Shuai Lin


Data-to-Text Generation with Style Imitation
Shuai Lin | Wentao Wang | Zichao Yang | Xiaodan Liang | Frank F. Xu | Eric Xing | Zhiting Hu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Recent neural approaches to data-to-text generation have mostly focused on improving content fidelity while lacking explicit control over writing styles (e.g., sentence structures, word choices). More traditional systems use templates to determine the realization of text. Yet manual or automatic construction of high-quality templates is difficult, and a template acting as hard constraints could harm content fidelity when it does not match the record perfectly. We study a new way of stylistic control by using existing sentences as “soft” templates. That is, a model learns to imitate the writing style of any given exemplar sentence, with automatic adaptions to faithfully describe the record. The problem is challenging due to the lack of parallel data. We develop a neural approach that includes a hybrid attention-copy mechanism, learns with weak supervisions, and is enhanced with a new content coverage constraint. We conduct experiments in restaurants and sports domains. Results show our approach achieves stronger performance than a range of comparison methods. Our approach balances well between content fidelity and style control given exemplars that match the records to varying degrees.