Synthesizing Monolingual Data for Neural Machine Translation

Benjamin Marie, Atsushi Fujita

In neural machine translation (NMT), monolingual data in the target language are usually exploited through a method so-called "back-translation" to synthesize additional training parallel data. The synthetic data have been shown helpful to train better NMT, especially for low-resource language pairs and domains. Nonetheless, large monolingual data in the target domains or languages are not always available to generate large synthetic parallel data. In this work, we propose a new method to generate large synthetic parallel data leveraging very small monolingual data in a specific domain. We fine-tune a pre-trained GPT-2 model on such small in-domain monolingual data and use the resulting model to generate a large amount of synthetic in-domain monolingual data. Then, we perform back-translation, or forward translation, to generate synthetic in-domain parallel data. Our preliminary experiments on three language pairs and five domains show the effectiveness of our method to generate fully synthetic but useful in-domain parallel data for improving NMT in all configurations. We also show promising results in extreme adaptation for personalized NMT.

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