Hint-based Training for Non-Autoregressive Translation

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Machine translation is an important real-world application, and neural network-based AutoRegressive Translation (ART) models have achieved very promising accuracy. Due to the unparallelizable nature of the autoregressive factorization, ART models have to generate tokens one by one during decoding and thus suffer from high inference latency. Recently, Non-AutoRegressive Translation (NART) models were proposed to reduce the inference time. However, they could only achieve inferior accuracy compared with ART models. To improve the accuracy of NART models, in this paper, we propose to leverage the hints from a well-trained ART model to train the NART model. We define two hints for the machine translation task: hints from hidden states and hints from word alignments, and use such hints to regularize the optimization of NART models. Experimental results show that the NART model trained with hints could achieve significantly better translation performance than previous NART models on several tasks. In particular, for the WMT14 En-De and De-En task, we obtain BLEU scores of 25.20 and 29.52 respectively, which largely outperforms the previous non-autoregressive baselines. It is even comparable to a strong LSTM-based ART model (24.60 on WMT14 En-De), but one order of magnitude faster in inference.
  • Keywords: Natural Language Processing, Machine Translation, Non-Autoregressive Model
  • TL;DR: We develop a training algorithm for non-autoregressive machine translation models, achieving comparable accuracy to strong autoregressive baselines, but one order of magnitude faster in inference.
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