Fine-grained attention mechanism for neural machine translation

Heeyoul Choi, Kyunghyun Cho, Yoshua Bengio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-176
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Apr 5 2018


  • Attention mechanism
  • Fine-grained attention
  • Neural machine translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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