Unsupervised Neural Machine Translation with Future Rewarding

Xiangpeng Wei, Yue Hu, Luxi Xing, Li Gao
2019 Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)  
In this paper, we alleviate the local optimality of back-translation by learning a policy (takes the form of an encoder-decoder and is defined by its parameters) with future rewarding under the reinforcement learning framework, which aims to optimize the global word predictions for unsupervised neural machine translation. To this end, we design a novel reward function to characterize high-quality translations from two aspects: n-gram matching and semantic adequacy. The n-gram matching is
more » ... matching is defined as an alternative for the discrete BLEU metric, and the semantic adequacy is used to measure the adequacy of conveying the meaning of the source sentence to the target. During training, our model strives for earning higher rewards by learning to produce grammatically more accurate and semantically more adequate translations. Besides, a variational inference network (VIN) is proposed to constrain the corresponding sentences in two languages have the same or similar latent semantic code. On the widely used WMT'14 English-French, WMT'16 English-German and NIST Chineseto-English benchmarks, our models respectively obtain 27. 59/27.15, 19.65/23.42 and 22.40 BLEU points without using any labeled data, demonstrating consistent improvements over previous unsupervised NMT models.
doi:10.18653/v1/k19-1027 dblp:conf/conll/WeiHXG19 fatcat:tc6clcjem5c33osywwkkdk6hr4