MAD-X: An Adapter-Based Framework for Multi-Task Cross-Lingual Transfer

The main goal behind state-of-the-art pre-trained multilingual models such as multilingual BERT and XLM-R is enabling and bootstrapping NLP applications in low-resource languages through zero-shot or few-shot cross-lingual transfer. However, due to limited model capacity, their transfer performance is the weakest exactly on such low-resource languages and languages unseen during pre-training. We propose MAD-X, an adapter-based framework that enables high portability and parameter-efficient transfer to arbitrary tasks and languages by learning modular language and task representations. In addition, we introduce a novel invertible adapter architecture and a strong baseline method for adapting a pre-trained multilingual model to a new language. MAD-X outperforms the state of the art in cross-lingual transfer across a representative set of typologically diverse languages on named entity recognition and causal commonsense reasoning, and achieves competitive results on question answering. Our code and adapters are available at

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Results from the Paper

Ranked #2 on Cross-Lingual Transfer on XCOPA (using extra training data)

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Task Dataset Model Metric Name Metric Value Global Rank Uses Extra
Training Data
Result Benchmark
Cross-Lingual Transfer XCOPA MAD-X Base Accuracy 60.94 # 2