Meta-learning for low-resource neural machine translation

Jiatao Gu, Yong Wang, Yun Chen, Kyunghyun Cho, Victor O.K. Li

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

In this paper, we propose to extend the recently introduced model-agnostic meta-learning algorithm (MAML, Finn et al., 2017) for low-resource neural machine translation (NMT). We frame low-resource translation as a meta-learning problem, and we learn to adapt to low-resource languages based on multilingual high-resource language tasks. We use the universal lexical representation (Gu et al., 2018b) to overcome the input-output mismatch across different languages. We evaluate the proposed meta-learning strategy using eighteen European languages (Bg, Cs, Da, De, El, Es, Et, Fr, Hu, It, Lt, Nl, Pl, Pt, Sk, Sl, Sv and Ru) as source tasks and five diverse languages (Ro, Lv, Fi, Tr and Ko) as target tasks. We show that the proposed approach significantly outperforms the multilingual, transfer learning based approach (Zoph et al., 2016) and enables us to train a competitive NMT system with only a fraction of training examples. For instance, the proposed approach can achieve as high as 22.04 BLEU on Romanian-English WMT'16 by seeing only 16,000 translated words (∼ 600 parallel sentences).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018
EditorsEllen Riloff, David Chiang, Julia Hockenmaier, Jun'ichi Tsujii
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics
Pages3622-3631
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781948087841
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Event2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018 - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: Oct 31 2018Nov 4 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018

Conference

Conference2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018
CountryBelgium
CityBrussels
Period10/31/1811/4/18

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems

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