Are Girls Neko or Sh\=ojo? Cross-Lingual Alignment of Non-Isomorphic Embeddings with Iterative Normalization

Mozhi Zhang, Keyulu Xu, Ken-ichi Kawarabayashi, Stefanie Jegelka, Jordan Boyd-Graber

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).

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