Ning Dong


Unified Speech-Text Pre-training for Speech Translation and Recognition
Yun Tang | Hongyu Gong | Ning Dong | Changhan Wang | Wei-Ning Hsu | Jiatao Gu | Alexei Baevski | Xian Li | Abdelrahman Mohamed | Michael Auli | Juan Pino
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this work, we describe a method to jointly pre-train speech and text in an encoder-decoder modeling framework for speech translation and recognition. The proposed method utilizes multi-task learning to integrate four self-supervised and supervised subtasks for cross modality learning. A self-supervised speech subtask, which leverages unlabelled speech data, and a (self-)supervised text to text subtask, which makes use of abundant text training data, take up the majority of the pre-training time. Two auxiliary supervised speech tasks are included to unify speech and text modeling space. Detailed analysis reveals learning interference among subtasks. In order to alleviate the subtask interference, two pre-training configurations are proposed for speech translation and speech recognition respectively. Our experiments show the proposed method can effectively fuse speech and text information into one model. It achieves between 1.7 and 2.3 BLEU improvement above the state of the art on the MuST-C speech translation dataset and comparable WERs to wav2vec 2.0 on the Librispeech speech recognition task.


Addressing Posterior Collapse with Mutual Information for Improved Variational Neural Machine Translation
Arya D. McCarthy | Xian Li | Jiatao Gu | Ning Dong
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

This paper proposes a simple and effective approach to address the problem of posterior collapse in conditional variational autoencoders (CVAEs). It thus improves performance of machine translation models that use noisy or monolingual data, as well as in conventional settings. Extending Transformer and conditional VAEs, our proposed latent variable model measurably prevents posterior collapse by (1) using a modified evidence lower bound (ELBO) objective which promotes mutual information between the latent variable and the target, and (2) guiding the latent variable with an auxiliary bag-of-words prediction task. As a result, the proposed model yields improved translation quality compared to existing variational NMT models on WMT Ro↔En and De↔En. With latent variables being effectively utilized, our model demonstrates improved robustness over non-latent Transformer in handling uncertainty: exploiting noisy source-side monolingual data (up to +3.2 BLEU), and training with weakly aligned web-mined parallel data (up to +4.7 BLEU).