Glot500: Scaling Multilingual Corpora and Language Models to 500 Languages

Ayyoob ImaniGooghari, Peiqin Lin, Amir Hossein Kargaran, Silvia Severini, Masoud Jalili Sabet, Nora Kassner, Chunlan Ma, Helmut Schmid, André F. T. Martins, François Yvon, Hinrich Schütze

The NLP community has mainly focused on scaling Large Language Models (LLMs) vertically, i.e., making them better for about 100 languages. We instead scale LLMs horizontally: we create, through continued pretraining, Glot500-m, an LLM that covers 511 languages, almost all of them low-resource. An important part of this effort is to collect and clean Glot500-c, a corpus that covers these 511 languages and allows us to train Glot500-m. We evaluate Glot500-m on five diverse tasks across these languages. We observe large improvements for both high-resource and lowresource languages compared to an XLM-R baseline. Our analysis shows that no single factor explains the quality of multilingual LLM representations. Rather, a combination of factors determines quality including corpus size, script, "help" from related languages and the total capacity of the model. Our work addresses an important goal of NLP research: we should not limit NLP to a small fraction of the world's languages and instead strive to support as many languages as possible to bring the benefits of NLP technology to all languages and cultures. Code, data and models are available at https://github.com/cisnlp/Glot500.

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