Few-Shot Natural Language Generation by Rewriting Templates

Mihir Kale, Abhinav Rastogi

Virtual assistants such as Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri enable users to interact with a large number of services and APIs on the web using natural language. The response generation module converts the actions generated by a policy module into a natural language utterance. Traditionally, template based approaches have been used for response generation in virtual assistants. However, such approaches are not feasible for commercial assistants, which need to support a large number of services. Defining templates for a large number of slot combinations for each of the services supported by large scale assistants becomes tedious. In this work, we propose a template rewriting method for Natural Language Generation (NLG), where the number of templates scales only linearly with the number of slots. A set of simple templates is used to convert actions into utterances, which are concatenated to give a semantically correct, but possibly incoherent and ungrammatical utterance. A pre-trained language model is subsequently employed to rewrite it into coherent, natural sounding text. Through automatic metrics and human evaluation, we show that our method improves over strong baselines, while being much more sample efficient.

Knowledge Graph

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