Tommaso Pasini


Reducing Disambiguation Biases in NMT by Leveraging Explicit Word Sense Information
Niccolò Campolungo | Tommaso Pasini | Denis Emelin | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent studies have shed some light on a common pitfall of Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models, stemming from their struggle to disambiguate polysemous words without lapsing into their most frequently occurring senses in the training corpus.In this paper, we first provide a novel approach for automatically creating high-precision sense-annotated parallel corpora, and then put forward a specifically tailored fine-tuning strategy for exploiting these sense annotations during training without introducing any additional requirement at inference time.The use of explicit senses proved to be beneficial to reduce the disambiguation bias of a baseline NMT model, while, at the same time, leading our system to attain higher BLEU scores than its vanilla counterpart in 3 language pairs.

FairLex: A Multilingual Benchmark for Evaluating Fairness in Legal Text Processing
Ilias Chalkidis | Tommaso Pasini | Sheng Zhang | Letizia Tomada | Sebastian Schwemer | Anders Søgaard
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present a benchmark suite of four datasets for evaluating the fairness of pre-trained language models and the techniques used to fine-tune them for downstream tasks. Our benchmarks cover four jurisdictions (European Council, USA, Switzerland, and China), five languages (English, German, French, Italian and Chinese) and fairness across five attributes (gender, age, region, language, and legal area). In our experiments, we evaluate pre-trained language models using several group-robust fine-tuning techniques and show that performance group disparities are vibrant in many cases, while none of these techniques guarantee fairness, nor consistently mitigate group disparities. Furthermore, we provide a quantitative and qualitative analysis of our results, highlighting open challenges in the development of robustness methods in legal NLP.


Wikipedia Entities as Rendezvous across Languages: Grounding Multilingual Language Models by Predicting Wikipedia Hyperlinks
Iacer Calixto | Alessandro Raganato | Tommaso Pasini
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Masked language models have quickly become the de facto standard when processing text. Recently, several approaches have been proposed to further enrich word representations with external knowledge sources such as knowledge graphs. However, these models are devised and evaluated in a monolingual setting only. In this work, we propose a language-independent entity prediction task as an intermediate training procedure to ground word representations on entity semantics and bridge the gap across different languages by means of a shared vocabulary of entities. We show that our approach effectively injects new lexical-semantic knowledge into neural models, improving their performance on different semantic tasks in the zero-shot crosslingual setting. As an additional advantage, our intermediate training does not require any supplementary input, allowing our models to be applied to new datasets right away. In our experiments, we use Wikipedia articles in up to 100 languages and already observe consistent gains compared to strong baselines when predicting entities using only the English Wikipedia. Further adding extra languages lead to improvements in most tasks up to a certain point, but overall we found it non-trivial to scale improvements in model transferability by training on ever increasing amounts of Wikipedia languages.

ESC: Redesigning WSD with Extractive Sense Comprehension
Edoardo Barba | Tommaso Pasini | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Word Sense Disambiguation (WSD) is a historical NLP task aimed at linking words in contexts to discrete sense inventories and it is usually cast as a multi-label classification task. Recently, several neural approaches have employed sense definitions to better represent word meanings. Yet, these approaches do not observe the input sentence and the sense definition candidates all at once, thus potentially reducing the model performance and generalization power. We cope with this issue by reframing WSD as a span extraction problem — which we called Extractive Sense Comprehension (ESC) — and propose ESCHER, a transformer-based neural architecture for this new formulation. By means of an extensive array of experiments, we show that ESC unleashes the full potential of our model, leading it to outdo all of its competitors and to set a new state of the art on the English WSD task. In the few-shot scenario, ESCHER proves to exploit training data efficiently, attaining the same performance as its closest competitor while relying on almost three times fewer annotations. Furthermore, ESCHER can nimbly combine data annotated with senses from different lexical resources, achieving performances that were previously out of everyone’s reach. The model along with data is available at

IR like a SIR: Sense-enhanced Information Retrieval for Multiple Languages
Rexhina Blloshmi | Tommaso Pasini | Niccolò Campolungo | Somnath Banerjee | Roberto Navigli | Gabriella Pasi
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

With the advent of contextualized embeddings, attention towards neural ranking approaches for Information Retrieval increased considerably. However, two aspects have remained largely neglected: i) queries usually consist of few keywords only, which increases ambiguity and makes their contextualization harder, and ii) performing neural ranking on non-English documents is still cumbersome due to shortage of labeled datasets. In this paper we present SIR (Sense-enhanced Information Retrieval) to mitigate both problems by leveraging word sense information. At the core of our approach lies a novel multilingual query expansion mechanism based on Word Sense Disambiguation that provides sense definitions as additional semantic information for the query. Importantly, we use senses as a bridge across languages, thus allowing our model to perform considerably better than its supervised and unsupervised alternatives across French, German, Italian and Spanish languages on several CLEF benchmarks, while being trained on English Robust04 data only. We release SIR at


A Short Survey on Sense-Annotated Corpora
Tommaso Pasini | Jose Camacho-Collados
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Large sense-annotated datasets are increasingly necessary for training deep supervised systems in Word Sense Disambiguation. However, gathering high-quality sense-annotated data for as many instances as possible is a laborious and expensive task. This has led to the proliferation of automatic and semi-automatic methods for overcoming the so-called knowledge-acquisition bottleneck. In this short survey we present an overview of sense-annotated corpora, annotated either manually- or (semi)automatically, that are currently available for different languages and featuring distinct lexical resources as inventory of senses, i.e. WordNet, Wikipedia, BabelNet. Furthermore, we provide the reader with general statistics of each dataset and an analysis of their specific features.

Sense-Annotated Corpora for Word Sense Disambiguation in Multiple Languages and Domains
Bianca Scarlini | Tommaso Pasini | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

The knowledge acquisition bottleneck problem dramatically hampers the creation of sense-annotated data for Word Sense Disambiguation (WSD). Sense-annotated data are scarce for English and almost absent for other languages. This limits the range of action of deep-learning approaches, which today are at the base of any NLP task and are hungry for data. We mitigate this issue and encourage further research in multilingual WSD by releasing to the NLP community five large datasets annotated with word-senses in five different languages, namely, English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, and 5 distinct datasets in English, each for a different semantic domain. We show that supervised WSD models trained on our data attain higher performance than when trained on other automatically-created corpora. We release all our data containing more than 15 million annotated instances in 5 different languages at

With More Contexts Comes Better Performance: Contextualized Sense Embeddings for All-Round Word Sense Disambiguation
Bianca Scarlini | Tommaso Pasini | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Contextualized word embeddings have been employed effectively across several tasks in Natural Language Processing, as they have proved to carry useful semantic information. However, it is still hard to link them to structured sources of knowledge. In this paper we present ARES (context-AwaRe Embeddings of Senses), a semi-supervised approach to producing sense embeddings for the lexical meanings within a lexical knowledge base that lie in a space that is comparable to that of contextualized word vectors. ARES representations enable a simple 1 Nearest-Neighbour algorithm to outperform state-of-the-art models, not only in the English Word Sense Disambiguation task, but also in the multilingual one, whilst training on sense-annotated data in English only. We further assess the quality of our embeddings in the Word-in-Context task, where, when used as an external source of knowledge, they consistently improve the performance of a neural model, leading it to compete with other more complex architectures. ARES embeddings for all WordNet concepts and the automatically-extracted contexts used for creating the sense representations are freely available at

XL-WiC: A Multilingual Benchmark for Evaluating Semantic Contextualization
Alessandro Raganato | Tommaso Pasini | Jose Camacho-Collados | Mohammad Taher Pilehvar
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

The ability to correctly model distinct meanings of a word is crucial for the effectiveness of semantic representation techniques. However, most existing evaluation benchmarks for assessing this criterion are tied to sense inventories (usually WordNet), restricting their usage to a small subset of knowledge-based representation techniques. The Word-in-Context dataset (WiC) addresses the dependence on sense inventories by reformulating the standard disambiguation task as a binary classification problem; but, it is limited to the English language. We put forward a large multilingual benchmark, XL-WiC, featuring gold standards in 12 new languages from varied language families and with different degrees of resource availability, opening room for evaluation scenarios such as zero-shot cross-lingual transfer. We perform a series of experiments to determine the reliability of the datasets and to set performance baselines for several recent contextualized multilingual models. Experimental results show that even when no tagged instances are available for a target language, models trained solely on the English data can attain competitive performance in the task of distinguishing different meanings of a word, even for distant languages. XL-WiC is available at

CluBERT: A Cluster-Based Approach for Learning Sense Distributions in Multiple Languages
Tommaso Pasini | Federico Scozzafava | Bianca Scarlini
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Knowing the Most Frequent Sense (MFS) of a word has been proved to help Word Sense Disambiguation (WSD) models significantly. However, the scarcity of sense-annotated data makes it difficult to induce a reliable and high-coverage distribution of the meanings in a language vocabulary. To address this issue, in this paper we present CluBERT, an automatic and multilingual approach for inducing the distributions of word senses from a corpus of raw sentences. Our experiments show that CluBERT learns distributions over English senses that are of higher quality than those extracted by alternative approaches. When used to induce the MFS of a lemma, CluBERT attains state-of-the-art results on the English Word Sense Disambiguation tasks and helps to improve the disambiguation performance of two off-the-shelf WSD models. Moreover, our distributions also prove to be effective in other languages, beating all their alternatives for computing the MFS on the multilingual WSD tasks. We release our sense distributions in five different languages at


Just “OneSeC” for Producing Multilingual Sense-Annotated Data
Bianca Scarlini | Tommaso Pasini | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

The well-known problem of knowledge acquisition is one of the biggest issues in Word Sense Disambiguation (WSD), where annotated data are still scarce in English and almost absent in other languages. In this paper we formulate the assumption of One Sense per Wikipedia Category and present OneSeC, a language-independent method for the automatic extraction of hundreds of thousands of sentences in which a target word is tagged with its meaning. Our automatically-generated data consistently lead a supervised WSD model to state-of-the-art performance when compared with other automatic and semi-automatic methods. Moreover, our approach outperforms its competitors on multilingual and domain-specific settings, where it beats the existing state of the art on all languages and most domains. All the training data are available for research purposes at


Huge Automatically Extracted Training-Sets for Multilingual Word SenseDisambiguation
Tommaso Pasini | Francesco Elia | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018)

SemEval-2018 Task 9: Hypernym Discovery
Jose Camacho-Collados | Claudio Delli Bovi | Luis Espinosa-Anke | Sergio Oramas | Tommaso Pasini | Enrico Santus | Vered Shwartz | Roberto Navigli | Horacio Saggion
Proceedings of the 12th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

This paper describes the SemEval 2018 Shared Task on Hypernym Discovery. We put forward this task as a complementary benchmark for modeling hypernymy, a problem which has traditionally been cast as a binary classification task, taking a pair of candidate words as input. Instead, our reformulated task is defined as follows: given an input term, retrieve (or discover) its suitable hypernyms from a target corpus. We proposed five different subtasks covering three languages (English, Spanish, and Italian), and two specific domains of knowledge in English (Medical and Music). Participants were allowed to compete in any or all of the subtasks. Overall, a total of 11 teams participated, with a total of 39 different systems submitted through all subtasks. Data, results and further information about the task can be found at


Train-O-Matic: Large-Scale Supervised Word Sense Disambiguation in Multiple Languages without Manual Training Data
Tommaso Pasini | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Annotating large numbers of sentences with senses is the heaviest requirement of current Word Sense Disambiguation. We present Train-O-Matic, a language-independent method for generating millions of sense-annotated training instances for virtually all meanings of words in a language’s vocabulary. The approach is fully automatic: no human intervention is required and the only type of human knowledge used is a WordNet-like resource. Train-O-Matic achieves consistently state-of-the-art performance across gold standard datasets and languages, while at the same time removing the burden of manual annotation. All the training data is available for research purposes at


Two Is Bigger (and Better) Than One: the Wikipedia Bitaxonomy Project
Tiziano Flati | Daniele Vannella | Tommaso Pasini | Roberto Navigli
Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)