On the Helpfulness of Document Context to Sentence Simplification

COLING 2020  ·  Renliang Sun, Zhe Lin, Xiaojun Wan ·

Most of the research on text simplification is limited to sentence level nowadays. In this paper, we are the first to investigate the helpfulness of document context on sentence simplification and apply it to the sequence-to-sequence model. We firstly construct a sentence simplification dataset in which the contexts for the original sentence are provided by Wikipedia corpus. The new dataset contains approximately 116K sentence pairs with context. We then propose a new model that makes full use of the context information. Our model uses neural networks to learn the different effects of the preceding sentences and the following sentences on the current sentence and applies them to the improved transformer model. Evaluated on the newly constructed dataset, our model achieves 36.52 on SARI value, which outperforms the best performing model in the baselines by 2.46 (7.22{\%}), indicating that context indeed helps improve sentence simplification. In the ablation experiment, we show that using either the preceding sentences or the following sentences as context can significantly improve simplification.

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