Elizabeth Salesky


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Phone Features Improve Speech Translation
Elizabeth Salesky | Alan W Black
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

End-to-end models for speech translation (ST) more tightly couple speech recognition (ASR) and machine translation (MT) than a traditional cascade of separate ASR and MT models, with simpler model architectures and the potential for reduced error propagation. Their performance is often assumed to be superior, though in many conditions this is not yet the case. We compare cascaded and end-to-end models across high, medium, and low-resource conditions, and show that cascades remain stronger baselines. Further, we introduce two methods to incorporate phone features into ST models. We show that these features improve both architectures, closing the gap between end-to-end models and cascades, and outperforming previous academic work – by up to 9 BLEU on our low-resource setting.

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A Corpus for Large-Scale Phonetic Typology
Elizabeth Salesky | Eleanor Chodroff | Tiago Pimentel | Matthew Wiesner | Ryan Cotterell | Alan W Black | Jason Eisner
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

A major hurdle in data-driven research on typology is having sufficient data in many languages to draw meaningful conclusions. We present VoxClamantis v1.0, the first large-scale corpus for phonetic typology, with aligned segments and estimated phoneme-level labels in 690 readings spanning 635 languages, along with acoustic-phonetic measures of vowels and sibilants. Access to such data can greatly facilitate investigation of phonetic typology at a large scale and across many languages. However, it is non-trivial and computationally intensive to obtain such alignments for hundreds of languages, many of which have few to no resources presently available. We describe the methodology to create our corpus, discuss caveats with current methods and their impact on the utility of this data, and illustrate possible research directions through a series of case studies on the 48 highest-quality readings. Our corpus and scripts are publicly available for non-commercial use at https://voxclamantisproject.github.io.

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Generalized Entropy Regularization or: There’s Nothing Special about Label Smoothing
Clara Meister | Elizabeth Salesky | Ryan Cotterell
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Prior work has explored directly regularizing the output distributions of probabilistic models to alleviate peaky (i.e. over-confident) predictions, a common sign of overfitting. This class of techniques, of which label smoothing is one, has a connection to entropy regularization. Despite the consistent success of label smoothing across architectures and data sets in language generation tasks, two problems remain open: (1) there is little understanding of the underlying effects entropy regularizers have on models, and (2) the full space of entropy regularization techniques is largely unexplored. We introduce a parametric family of entropy regularizers, which includes label smoothing as a special case, and use it to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the entropy of a model and its performance on language generation tasks. We also find that variance in model performance can be explained largely by the resulting entropy of the model. Lastly, we find that label smoothing provably does not allow for sparsity in an output distribution, an undesirable property for language generation models, and therefore advise the use of other entropy regularization methods in its place.

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Ebrahim Ansari | Amittai Axelrod | Nguyen Bach | Ondřej Bojar | Roldano Cattoni | Fahim Dalvi | Nadir Durrani | Marcello Federico | Christian Federmann | Jiatao Gu | Fei Huang | Kevin Knight | Xutai Ma | Ajay Nagesh | Matteo Negri | Jan Niehues | Juan Pino | Elizabeth Salesky | Xing Shi | Sebastian Stüker | Marco Turchi | Alexander Waibel | Changhan Wang
Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation

The evaluation campaign of the International Conference on Spoken Language Translation (IWSLT 2020) featured this year six challenge tracks: (i) Simultaneous speech translation, (ii) Video speech translation, (iii) Offline speech translation, (iv) Conversational speech translation, (v) Open domain translation, and (vi) Non-native speech translation. A total of teams participated in at least one of the tracks. This paper introduces each track’s goal, data and evaluation metrics, and reports the results of the received submissions.

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SIGTYP 2020 Shared Task: Prediction of Typological Features
Johannes Bjerva | Elizabeth Salesky | Sabrina J. Mielke | Aditi Chaudhary | Celano Giuseppe | Edoardo Maria Ponti | Ekaterina Vylomova | Ryan Cotterell | Isabelle Augenstein
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Computational Research in Linguistic Typology

Typological knowledge bases (KBs) such as WALS (Dryer and Haspelmath, 2013) contain information about linguistic properties of the world’s languages. They have been shown to be useful for downstream applications, including cross-lingual transfer learning and linguistic probing. A major drawback hampering broader adoption of typological KBs is that they are sparsely populated, in the sense that most languages only have annotations for some features, and skewed, in that few features have wide coverage. As typological features often correlate with one another, it is possible to predict them and thus automatically populate typological KBs, which is also the focus of this shared task. Overall, the task attracted 8 submissions from 5 teams, out of which the most successful methods make use of such feature correlations. However, our error analysis reveals that even the strongest submitted systems struggle with predicting feature values for languages where few features are known.

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SIGMORPHON 2020 Shared Task 0: Typologically Diverse Morphological Inflection
Ekaterina Vylomova | Jennifer White | Elizabeth Salesky | Sabrina J. Mielke | Shijie Wu | Edoardo Maria Ponti | Rowan Hall Maudslay | Ran Zmigrod | Josef Valvoda | Svetlana Toldova | Francis Tyers | Elena Klyachko | Ilya Yegorov | Natalia Krizhanovsky | Paula Czarnowska | Irene Nikkarinen | Andrew Krizhanovsky | Tiago Pimentel | Lucas Torroba Hennigen | Christo Kirov | Garrett Nicolai | Adina Williams | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Hilaria Cruz | Eleanor Chodroff | Ryan Cotterell | Miikka Silfverberg | Mans Hulden
Proceedings of the 17th SIGMORPHON Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology

A broad goal in natural language processing (NLP) is to develop a system that has the capacity to process any natural language. Most systems, however, are developed using data from just one language such as English. The SIGMORPHON 2020 shared task on morphological reinflection aims to investigate systems’ ability to generalize across typologically distinct languages, many of which are low resource. Systems were developed using data from 45 languages and just 5 language families, fine-tuned with data from an additional 45 languages and 10 language families (13 in total), and evaluated on all 90 languages. A total of 22 systems (19 neural) from 10 teams were submitted to the task. All four winning systems were neural (two monolingual transformers and two massively multilingual RNN-based models with gated attention). Most teams demonstrate utility of data hallucination and augmentation, ensembles, and multilingual training for low-resource languages. Non-neural learners and manually designed grammars showed competitive and even superior performance on some languages (such as Ingrian, Tajik, Tagalog, Zarma, Lingala), especially with very limited data. Some language families (Afro-Asiatic, Niger-Congo, Turkic) were relatively easy for most systems and achieved over 90% mean accuracy while others were more challenging.


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Exploring Phoneme-Level Speech Representations for End-to-End Speech Translation
Elizabeth Salesky | Matthias Sperber | Alan W Black
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Previous work on end-to-end translation from speech has primarily used frame-level features as speech representations, which creates longer, sparser sequences than text. We show that a naive method to create compressed phoneme-like speech representations is far more effective and efficient for translation than traditional frame-level speech features. Specifically, we generate phoneme labels for speech frames and average consecutive frames with the same label to create shorter, higher-level source sequences for translation. We see improvements of up to 5 BLEU on both our high and low resource language pairs, with a reduction in training time of 60%. Our improvements hold across multiple data sizes and two language pairs.

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CMU-01 at the SIGMORPHON 2019 Shared Task on Crosslinguality and Context in Morphology
Aditi Chaudhary | Elizabeth Salesky | Gayatri Bhat | David R. Mortensen | Jaime Carbonell | Yulia Tsvetkov
Proceedings of the 16th Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology

This paper presents the submission by the CMU-01 team to the SIGMORPHON 2019 task 2 of Morphological Analysis and Lemmatization in Context. This task requires us to produce the lemma and morpho-syntactic description of each token in a sequence, for 107 treebanks. We approach this task with a hierarchical neural conditional random field (CRF) model which predicts each coarse-grained feature (eg. POS, Case, etc.) independently. However, most treebanks are under-resourced, thus making it challenging to train deep neural models for them. Hence, we propose a multi-lingual transfer training regime where we transfer from multiple related languages that share similar typology.

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Fluent Translations from Disfluent Speech in End-to-End Speech Translation
Elizabeth Salesky | Matthias Sperber | Alexander Waibel
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

Spoken language translation applications for speech suffer due to conversational speech phenomena, particularly the presence of disfluencies. With the rise of end-to-end speech translation models, processing steps such as disfluency removal that were previously an intermediate step between speech recognition and machine translation need to be incorporated into model architectures. We use a sequence-to-sequence model to translate from noisy, disfluent speech to fluent text with disfluencies removed using the recently collected ‘copy-edited’ references for the Fisher Spanish-English dataset. We are able to directly generate fluent translations and introduce considerations about how to evaluate success on this task. This work provides a baseline for a new task, implicitly removing disfluencies in end-to-end translation of conversational speech.


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KIT Lecture Translator: Multilingual Speech Translation with One-Shot Learning
Florian Dessloch | Thanh-Le Ha | Markus Müller | Jan Niehues | Thai-Son Nguyen | Ngoc-Quan Pham | Elizabeth Salesky | Matthias Sperber | Sebastian Stüker | Thomas Zenkel | Alexander Waibel
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

In today’s globalized world we have the ability to communicate with people across the world. However, in many situations the language barrier still presents a major issue. For example, many foreign students coming to KIT to study are initially unable to follow a lecture in German. Therefore, we offer an automatic simultaneous interpretation service for students. To fulfill this task, we have developed a low-latency translation system that is adapted to lectures and covers several language pairs. While the switch from traditional Statistical Machine Translation to Neural Machine Translation (NMT) significantly improved performance, to integrate NMT into the speech translation framework required several adjustments. We have addressed the run-time constraints and different types of input. Furthermore, we utilized one-shot learning to easily add new topic-specific terms to the system. Besides better performance, NMT also enabled us increase our covered languages through multilingual NMT. % Combining these techniques, we are able to provide an adapted speech translation system for several European languages.


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The AFRL-MITLL WMT17 Systems: Old, New, Borrowed, BLEU
Jeremy Gwinnup | Timothy Anderson | Grant Erdmann | Katherine Young | Michaeel Kazi | Elizabeth Salesky | Brian Thompson | Jonathan Taylor
Proceedings of the Second Conference on Machine Translation


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Operational Assessment of Keyword Search on Oral History
Elizabeth Salesky | Jessica Ray | Wade Shen
Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'16)

This project assesses the resources necessary to make oral history searchable by means of automatic speech recognition (ASR). There are many inherent challenges in applying ASR to conversational speech: smaller training set sizes and varying demographics, among others. We assess the impact of dataset size, word error rate and term-weighted value on human search capability through an information retrieval task on Mechanical Turk. We use English oral history data collected by StoryCorps, a national organization that provides all people with the opportunity to record, share and preserve their stories, and control for a variety of demographics including age, gender, birthplace, and dialect on four different training set sizes. We show comparable search performance using a standard speech recognition system as with hand-transcribed data, which is promising for increased accessibility of conversational speech and oral history archives.

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The AFRL-MITLL WMT16 News-Translation Task Systems
Jeremy Gwinnup | Tim Anderson | Grant Erdmann | Katherine Young | Michaeel Kazi | Elizabeth Salesky | Brian Thompson
Proceedings of the First Conference on Machine Translation: Volume 2, Shared Task Papers


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The AFRL-MITLL WMT15 System: There’s More than One Way to Decode It!
Jeremy Gwinnup | Tim Anderson | Grant Erdmann | Katherine Young | Christina May | Michaeel Kazi | Elizabeth Salesky | Brian Thompson
Proceedings of the Tenth Workshop on Statistical Machine Translation


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Exploiting Morphological, Grammatical, and Semantic Correlates for Improved Text Difficulty Assessment
Elizabeth Salesky | Wade Shen
Proceedings of the Ninth Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications


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A Language-Independent Approach to Automatic Text Difficulty Assessment for Second-Language Learners
Wade Shen | Jennifer Williams | Tamas Marius | Elizabeth Salesky
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Predicting and Improving Text Readability for Target Reader Populations