Improving Cross-Lingual Transfer through Subtree-Aware Word Reordering

Ofir Arviv, Dmitry Nikolaev, Taelin Karidi, Omri Abend

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Despite the impressive growth of the abilities of multilingual language models, such as XLM-R and mT5, it has been shown that they still face difficulties when tackling typologically-distant languages, particularly in the low-resource setting. One obstacle for effective cross-lingual transfer is variability in word-order patterns. It can be potentially mitigated via source- or target-side word reordering, and numerous approaches to reordering have been proposed. However, they rely on language-specific rules, work on the level of POS tags, or only target the main clause, leaving subordinate clauses intact. To address these limitations, we present a new powerful reordering method, defined in terms of Universal Dependencies, that is able to learn fine-grained word-order patterns conditioned on the syntactic context from a small amount of annotated data and can be applied at all levels of the syntactic tree. We conduct experiments on a diverse set of tasks and show that our method consistently outperforms strong baselines over different language pairs and model architectures. This performance advantage holds true in both zero-shot and few-shot scenarios.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationFindings of the Association for Computational Linguistics
Subtitle of host publicationEMNLP 2023
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages718-736
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9798891760615
StatePublished - 2023
Event2023 Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 6 Dec 202310 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameFindings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Conference

Conference2023 Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023
Country/TerritorySingapore
CitySingapore
Period6/12/2310/12/23

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Association for Computational Linguistics.

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