Towards Continual Learning for Multilingual Machine Translation via Vocabulary Substitution

Xavier Garcia, Noah Constant, Ankur P. Parikh, Orhan Firat

We propose a straightforward vocabulary adaptation scheme to extend the language capacity of multilingual machine translation models, paving the way towards efficient continual learning for multilingual machine translation. Our approach is suitable for large-scale datasets, applies to distant languages with unseen scripts, incurs only minor degradation on the translation performance for the original language pairs and provides competitive performance even in the case where we only possess monolingual data for the new languages.

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