A Generative Framework for Simultaneous Machine Translation

EMNLP 2021  ·  Yishu Miao, Phil Blunsom, Lucia Specia ·

We propose a generative framework for simultaneous machine translation. Conventional approaches use a fixed number of source words to translate or learn dynamic policies for the number of source words by reinforcement learning. Here we formulate simultaneous translation as a structural sequence-to-sequence learning problem. A latent variable is introduced to model read or translate actions at every time step, which is then integrated out to consider all the possible translation policies. A re-parameterised Poisson prior is used to regularise the policies which allows the model to explicitly balance translation quality and latency. The experiments demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of the generative framework, which achieves the best BLEU scores given different average translation latencies on benchmark datasets.

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