Cross-lingual Language Model Pretraining

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Authors

Alexis CONNEAU, Guillaume Lample

Abstract

<p>Recent studies have demonstrated the efficiency of generative pretraining for English natural language understanding. In this work, we extend this approach to multiple languages and show the effectiveness of cross-lingual pretraining. We propose two methods to learn cross-lingual language models (XLMs): one unsupervised that only relies on monolingual data, and one supervised that leverages parallel data with a new cross-lingual language model objective. We obtain state-of-the-art results on cross-lingual classification, unsupervised and supervised machine translation. On XNLI, our approach pushes the state of the art by an absolute gain of 4.9% accuracy. On unsupervised machine translation, we obtain 34.3 BLEU on WMT'16 German-English, improving the previous state of the art by more than 9 BLEU. On supervised machine translation, we obtain a new state of the art of 38.5 BLEU on WMT'16 Romanian-English, outperforming the previous best approach by more than 4 BLEU. Our code and pretrained models will be made publicly available.</p>