An Empirical Study of Automatic Post-Editing

Xu Zhang, Xiaojun Wan

Automatic post-editing (APE) aims to reduce manual post-editing efforts by automatically correcting errors in machine-translated output. Due to the limited amount of human-annotated training data, data scarcity is one of the main challenges faced by all APE systems. To alleviate the lack of genuine training data, most of the current APE systems employ data augmentation methods to generate large-scale artificial corpora. In view of the importance of data augmentation in APE, we separately study the impact of the construction method of artificial corpora and artificial data domain on the performance of APE models. Moreover, the difficulty of APE varies between different machine translation (MT) systems. We study the outputs of the state-of-art APE model on a difficult APE dataset to analyze the problems in existing APE systems. Primarily, we find that 1) Artificial corpora with high-quality source text and machine-translated text more effectively improve the performance of APE models; 2) In-domain artificial training data can better improve the performance of APE models, while irrelevant out-of-domain data actually interfere with the model; 3) Existing APE model struggles with cases containing long source text or high-quality machine-translated text; 4) The state-of-art APE model works well on grammatical and semantic addition problems, but the output is prone to entity and semantic omission errors.

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