Fast and Accurate Neural Machine Translation with Translation Memory

ACL 2021  ·  Qiuxiang He, Guoping Huang, Qu Cui, Li Li, Lemao Liu ·

It is generally believed that a translation memory (TM) should be beneficial for machine translation tasks. Unfortunately, existing wisdom demonstrates the superiority of TM-based neural machine translation (NMT) only on the TM-specialized translation tasks rather than general tasks, with a non-negligible computational overhead. In this paper, we propose a fast and accurate approach to TM-based NMT within the Transformer framework: the model architecture is simple and employs a single bilingual sentence as its TM, leading to efficient training and inference; and its parameters are effectively optimized through a novel training criterion. Extensive experiments on six TM-specialized tasks show that the proposed approach substantially surpasses several strong baselines that use multiple TMs, in terms of BLEU and running time. In particular, the proposed approach also advances the strong baselines on two general tasks (WMT news Zh-{\textgreater}En and En-{\textgreater}De).

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