Poster
Dual Learning for Machine Translation
Di He · Yingce Xia · Tao Qin · Liwei Wang · Nenghai Yu · Tie-Yan Liu · Wei-Ying Ma

Tue Dec 6th 06:00 -- 09:30 PM @ Area 5+6+7+8 #4 #None
While neural machine translation (NMT) is making good progress in the past two years, tens of millions of bilingual sentence pairs are needed for its training. However, human labeling is very costly. To tackle this training data bottleneck, we develop a dual-learning mechanism, which can enable an NMT system to automatically learn from unlabeled data through a dual-learning game. This mechanism is inspired by the following observation: any machine translation task has a dual task, e.g., English-to-French translation (primal) versus French-to-English translation (dual); the primal and dual tasks can form a closed loop, and generate informative feedback signals to train the translation models, even if without the involvement of a human labeler. In the dual-learning mechanism, we use one agent to represent the model for the primal task and the other agent to represent the model for the dual task, then ask them to teach each other through a reinforcement learning process. Based on the feedback signals generated during this process (e.g., the language-model likelihood of the output of a model, and the reconstruction error of the original sentence after the primal and dual translations), we can iteratively update the two models until convergence (e.g., using the policy gradient methods). We call the corresponding approach to neural machine translation \emph{dual-NMT}. Experiments show that dual-NMT works very well on English$\leftrightarrow$French translation; especially, by learning from monolingual data (with 10\% bilingual data for warm start), it achieves a comparable accuracy to NMT trained from the full bilingual data for the French-to-English translation task.

Author Information

Di He (Microsoft)
Yingce Xia (USTC)
Tao Qin (Microsoft)
Liwei Wang (Peking University)
Nenghai Yu (USTC)
Tie-Yan Liu (Microsoft)

Tie-Yan Liu is an assistant managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, leading the machine learning research area. He is very well known for his pioneer work on learning to rank and computational advertising, and his recent research interests include deep learning, reinforcement learning, and distributed machine learning. Many of his technologies have been transferred to Microsoft’s products and online services (such as Bing, Microsoft Advertising, Windows, Xbox, and Azure), and open-sourced through Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK), Microsoft Distributed Machine Learning Toolkit (DMTK), and Microsoft Graph Engine. He has also been actively contributing to academic communities. He is an adjunct/honorary professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), University of Nottingham, and several other universities in China. He has published 200+ papers in refereed conferences and journals, with over 17000 citations. He has won quite a few awards, including the best student paper award at SIGIR (2008), the most cited paper award at Journal of Visual Communications and Image Representation (2004-2006), the research break-through award (2012) and research-team-of-the-year award (2017) at Microsoft Research, and Top-10 Springer Computer Science books by Chinese authors (2015), and the most cited Chinese researcher by Elsevier (2017). He has been invited to serve as general chair, program committee chair, local chair, or area chair for a dozen of top conferences including SIGIR, WWW, KDD, ICML, NIPS, IJCAI, AAAI, ACL, ICTIR, as well as associate editor of ACM Transactions on Information Systems, ACM Transactions on the Web, and Neurocomputing. Tie-Yan Liu is a fellow of the IEEE, and a distinguished member of the ACM.

Wei-Ying Ma (Microsoft)

More from the Same Authors