- Abstract: In this paper, we propose to extend the recently introduced model-agnostic meta-learning algorithm (MAML, Finn et al., 2017) for low resource neural machine translation (NMT). We frame low-resource translation as a meta-learning problem, and we learn to adapt to low-resource languages based on multilingual high-resource language tasks. We use the universal lexical representation (Gu et al., 2018b) to overcome the input-output mismatch across different languages. We evaluate the proposed meta-learning strategy using eighteen European languages (Bg, Cs, Da, De, El, Es, Et, Fr, Hu, It, Lt, Nl, Pl, Pt, Sk, Sl, Sv and Ru) as source tasks and five diverse languages (Ro, Lv, Fi, Tr, and Ko) as target tasks. We show that the proposed approach significantly outperforms the multilingual, transfer learning based approach (Zoph et al., 2016) and enables us to train a competitive NMT system with only a fraction of training examples. For instance, the proposed approach can achieve as high as 22.04 BLEU on Romanian-English WMT’16 by seeing only 16,000 translated words (~600 parallel sentences).
- Keywords: neural machine translation, low resource translation, meta-learning, universal lexical representation
- TL;DR: we propose a meta-learning approach for low-resource neural machine translation that can rapidly learn to translate on a new language