David Grangier


On Systematic Style Differences between Unsupervised and Supervised MT and an Application for High-Resource Machine Translation
Kelly Marchisio | Markus Freitag | David Grangier
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Modern unsupervised machine translation (MT) systems reach reasonable translation quality under clean and controlled data conditions. As the performance gap between supervised and unsupervised MT narrows, it is interesting to ask whether the different training methods result in systematically different output beyond what is visible via quality metrics like adequacy or BLEU. We compare translations from supervised and unsupervised MT systems of similar quality, finding that unsupervised output is more fluent and more structurally different in comparison to human translation than is supervised MT. We then demonstrate a way to combine the benefits of both methods into a single system which results in improved adequacy and fluency as rated by human evaluators. Our results open the door to interesting discussions about how supervised and unsupervised MT might be different yet mutually-beneficial.

High Quality Rather than High Model Probability: Minimum Bayes Risk Decoding with Neural Metrics
Markus Freitag | David Grangier | Qijun Tan | Bowen Liang
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

In Neural Machine Translation, it is typically assumed that the sentence with the highest estimated probability should also be the translation with the highest quality as measured by humans. In this work, we question this assumption and show that model estimates and translation quality only vaguely correlate. We apply Minimum Bayes Risk (MBR) decoding on unbiased samples to optimize diverse automated metrics of translation quality as an alternative inference strategy to beam search. Instead of targeting the hypotheses with the highest model probability, MBR decoding extracts the hypotheses with the highest estimated quality. Our experiments show that the combination of a neural translation model with a neural reference-based metric, Bleurt, results in significant improvement in human evaluations. This improvement is obtained with translations different from classical beam-search output: These translations have much lower model likelihood and are less favored by surface metrics like Bleu.

The Trade-offs of Domain Adaptation for Neural Language Models
David Grangier | Dan Iter
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

This work connects language model adaptation with concepts of machine learning theory. We consider a training setup with a large out-of-domain set and a small in-domain set. We derive how the benefit of training a model on either set depends on the size of the sets and the distance between their underlying distributions. We analyze how out-of-domain pre-training before in-domain fine-tuning achieves better generalization than either solution independently. Finally, we present how adaptation techniques based on data selection, such as importance sampling, intelligent data selection and influence functions, can be presented in a common framework which highlights their similarity and also their subtle differences.

A Natural Diet: Towards Improving Naturalness of Machine Translation Output
Markus Freitag | David Vilar | David Grangier | Colin Cherry | George Foster
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Machine translation (MT) evaluation often focuses on accuracy and fluency, without paying much attention to translation style. This means that, even when considered accurate and fluent, MT output can still sound less natural than high quality human translations or text originally written in the target language. Machine translation output notably exhibits lower lexical diversity, and employs constructs that mirror those in the source sentence. In this work we propose a method for training MT systems to achieve a more natural style, i.e. mirroring the style of text originally written in the target language. Our method tags parallel training data according to the naturalness of the target side by contrasting language models trained on natural and translated data. Tagging data allows us to put greater emphasis on target sentences originally written in the target language. Automatic metrics show that the resulting models achieve lexical richness on par with human translations, mimicking a style much closer to sentences originally written in the target language. Furthermore, we find that their output is preferred by human experts when compared to the baseline translations.


Efficient Content-Based Sparse Attention with Routing Transformers
Aurko Roy | Mohammad Saffar | Ashish Vaswani | David Grangier
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Self-attention has recently been adopted for a wide range of sequence modeling problems. Despite its effectiveness, self-attention suffers from quadratic computation and memory requirements with respect to sequence length. Successful approaches to reduce this complexity focused on attending to local sliding windows or a small set of locations independent of content. Our work proposes to learn dynamic sparse attention patterns that avoid allocating computation and memory to attend to content unrelated to the query of interest. This work builds upon two lines of research: It combines the modeling flexibility of prior work on content-based sparse attention with the efficiency gains from approaches based on local, temporal sparse attention. Our model, the Routing Transformer, endows self-attention with a sparse routing module based on online k-means while reducing the overall complexity of attention to O(n1.5d) from O(n2d) for sequence length n and hidden dimension d. We show that our model outperforms comparable sparse attention models on language modeling on Wikitext-103 (15.8 vs 18.3 perplexity), as well as on image generation on ImageNet-64 (3.43 vs 3.44 bits/dim) while using fewer self-attention layers. Additionally, we set a new state-of-the-art on the newly released PG-19 data-set, obtaining a test perplexity of 33.2 with a 22 layer Routing Transformer model trained on sequences of length 8192. We open-source the code for Routing Transformer in Tensorflow.1

Experts, Errors, and Context: A Large-Scale Study of Human Evaluation for Machine Translation
Markus Freitag | George Foster | David Grangier | Viresh Ratnakar | Qijun Tan | Wolfgang Macherey
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Abstract Human evaluation of modern high-quality machine translation systems is a difficult problem, and there is increasing evidence that inadequate evaluation procedures can lead to erroneous conclusions. While there has been considerable research on human evaluation, the field still lacks a commonly accepted standard procedure. As a step toward this goal, we propose an evaluation methodology grounded in explicit error analysis, based on the Multidimensional Quality Metrics (MQM) framework. We carry out the largest MQM research study to date, scoring the outputs of top systems from the WMT 2020 shared task in two language pairs using annotations provided by professional translators with access to full document context. We analyze the resulting data extensively, finding among other results a substantially different ranking of evaluated systems from the one established by the WMT crowd workers, exhibiting a clear preference for human over machine output. Surprisingly, we also find that automatic metrics based on pre-trained embeddings can outperform human crowd workers. We make our corpus publicly available for further research.


Human-Paraphrased References Improve Neural Machine Translation
Markus Freitag | George Foster | David Grangier | Colin Cherry
Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Machine Translation

Automatic evaluation comparing candidate translations to human-generated paraphrases of reference translations has recently been proposed by freitag2020bleu. When used in place of original references, the paraphrased versions produce metric scores that correlate better with human judgment. This effect holds for a variety of different automatic metrics, and tends to favor natural formulations over more literal (translationese) ones. In this paper we compare the results of performing end-to-end system development using standard and paraphrased references. With state-of-the-art English-German NMT components, we show that tuning to paraphrased references produces a system that is ignificantly better according to human judgment, but 5 BLEU points worse when tested on standard references. Our work confirms the finding that paraphrased references yield metric scores that correlate better with human judgment, and demonstrates for the first time that using these scores for system development can lead to significant improvements.

BLEU might be Guilty but References are not Innocent
Markus Freitag | David Grangier | Isaac Caswell
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

The quality of automatic metrics for machine translation has been increasingly called into question, especially for high-quality systems. This paper demonstrates that, while choice of metric is important, the nature of the references is also critical. We study different methods to collect references and compare their value in automated evaluation by reporting correlation with human evaluation for a variety of systems and metrics. Motivated by the finding that typical references exhibit poor diversity, concentrating around translationese language, we develop a paraphrasing task for linguists to perform on existing reference translations, which counteracts this bias. Our method yields higher correlation with human judgment not only for the submissions of WMT 2019 English to German, but also for Back-translation and APE augmented MT output, which have been shown to have low correlation with automatic metrics using standard references. We demonstrate that our methodology improves correlation with all modern evaluation metrics we look at, including embedding-based methods.To complete this picture, we reveal that multi-reference BLEU does not improve the correlation for high quality output, and present an alternative multi-reference formulation that is more effective.

Toward Better Storylines with Sentence-Level Language Models
Daphne Ippolito | David Grangier | Douglas Eck | Chris Callison-Burch
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We propose a sentence-level language model which selects the next sentence in a story from a finite set of fluent alternatives. Since it does not need to model fluency, the sentence-level language model can focus on longer range dependencies, which are crucial for multi-sentence coherence. Rather than dealing with individual words, our method treats the story so far as a list of pre-trained sentence embeddings and predicts an embedding for the next sentence, which is more efficient than predicting word embeddings. Notably this allows us to consider a large number of candidates for the next sentence during training. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach with state-of-the-art accuracy on the unsupervised Story Cloze task and with promising results on larger-scale next sentence prediction tasks.

Translationese as a Language in “Multilingual” NMT
Parker Riley | Isaac Caswell | Markus Freitag | David Grangier
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Machine translation has an undesirable propensity to produce “translationese” artifacts, which can lead to higher BLEU scores while being liked less by human raters. Motivated by this, we model translationese and original (i.e. natural) text as separate languages in a multilingual model, and pose the question: can we perform zero-shot translation between original source text and original target text? There is no data with original source and original target, so we train a sentence-level classifier to distinguish translationese from original target text, and use this classifier to tag the training data for an NMT model. Using this technique we bias the model to produce more natural outputs at test time, yielding gains in human evaluation scores on both accuracy and fluency. Additionally, we demonstrate that it is possible to bias the model to produce translationese and game the BLEU score, increasing it while decreasing human-rated quality. We analyze these outputs using metrics measuring the degree of translationese, and present an analysis of the volatility of heuristic-based train-data tagging.


ELI5: Long Form Question Answering
Angela Fan | Yacine Jernite | Ethan Perez | David Grangier | Jason Weston | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We introduce the first large-scale corpus for long form question answering, a task requiring elaborate and in-depth answers to open-ended questions. The dataset comprises 270K threads from the Reddit forum “Explain Like I’m Five” (ELI5) where an online community provides answers to questions which are comprehensible by five year olds. Compared to existing datasets, ELI5 comprises diverse questions requiring multi-sentence answers. We provide a large set of web documents to help answer the question. Automatic and human evaluations show that an abstractive model trained with a multi-task objective outperforms conventional Seq2Seq, language modeling, as well as a strong extractive baseline.However, our best model is still far from human performance since raters prefer gold responses in over 86% of cases, leaving ample opportunity for future improvement.

Unsupervised Paraphrasing without Translation
Aurko Roy | David Grangier
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Paraphrasing is an important task demonstrating the ability to abstract semantic content from its surface form. Recent literature on automatic paraphrasing is dominated by methods leveraging machine translation as an intermediate step. This contrasts with humans, who can paraphrase without necessarily being bilingual. This work proposes to learn paraphrasing models only from a monolingual corpus. To that end, we propose a residual variant of vector-quantized variational auto-encoder. Our experiments consider paraphrase identification, and paraphrasing for training set augmentation, comparing to supervised and unsupervised translation-based approaches. Monolingual paraphrasing is shown to outperform unsupervised translation in all contexts. The comparison with supervised MT is more mixed: monolingual paraphrasing is interesting for identification and augmentation but supervised MT is superior for generation.

Unsupervised Hierarchical Story Infilling
Daphne Ippolito | David Grangier | Chris Callison-Burch | Douglas Eck
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Narrative Understanding

Story infilling involves predicting words to go into a missing span from a story. This challenging task has the potential to transform interactive tools for creative writing. However, state-of-the-art conditional language models have trouble balancing fluency and coherence with novelty and diversity. We address this limitation with a hierarchical model which first selects a set of rare words and then generates text conditioned on that set. By relegating the high entropy task of picking rare words to a word-sampling model, the second-stage model conditioned on those words can achieve high fluency and coherence by searching for likely sentences, without sacrificing diversity.

Tagged Back-Translation
Isaac Caswell | Ciprian Chelba | David Grangier
Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Machine Translation (Volume 1: Research Papers)

Recent work in Neural Machine Translation (NMT) has shown significant quality gains from noised-beam decoding during back-translation, a method to generate synthetic parallel data. We show that the main role of such synthetic noise is not to diversify the source side, as previously suggested, but simply to indicate to the model that the given source is synthetic. We propose a simpler alternative to noising techniques, consisting of tagging back-translated source sentences with an extra token. Our results on WMT outperform noised back-translation in English-Romanian and match performance on English-German, redefining the state-of-the-art on the former.

fairseq: A Fast, Extensible Toolkit for Sequence Modeling
Myle Ott | Sergey Edunov | Alexei Baevski | Angela Fan | Sam Gross | Nathan Ng | David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Demonstrations)

fairseq is an open-source sequence modeling toolkit that allows researchers and developers to train custom models for translation, summarization, language modeling, and other text generation tasks. The toolkit is based on PyTorch and supports distributed training across multiple GPUs and machines. We also support fast mixed-precision training and inference on modern GPUs. A demo video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtgDdWtHvto


Controllable Abstractive Summarization
Angela Fan | David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Neural Machine Translation and Generation

Current models for document summarization disregard user preferences such as the desired length, style, the entities that the user might be interested in, or how much of the document the user has already read. We present a neural summarization model with a simple but effective mechanism to enable users to specify these high level attributes in order to control the shape of the final summaries to better suit their needs. With user input, our system can produce high quality summaries that follow user preferences. Without user input, we set the control variables automatically – on the full text CNN-Dailymail dataset, we outperform state of the art abstractive systems (both in terms of F1-ROUGE1 40.38 vs. 39.53 F1-ROUGE and human evaluation.

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Scaling Neural Machine Translation
Myle Ott | Sergey Edunov | David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the Third Conference on Machine Translation: Research Papers

Sequence to sequence learning models still require several days to reach state of the art performance on large benchmark datasets using a single machine. This paper shows that reduced precision and large batch training can speedup training by nearly 5x on a single 8-GPU machine with careful tuning and implementation. On WMT’14 English-German translation, we match the accuracy of Vaswani et al. (2017) in under 5 hours when training on 8 GPUs and we obtain a new state of the art of 29.3 BLEU after training for 85 minutes on 128 GPUs. We further improve these results to 29.8 BLEU by training on the much larger Paracrawl dataset. On the WMT’14 English-French task, we obtain a state-of-the-art BLEU of 43.2 in 8.5 hours on 128 GPUs.

QuickEdit: Editing Text & Translations by Crossing Words Out
David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

We propose a framework for computer-assisted text editing. It applies to translation post-editing and to paraphrasing. Our proposal relies on very simple interactions: a human editor modifies a sentence by marking tokens they would like the system to change. Our model then generates a new sentence which reformulates the initial sentence by avoiding marked words. The approach builds upon neural sequence-to-sequence modeling and introduces a neural network which takes as input a sentence along with change markers. Our model is trained on translation bitext by simulating post-edits. We demonstrate the advantage of our approach for translation post-editing through simulated post-edits. We also evaluate our model for paraphrasing through a user study.

Classical Structured Prediction Losses for Sequence to Sequence Learning
Sergey Edunov | Myle Ott | Michael Auli | David Grangier | Marc’Aurelio Ranzato
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long Papers)

There has been much recent work on training neural attention models at the sequence-level using either reinforcement learning-style methods or by optimizing the beam. In this paper, we survey a range of classical objective functions that have been widely used to train linear models for structured prediction and apply them to neural sequence to sequence models. Our experiments show that these losses can perform surprisingly well by slightly outperforming beam search optimization in a like for like setup. We also report new state of the art results on both IWSLT’14 German-English translation as well as Gigaword abstractive summarization. On the large WMT’14 English-French task, sequence-level training achieves 41.5 BLEU which is on par with the state of the art.

Understanding Back-Translation at Scale
Sergey Edunov | Myle Ott | Michael Auli | David Grangier
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

An effective method to improve neural machine translation with monolingual data is to augment the parallel training corpus with back-translations of target language sentences. This work broadens the understanding of back-translation and investigates a number of methods to generate synthetic source sentences. We find that in all but resource poor settings back-translations obtained via sampling or noised beam outputs are most effective. Our analysis shows that sampling or noisy synthetic data gives a much stronger training signal than data generated by beam or greedy search. We also compare how synthetic data compares to genuine bitext and study various domain effects. Finally, we scale to hundreds of millions of monolingual sentences and achieve a new state of the art of 35 BLEU on the WMT’14 English-German test set.


A Convolutional Encoder Model for Neural Machine Translation
Jonas Gehring | Michael Auli | David Grangier | Yann Dauphin
Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The prevalent approach to neural machine translation relies on bi-directional LSTMs to encode the source sentence. We present a faster and simpler architecture based on a succession of convolutional layers. This allows to encode the source sentence simultaneously compared to recurrent networks for which computation is constrained by temporal dependencies. On WMT’16 English-Romanian translation we achieve competitive accuracy to the state-of-the-art and on WMT’15 English-German we outperform several recently published results. Our models obtain almost the same accuracy as a very deep LSTM setup on WMT’14 English-French translation. We speed up CPU decoding by more than two times at the same or higher accuracy as a strong bi-directional LSTM.


Strategies for Training Large Vocabulary Neural Language Models
Wenlin Chen | David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Neural Text Generation from Structured Data with Application to the Biography Domain
Rémi Lebret | David Grangier | Michael Auli
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing