Do we really need fully unsupervised cross-lingual embeddings?
EMNLP-IJCNLP 2019 - 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, Proceedings of the Conference
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Vulić, I., Glavaš, G., Reichart, R., & Korhonen, A. (2020). Do we really need fully unsupervised cross-lingual embeddings?. EMNLP-IJCNLP 2019 - 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, Proceedings of the Conference, 4407-4418. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.44007
Recent efforts in cross-lingual word embedding (CLWE) learning have predominantly focused on fully unsupervised approaches that project monolingual embeddings into a shared cross-lingual space without any cross-lingual signal. The lack of any supervision makes such approaches conceptually attractive. Yet, their only core difference from (weakly) supervised projection-based CLWE methods is in the way they obtain a seed dictionary used to initialize an iterative self-learning procedure. The fully unsupervised methods have arguably become more robust, and their primary use case is CLWE induction for pairs of resource-poor and distant languages. In this paper, we question the ability of even the most robust unsupervised CLWE approaches to induce meaningful CLWEs in these more challenging settings. A series of bilingual lexicon induction (BLI) experiments with 15 diverse languages (210 language pairs) show that fully unsupervised CLWE methods still fail for a large number of language pairs (e.g., they yield zero BLI performance for 87/210 pairs). Even when they succeed, they never surpass the performance of weakly supervised methods (seeded with 500-1,000 translation pairs) using the same self-learning procedure in any BLI setup, and the gaps are often substantial. These findings call for revisiting the main motivations behind fully unsupervised CLWE methods.
ECH2020 EUROPEAN RESEARCH COUNCIL (ERC) (648909)
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.44007
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/296966
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