BERTGEN: Multi-task Generation through BERT

Faidon Mitzalis, Ozan Caglayan, Pranava Madhyastha, Lucia Specia

We present BERTGEN, a novel generative, decoder-only model which extends BERT by fusing multimodal and multilingual pretrained models VL-BERT and M-BERT, respectively. BERTGEN is auto-regressively trained for language generation tasks, namely image captioning, machine translation and multimodal machine translation, under a multitask setting. With a comprehensive set of evaluations, we show that BERTGEN outperforms many strong baselines across the tasks explored. We also show BERTGEN's ability for zero-shot language generation, where it exhibits competitive performance to supervised counterparts. Finally, we conduct ablation studies which demonstrate that BERTGEN substantially benefits from multi-tasking and effectively transfers relevant inductive biases from the pre-trained models.

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