Diverse Machine Translation with a Single Multinomial Latent Variable

Tianxiao Shen, Myle Ott, Michael Auli, Marc’Aurelio Ranzato

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: There are many ways to translate a sentence into another language. Explicit modeling of such uncertainty may enable better model fitting to the data and it may enable users to express a preference for how to translate a piece of content. Latent variable models are a natural way to represent uncertainty. Prior work investigated the use of multivariate continuous and discrete latent variables, but their interpretation and use for generating a diverse set of hypotheses have been elusive. In this work, we drastically simplify the model, using just a single multinomial latent variable. The resulting mixture of experts model can be trained efficiently via hard-EM and can generate a diverse set of hypothesis by parallel greedy decoding. We perform extensive experiments on three WMT benchmark datasets that have multiple human references, and we show that our model provides a better trade-off between quality and diversity of generations compared to all baseline methods.\footnote{Code to reproduce this work is available at: anonymized URL.}
  • Keywords: machine translation, latent variable models, diverse decoding
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