Distributionally Robust Multilingual Machine Translation

Chunting Zhou, Daniel Levy, Xian Li, Marjan Ghazvininejad, Graham Neubig
2021 Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing   unpublished
Multilingual neural machine translation (MNMT) learns to translate multiple language pairs with a single model, potentially improving both the accuracy and the memoryefficiency of deployed models. However, the heavy data imbalance between languages hinders the model from performing uniformly across language pairs. In this paper, we propose a new learning objective for MNMT based on distributionally robust optimization, which minimizes the worst-case expected loss over the set of language pairs.
more » ... We further show how to practically optimize this objective for large translation corpora using an iterated best response scheme, which is both effective and incurs negligible additional computational cost compared to standard empirical risk minimization. We perform extensive experiments on three sets of languages from two datasets and show that our method consistently outperforms strong baseline methods in terms of average and per-language performance under both many-to-one and one-to-many translation settings. 1
doi:10.18653/v1/2021.emnlp-main.458 fatcat:mwnl6f465vbftoe7pzm3crii5a