Saghar Hosseini


Say ‘YES’ to Positivity: Detecting Toxic Language in Workplace Communications
Meghana Moorthy Bhat | Saghar Hosseini | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah | Paul Bennett | Weisheng Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Workplace communication (e.g. email, chat, etc.) is a central part of enterprise productivity. Healthy conversations are crucial for creating an inclusive environment and maintaining harmony in an organization. Toxic communications at the workplace can negatively impact overall job satisfaction and are often subtle, hidden, or demonstrate human biases. The linguistic subtlety of mild yet hurtful conversations has made it difficult for researchers to quantify and extract toxic conversations automatically. While offensive language or hate speech has been extensively studied in social communities, there has been little work studying toxic communication in emails. Specifically, the lack of corpus, sparsity of toxicity in enterprise emails, and well-defined criteria for annotating toxic conversations have prevented researchers from addressing the problem at scale. We take the first step towards studying toxicity in workplace emails by providing (1) a general and computationally viable taxonomy to study toxic language at the workplace (2) a dataset to study toxic language at the workplace based on the taxonomy and (3) analysis on why offensive language and hate-speech datasets are not suitable to detect workplace toxicity.


Speak to your Parser: Interactive Text-to-SQL with Natural Language Feedback
Ahmed Elgohary | Saghar Hosseini | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We study the task of semantic parse correction with natural language feedback. Given a natural language utterance, most semantic parsing systems pose the problem as one-shot translation where the utterance is mapped to a corresponding logical form. In this paper, we investigate a more interactive scenario where humans can further interact with the system by providing free-form natural language feedback to correct the system when it generates an inaccurate interpretation of an initial utterance. We focus on natural language to SQL systems and construct, SPLASH, a dataset of utterances, incorrect SQL interpretations and the corresponding natural language feedback. We compare various reference models for the correction task and show that incorporating such a rich form of feedback can significantly improve the overall semantic parsing accuracy while retaining the flexibility of natural language interaction. While we estimated human correction accuracy is 81.5%, our best model achieves only 25.1%, which leaves a large gap for improvement in future research. SPLASH is publicly available at

Gender Bias in Multilingual Embeddings and Cross-Lingual Transfer
Jieyu Zhao | Subhabrata Mukherjee | Saghar Hosseini | Kai-Wei Chang | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Multilingual representations embed words from many languages into a single semantic space such that words with similar meanings are close to each other regardless of the language. These embeddings have been widely used in various settings, such as cross-lingual transfer, where a natural language processing (NLP) model trained on one language is deployed to another language. While the cross-lingual transfer techniques are powerful, they carry gender bias from the source to target languages. In this paper, we study gender bias in multilingual embeddings and how it affects transfer learning for NLP applications. We create a multilingual dataset for bias analysis and propose several ways for quantifying bias in multilingual representations from both the intrinsic and extrinsic perspectives. Experimental results show that the magnitude of bias in the multilingual representations changes differently when we align the embeddings to different target spaces and that the alignment direction can also have an influence on the bias in transfer learning. We further provide recommendations for using the multilingual word representations for downstream tasks.