Jonathan Mallinson


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FELIX: Flexible Text Editing Through Tagging and Insertion
Jonathan Mallinson | Aliaksei Severyn | Eric Malmi | Guillermo Garrido
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

We present FELIX – a flexible text-editing approach for generation, designed to derive maximum benefit from the ideas of decoding with bi-directional contexts and self-supervised pretraining. In contrast to conventional sequenceto-sequence (seq2seq) models, FELIX is efficient in low-resource settings and fast at inference time, while being capable of modeling flexible input-output transformations. We achieve this by decomposing the text-editing task into two sub-tasks: tagging to decide on the subset of input tokens and their order in the output text and insertion to in-fill the missing tokens in the output not present in the input. The tagging model employs a novel Pointer mechanism, while the insertion model is based on a Masked Language Model (MLM). Both of these models are chosen to be non-autoregressive to guarantee faster inference. FELIX performs favourably when compared to recent text-editing methods and strong seq2seq baselines when evaluated on four NLG tasks: Sentence Fusion, Machine Translation Automatic Post-Editing, Summarization, and Text Simplification

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Zero-Shot Crosslingual Sentence Simplification
Jonathan Mallinson | Rico Sennrich | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Sentence simplification aims to make sentences easier to read and understand. Recent approaches have shown promising results with encoder-decoder models trained on large amounts of parallel data which often only exists in English. We propose a zero-shot modeling framework which transfers simplification knowledge from English to another language (for which no parallel simplification corpus exists) while generalizing across languages and tasks. A shared transformer encoder constructs language-agnostic representations, with a combination of task-specific encoder layers added on top (e.g., for translation and simplification). Empirical results using both human and automatic metrics show that our approach produces better simplifications than unsupervised and pivot-based methods.


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University of Edinburgh’s submission to the Document-level Generation and Translation Shared Task
Ratish Puduppully | Jonathan Mallinson | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Neural Generation and Translation

The University of Edinburgh participated in all six tracks: NLG, MT, and MT+NLG with both English and German as targeted languages. For the NLG track, we submitted a multilingual system based on the Content Selection and Planning model of Puduppully et al (2019). For the MT track, we submitted Transformer-based Neural Machine Translation models, where out-of-domain parallel data was augmented with in-domain data extracted from monolingual corpora. Our MT+NLG systems disregard the structured input data and instead rely exclusively on the source summaries.


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Sentence Compression for Arbitrary Languages via Multilingual Pivoting
Jonathan Mallinson | Rico Sennrich | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

In this paper we advocate the use of bilingual corpora which are abundantly available for training sentence compression models. Our approach borrows much of its machinery from neural machine translation and leverages bilingual pivoting: compressions are obtained by translating a source string into a foreign language and then back-translating it into the source while controlling the translation length. Our model can be trained for any language as long as a bilingual corpus is available and performs arbitrary rewrites without access to compression specific data. We release. Moss, a new parallel Multilingual Compression dataset for English, German, and French which can be used to evaluate compression models across languages and genres.


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Paraphrasing Revisited with Neural Machine Translation
Jonathan Mallinson | Rico Sennrich | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 1, Long Papers

Recognizing and generating paraphrases is an important component in many natural language processing applications. A well-established technique for automatically extracting paraphrases leverages bilingual corpora to find meaning-equivalent phrases in a single language by “pivoting” over a shared translation in another language. In this paper we revisit bilingual pivoting in the context of neural machine translation and present a paraphrasing model based purely on neural networks. Our model represents paraphrases in a continuous space, estimates the degree of semantic relatedness between text segments of arbitrary length, and generates candidate paraphrases for any source input. Experimental results across tasks and datasets show that neural paraphrases outperform those obtained with conventional phrase-based pivoting approaches.

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Learning Paraphrastic Sentence Embeddings from Back-Translated Bitext
John Wieting | Jonathan Mallinson | Kevin Gimpel
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We consider the problem of learning general-purpose, paraphrastic sentence embeddings in the setting of Wieting et al. (2016b). We use neural machine translation to generate sentential paraphrases via back-translation of bilingual sentence pairs. We evaluate the paraphrase pairs by their ability to serve as training data for learning paraphrastic sentence embeddings. We find that the data quality is stronger than prior work based on bitext and on par with manually-written English paraphrase pairs, with the advantage that our approach can scale up to generate large training sets for many languages and domains. We experiment with several language pairs and data sources, and develop a variety of data filtering techniques. In the process, we explore how neural machine translation output differs from human-written sentences, finding clear differences in length, the amount of repetition, and the use of rare words.

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Learning to Paraphrase for Question Answering
Li Dong | Jonathan Mallinson | Siva Reddy | Mirella Lapata
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Question answering (QA) systems are sensitive to the many different ways natural language expresses the same information need. In this paper we turn to paraphrases as a means of capturing this knowledge and present a general framework which learns felicitous paraphrases for various QA tasks. Our method is trained end-to-end using question-answer pairs as a supervision signal. A question and its paraphrases serve as input to a neural scoring model which assigns higher weights to linguistic expressions most likely to yield correct answers. We evaluate our approach on QA over Freebase and answer sentence selection. Experimental results on three datasets show that our framework consistently improves performance, achieving competitive results despite the use of simple QA models.