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EMMA-X: An EM-like Multilingual Pre-training Algorithm for Cross-lingual Representation Learning

Ping Guo · Xiangpeng Wei · Yue Hu · Baosong Yang · Dayiheng Liu · Fei Huang · jun xie

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #412


Expressing universal semantics common to all languages is helpful to understand the meanings of complex and culture-specific sentences. The research theme underlying this scenario focuses on learning universal representations across languages with the usage of massive parallel corpora. However, due to the sparsity and scarcity of parallel data, there is still a big challenge in learning authentic ``universals'' for any two languages. In this paper, we propose Emma-X: an EM-like Multilingual pre-training Algorithm, to learn Cross-lingual universals with the aid of excessive multilingual non-parallel data. Emma-X unifies the cross-lingual representation learning task and an extra semantic relation prediction task within an EM framework. Both the extra semantic classifier and the cross-lingual sentence encoder approximate the semantic relation of two sentences, and supervise each other until convergence. To evaluate Emma-X, we conduct experiments on xrete, a newly introduced benchmark containing 12 widely studied cross-lingual tasks that fully depend on sentence-level representations. Results reveal that Emma-X achieves state-of-the-art performance. Further geometric analysis of the built representation space with three requirements demonstrates the superiority of Emma-X over advanced models.

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