kinnison | Toan Q. Nguyen | Walter Scheirer | David Chiang

Neural sequence-to-sequence models, particularly the Transformer, are the state of the art in machine translation. Yet these neural networks are very sensitive to architecture and hyperparameter settings. Optimizing these settings by grid or random search is computationally expensive because it requires many training runs. In this paper, we incorporate architecture search into a single training run through auto-sizing, which uses regularization to delete neurons in a network over the course of training. On very low-resource language pairs, we show that auto-sizing can improve BLEU scores by up to 3.9 points while removing one-third of the parameters from the model.

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Monash University’s Submissions to the WNGT 2019 Document Translation TaskWNGT 2019 Document Translation Task
Sameen Maruf | Gholamreza Haffari

We describe the work of Monash University for the shared task of Rotowire document translation organised by the 3rd Workshop on Neural Generation and Translation (WNGT 2019). We submitted systems for both directions of the English-German language pair. Our main focus is on employing an established document-level neural machine translation model for this task. We achieve a BLEU score of 39.83 (41.46 BLEU per WNGT evaluation) for En-De and 45.06 (47.39 BLEU per WNGT evaluation) for De-En translation directions on the Rotowire test set. All experiments conducted in the process are also described.

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University of Edinburgh’s submission to the Document-level Generation and Translation Shared TaskUniversity of Edinburgh’s submission to the Document-level Generation and Translation Shared Task
Ratish Puduppully | Jonathan Mallinson | Mirella Lapata

The University of Edinburgh participated in all six tracks : NLG, MT, and MT+NLG with both English and German as targeted languages. For the NLG track, we submitted a multilingual system based on the Content Selection and Planning model of Puduppully et al (2019). For the MT track, we submitted Transformer-based Neural Machine Translation models, where out-of-domain parallel data was augmented with in-domain data extracted from monolingual corpora. Our MT+NLG systems disregard the structured input data and instead rely exclusively on the source summaries.

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Naver Labs Europe’s Systems for the Document-Level Generation and Translation Task at WNGT 2019Europe’s Systems for the Document-Level Generation and Translation Task at WNGT 2019
Fahimeh Saleh | Alexandre Berard | Ioan Calapodescu | Laurent Besacier

Recently, neural models led to significant improvements in both machine translation (MT) and natural language generation tasks (NLG). However, generation of long descriptive summaries conditioned on structured data remains an open challenge. Likewise, MT that goes beyond sentence-level context is still an open issue (e.g., document-level MT or MT with metadata). To address these challenges, we propose to leverage data from both tasks and do transfer learning between MT, NLG, and MT with source-side metadata (MT+NLG). First, we train document-based MT systems with large amounts of parallel data. Then, we adapt these models to pure NLG and MT+NLG tasks by fine-tuning with smaller amounts of domain-specific data. This end-to-end NLG approach, without data selection and planning, outperforms the previous state of the art on the Rotowire NLG task. We participated to the Document Generation and Translation task at WNGT 2019, and ranked first in all tracks.