Lifeng Han


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HOPE: A Task-Oriented and Human-Centric Evaluation Framework Using Professional Post-Editing Towards More Effective MT Evaluation
Serge Gladkoff | Lifeng Han
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Traditional automatic evaluation metrics for machine translation have been widely criticized by linguists due to their low accuracy, lack of transparency, focus on language mechanics rather than semantics, and low agreement with human quality evaluation. Human evaluations in the form of MQM-like scorecards have always been carried out in real industry setting by both clients and translation service providers (TSPs). However, traditional human translation quality evaluations are costly to perform and go into great linguistic detail, raise issues as to inter-rater reliability (IRR) and are not designed to measure quality of worse than premium quality translations. In this work, we introduce HOPE, a task-oriented and h uman-centric evaluation framework for machine translation output based o n professional p ost- e diting annotations. It contains only a limited number of commonly occurring error types, and uses a scoring model with geometric progression of error penalty points (EPPs) reflecting error severity level to each translation unit. The initial experimental work carried out on English-Russian language pair MT outputs on marketing content type of text from highly technical domain reveals that our evaluation framework is quite effective in reflecting the MT output quality regarding both overall system-level performance and segment-level transparency, and it increases the IRR for error type interpretation. The approach has several key advantages, such as ability to measure and compare less than perfect MT output from different systems, ability to indicate human perception of quality, immediate estimation of the labor effort required to bring MT output to premium quality, low-cost and faster application, as well as higher IRR. Our experimental data is available at

Measuring Uncertainty in Translation Quality Evaluation (TQE)
Serge Gladkoff | Irina Sorokina | Lifeng Han | Alexandra Alekseeva
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

From both human translators (HT) and machine translation (MT) researchers’ point of view, translation quality evaluation (TQE) is an essential task. Translation service providers (TSPs) have to deliver large volumes of translations which meet customer specifications with harsh constraints of required quality level in tight time-frames and costs. MT researchers strive to make their models better, which also requires reliable quality evaluation. While automatic machine translation evaluation (MTE) metrics and quality estimation (QE) tools are widely available and easy to access, existing automated tools are not good enough, and human assessment from professional translators (HAP) are often chosen as the golden standard (CITATION). Human evaluations, however, are often accused of having low reliability and agreement. Is this caused by subjectivity or statistics is at play? How to avoid the entire text to be checked and be more efficient with TQE from cost and efficiency perspectives, and what is the optimal sample size of the translated text, so as to reliably estimate the translation quality of the entire material? This work carries out such a motivated research to correctly estimate the confidence intervals (CITATION) depending on the sample size of translated text, e.g. the amount of words or sentences, that needs to be processed on TQE workflow step for confident and reliable evaluation of overall translation quality. The methodology we applied for this work is from Bernoulli Statistical Distribution Modelling (BSDM) and Monte Carlo Sampling Analysis (MCSA).

Examining Large Pre-Trained Language Models for Machine Translation: What You Don’t Know about It
Lifeng Han | Gleb Erofeev | Irina Sorokina | Serge Gladkoff | Goran Nenadic
Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Machine Translation (WMT)

Pre-trained language models (PLMs) often take advantage of the monolingual and multilingual dataset that is freely available online to acquire general or mixed domain knowledge before deployment into specific tasks. Extra-large PLMs (xLPLMs) are proposed very recently to claim supreme performances over smaller-sized PLMs such as in machine translation (MT) tasks. These xLPLMs include Meta-AI’s wmt21-dense-24-wide-en-X (2021) and NLLB (2022). In this work, we examine if xLPLMs are absolutely superior to smaller-sized PLMs in fine-tuning toward domain-specific MTs. We use two different in-domain data of different sizes: commercial automotive in-house data and clinical shared task data from the ClinSpEn2022 challenge at WMT2022. We choose the popular Marian Helsinki as smaller sized PLM and two massive-sized Mega-Transformers from Meta-AI as xLPLMs.Our experimental investigation shows that 1) on smaller-sized in-domain commercial automotive data, xLPLM wmt21-dense-24-wide-en-X indeed shows much better evaluation scores using SacreBLEU and hLEPOR metrics than smaller-sized Marian, even though its score increase rate is lower than Marian after fine-tuning; 2) on relatively larger-size well prepared clinical data fine-tuning, the xLPLM NLLB tends to lose its advantage over smaller-sized Marian on two sub-tasks (clinical terms and ontology concepts) using ClinSpEn offered metrics METEOR, COMET, and ROUGE-L, and totally lost to Marian on Task-1 (clinical cases) on all official metrics including SacreBLEU and BLEU; 3) metrics do not always agree with each other on the same tasks using the same model outputs; 4) clinic-Marian ranked No.2 on Task- 1 (via SacreBLEU/BLEU) and Task-3 (via METEOR and ROUGE) among all submissions.


cushLEPOR uses LABSE distilled knowledge to improve correlation with human translation evaluations
Gleb Erofeev | Irina Sorokina | Lifeng Han | Serge Gladkoff
Proceedings of Machine Translation Summit XVIII: Users and Providers Track

Automatic MT evaluation metrics are indispensable for MT research. Augmented metrics such as hLEPOR include broader evaluation factors (recall and position difference penalty) in addition to the factors used in BLEU (sentence length, precision), and demonstrated higher accuracy. However, the obstacles preventing the wide use of hLEPOR were the lack of easy portable Python package and empirical weighting parameters that were tuned by manual work. This project addresses the above issues by offering a Python implementation of hLEPOR and automatic tuning of the parameters. We use existing translation memories (TM) as reference set and distillation modeling with LaBSE (Language-Agnostic BERT Sentence Embedding) to calibrate parameters for custom hLEPOR (cushLEPOR). cushLEPOR maximizes the correlation between hLEPOR and the distilling model similarity score towards reference. It can be used quickly and precisely to evaluate MT output from different engines, without need of manual weight tuning for optimization. In this session you will learn how to tune hLEPOR to obtain automatic custom-tuned cushLEPOR metric far more precise than BLEU. The method does not require costly human evaluations, existing TM is taken as a reference translation set, and cushLEPOR is created to select the best MT engine for the reference data-set.

Chinese Character Decomposition for Neural MT with Multi-Word Expressions
Lifeng Han | Gareth Jones | Alan Smeaton | Paolo Bolzoni
Proceedings of the 23rd Nordic Conference on Computational Linguistics (NoDaLiDa)

Chinese character decomposition has been used as a feature to enhance Machine Translation (MT) models, combining radicals into character and word level models. Recent work has investigated ideograph or stroke level embedding. However, questions remain about different decomposition levels of Chinese character representations, radical and strokes, best suited for MT. To investigate the impact of Chinese decomposition embedding in detail, i.e., radical, stroke, and intermediate levels, and how well these decompositions represent the meaning of the original character sequences, we carry out analysis with both automated and human evaluation of MT. Furthermore, we investigate if the combination of decomposed Multiword Expressions (MWEs) can enhance the model learning. MWE integration into MT has seen more than a decade of exploration. However, decomposed MWEs has not previously been explored.

Translation Quality Assessment: A Brief Survey on Manual and Automatic Methods
Lifeng Han | Alan Smeaton | Gareth Jones
Proceedings for the First Workshop on Modelling Translation: Translatology in the Digital Age

cushLEPOR: customising hLEPOR metric using Optuna for higher agreement with human judgments or pre-trained language model LaBSE
Lifeng Han | Irina Sorokina | Gleb Erofeev | Serge Gladkoff
Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on Machine Translation

Human evaluation has always been expensive while researchers struggle to trust the automatic metrics. To address this, we propose to customise traditional metrics by taking advantages of the pre-trained language models (PLMs) and the limited available human labelled scores. We first re-introduce the hLEPOR metric factors, followed by the Python version we developed (ported) which achieved the automatic tuning of the weighting parameters in hLEPOR metric. Then we present the customised hLEPOR (cushLEPOR) which uses Optuna hyper-parameter optimisation framework to fine-tune hLEPOR weighting parameters towards better agreement to pre-trained language models (using LaBSE) regarding the exact MT language pairs that cushLEPOR is deployed to. We also optimise cushLEPOR towards professional human evaluation data based on MQM and pSQM framework on English-German and Chinese-English language pairs. The experimental investigations show cushLEPOR boosts hLEPOR performances towards better agreements to PLMs like LABSE with much lower cost, and better agreements to human evaluations including MQM and pSQM scores, and yields much better performances than BLEU. Official results show that our submissions win three language pairs including English-German and Chinese-English on News domain via cushLEPOR(LM) and English-Russian on TED domain via hLEPOR. (data available at


MultiMWE: Building a Multi-lingual Multi-Word Expression (MWE) Parallel Corpora
Lifeng Han | Gareth Jones | Alan Smeaton
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Multi-word expressions (MWEs) are a hot topic in research in natural language processing (NLP), including topics such as MWE detection, MWE decomposition, and research investigating the exploitation of MWEs in other NLP fields such as Machine Translation. However, the availability of bilingual or multi-lingual MWE corpora is very limited. The only bilingual MWE corpora that we are aware of is from the PARSEME (PARSing and Multi-word Expressions) EU Project. This is a small collection of only 871 pairs of English-German MWEs. In this paper, we present multi-lingual and bilingual MWE corpora that we have extracted from root parallel corpora. Our collections are 3,159,226 and 143,042 bilingual MWE pairs for German-English and Chinese-English respectively after filtering. We examine the quality of these extracted bilingual MWEs in MT experiments. Our initial experiments applying MWEs in MT show improved translation performances on MWE terms in qualitative analysis and better general evaluation scores in quantitative analysis, on both German-English and Chinese-English language pairs. We follow a standard experimental pipeline to create our MultiMWE corpora which are available online. Researchers can use this free corpus for their own models or use them in a knowledge base as model features.

AlphaMWE: Construction of Multilingual Parallel Corpora with MWE Annotations
Lifeng Han | Gareth Jones | Alan Smeaton
Proceedings of the Joint Workshop on Multiword Expressions and Electronic Lexicons

In this work, we present the construction of multilingual parallel corpora with annotation of multiword expressions (MWEs). MWEs include verbal MWEs (vMWEs) defined in the PARSEME shared task that have a verb as the head of the studied terms. The annotated vMWEs are also bilingually and multilingually aligned manually. The languages covered include English, Chinese, Polish, and German. Our original English corpus is taken from the PARSEME shared task in 2018. We performed machine translation of this source corpus followed by human post editing and annotation of target MWEs. Strict quality control was applied for error limitation, i.e., each MT output sentence received first manual post editing and annotation plus second manual quality rechecking. One of our findings during corpora preparation is that accurate translation of MWEs presents challenges to MT systems. To facilitate further MT research, we present a categorisation of the error types encountered by MT systems in performing MWE related translation. To acquire a broader view of MT issues, we selected four popular state-of-the-art MT models for comparisons namely: Microsoft Bing Translator, GoogleMT, Baidu Fanyi and DeepL MT. Because of the noise removal, translation post editing and MWE annotation by human professionals, we believe our AlphaMWE dataset will be an asset for cross-lingual and multilingual research, such as MT and information extraction. Our multilingual corpora are available as open access at


Detection of Verbal Multi-Word Expressions via Conditional Random Fields with Syntactic Dependency Features and Semantic Re-Ranking
Alfredo Maldonado | Lifeng Han | Erwan Moreau | Ashjan Alsulaimani | Koel Dutta Chowdhury | Carl Vogel | Qun Liu
Proceedings of the 13th Workshop on Multiword Expressions (MWE 2017)

A description of a system for identifying Verbal Multi-Word Expressions (VMWEs) in running text is presented. The system mainly exploits universal syntactic dependency features through a Conditional Random Fields (CRF) sequence model. The system competed in the Closed Track at the PARSEME VMWE Shared Task 2017, ranking 2nd place in most languages on full VMWE-based evaluation and 1st in three languages on token-based evaluation. In addition, this paper presents an option to re-rank the 10 best CRF-predicted sequences via semantic vectors, boosting its scores above other systems in the competition. We also show that all systems in the competition would struggle to beat a simple lookup baseline system and argue for a more purpose-specific evaluation scheme.