The success of a text simplification system heavily depends on the quality and quantity of complex-simple sentence pairs in the training corpus, which are extracted by aligning sentences between parallel articles. To evaluate and improve sentence alignment quality, we create two manually annotated sentence-aligned datasets from two commonly used text simplification corpora, Newsela and Wikipedia. We propose a novel neural CRF alignment model which not only leverages the sequential nature of sentences in parallel documents but also utilizes a neural sentence pair model to capture semantic similarity. Experiments demonstrate that our proposed approach outperforms all the previous work on monolingual sentence alignment task by more than 5 points in F1. We apply our CRF aligner to construct two new text simplification datasets, Newsela-Auto and Wiki-Auto, which are much larger and of better quality compared to the existing datasets. A Transformer-based seq2seq model trained on our datasets establishes a new state-of-the-art for text simplification in both automatic and human evaluation.
Word embedding is a key component in many downstream applications in processing natural languages. Existing approaches often assume the existence of a large collection of text for learning effective word embedding. However, such a corpus may not be available for some low-resource languages. In this paper, we study how to effectively learn a word embedding model on a corpus with only a few million tokens. In such a situation, the co-occurrence matrix is sparse as the co-occurrences of many word pairs are unobserved. In contrast to existing approaches often only sample a few unobserved word pairs as negative samples, we argue that the zero entries in the co-occurrence matrix also provide valuable information. We then design a Positive-Unlabeled Learning (PU-Learning) approach to factorize the co-occurrence matrix and validate the proposed approaches in four different languages.