Cross-lingual word embeddings (CLWE) are often evaluated on bilingual lexicon induction (BLI). Recent CLWE methods use linear projections, which underfit the training dictionary, to generalize on BLI. However, underfitting can hinder generalization to other downstream tasks that rely on words from the training dictionary. We address this limitation by retrofitting CLWE to the training dictionary, which pulls training translation pairs closer in the embedding space and overfits the training dictionary. This simple post-processing step often improves accuracy on two downstream tasks, despite lowering BLI test accuracy. We also retrofit to both the training dictionary and a synthetic dictionary induced from CLWE, which sometimes generalizes even better on downstream tasks. Our results confirm the importance of fully exploiting training dictionary in downstream tasks and explains why BLI is a flawed CLWE evaluation.
Cross-lingual word embeddings transfer knowledge between languages: models trained on high-resource languages can predict in low-resource languages. We introduce CLIME, an interactive system to quickly refine cross-lingual word embeddings for a given classification problem. First, CLIME ranks words by their salience to the downstream task. Then, users mark similarity between keywords and their nearest neighbors in the embedding space. Finally, CLIME updates the embeddings using the annotations. We evaluate CLIME on identifying health-related text in four low-resource languages: Ilocano, Sinhalese, Tigrinya, and Uyghur. Embeddings refined by CLIME capture more nuanced word semantics and have higher test accuracy than the original embeddings. CLIME often improves accuracy faster than an active learning baseline and can be easily combined with active learning to improve results.
Cross-lingual word embeddings (CLWE) underlie many multilingual natural language processing systems, often through orthogonal transformations of pre-trained monolingual embeddings. However, orthogonal mapping only works on language pairs whose embeddings are naturally isomorphic. For non-isomorphic pairs, our method (Iterative Normalization) transforms monolingual embeddings to make orthogonal alignment easier by simultaneously enforcing that (1) individual word vectors are unit length, and (2) each language’s average vector is zero. Iterative Normalization consistently improves word translation accuracy of three CLWE methods, with the largest improvement observed on English-Japanese (from 2% to 44% test accuracy).