Robust Cross-lingual Embeddings from Parallel Sentences Download PDF

25 Sep 2019 (modified: 24 Dec 2019)ICLR 2020 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
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  • TL;DR: Joint method for learning cross-lingual embeddings with state-of-art performance for cross-lingual tasks and mono-lingual quality
  • Abstract: Recent advances in cross-lingual word embeddings have primarily relied on mapping-based methods, which project pretrained word embeddings from different languages into a shared space through a linear transformation. However, these approaches assume word embedding spaces are isomorphic between different languages, which has been shown not to hold in practice (Søgaard et al., 2018), and fundamentally limits their performance. This motivates investigating joint learning methods which can overcome this impediment, by simultaneously learning embeddings across languages via a cross-lingual term in the training objective. Given the abundance of parallel data available (Tiedemann, 2012), we propose a bilingual extension of the CBOW method which leverages sentence-aligned corpora to obtain robust cross-lingual word and sentence representations. Our approach significantly improves cross-lingual sentence retrieval performance over all other approaches, as well as convincingly outscores mapping methods while maintaining parity with jointly trained methods on word-translation. It also achieves parity with a deep RNN method on a zero-shot cross-lingual document classification task, requiring far fewer computational resources for training and inference. As an additional advantage, our bilingual method also improves the quality of monolingual word vectors despite training on much smaller datasets. We make our code and models publicly available.
  • Keywords: Cross-lingual embeddings, sent2vec, word2vec, bilingual, word translation, sentence retrieval, text, NLP, word vectors, sentence vectors
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