Text-editing models have recently become a prominent alternative to seq2seq models for monolingual text-generation tasks such as grammatical error correction, text simplification, and style transfer. These tasks share a common trait – they exhibit a large amount of textual overlap between the source and target texts. Text-editing models take advantage of this observation and learn to generate the output by predicting edit operations applied to the source sequence. In contrast, seq2seq models generate outputs word-by-word from scratch thus making them slow at inference time. Text-editing models provide several benefits over seq2seq models including faster inference speed, higher sample efficiency, and better control and interpretability of the outputs. This tutorial provides a comprehensive overview of the text-edit based models and current state-of-the-art approaches analyzing their pros and cons. We discuss challenges related to deployment and how these models help to mitigate hallucination and bias, both pressing challenges in the field of text generation.
One of the biggest challenges of natural language generation (NLG) is the proper handling of named entities. Named entities are a common source of grammar mistakes such as wrong prepositions, wrong article handling, or incorrect entity inflection. Without factoring linguistic representation, such errors are often underrepresented when evaluating on a small set of arbitrarily picked argument values, or when translating a dataset from a linguistically simpler language, like English, to a linguistically complex language, like Russian. However, for some applications, broadly precise grammatical correctness is critical – native speakers may find entity-related grammar errors silly, jarring, or even offensive. To enable the creation of more linguistically diverse NLG datasets, we release a Corpus of Linguistically Significant Entities (CLSE) annotated by linguist experts. The corpus includes 34 languages and covers 74 different semantic types to support various applications from airline ticketing to video games. To demonstrate one possible use of CLSE, we produce an augmented version of the Schema-Guided Dialog Dataset, SGD-CLSE. Using the CLSE’s entities and a small number of human translations, we create a linguistically representative NLG evaluation benchmark in three languages: French (high-resource), Marathi (low-resource), and Russian (highly inflected language). We establish quality baselines for neural, template-based, and hybrid NLG systems and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
Enabling open-domain dialogue systems to ask clarifying questions when appropriate is an important direction for improving the quality of the system response. Namely, for cases when a user request is not specific enough for a conversation system to provide an answer right away, it is desirable to ask a clarifying question to increase the chances of retrieving a satisfying answer. To address the problem of ‘asking clarifying questions in open-domain dialogues’: (1) we collect and release a new dataset focused on open-domain single- and multi-turn conversations, (2) we benchmark several state-of-the-art neural baselines, and (3) we propose a pipeline consisting of offline and online steps for evaluating the quality of clarifying questions in various dialogues. These contributions are suitable as a foundation for further research.