Multi-Round Transfer Learning for Low-Resource NMT Using Multiple High-Resource Languages


Please cite:
title={Multi-Round Transfer Learning for Low-Resource NMT Using Multiple High-Resource Languages},
author={M. Maimaiti and Y. Liu and Huanbo Luan and M. Sun},
journal={ACM Transactions on Asian and Low-Resource Language Information Processing (TALLIP)},
pages={1 - 26},


Neural machine translation (NMT) has made remarkable progress in recent years, but the performance of NMT suffers from a data sparsity problem since large-scale parallel corpora are only readily available for high-resource languages (HRLs). In recent days, transfer learning (TL) has been used widely in low-resource languages (LRLs) machine translation, while TL is becoming one of the vital directions for addressing the data sparsity problem in low-resource NMT. As a solution, a transfer learning method in NMT is generally obtained via initializing the low-resource model (child) with the high-resource model (parent). However, leveraging the original TL to low-resource models is neither able to make full use of highly related multiple HRLs nor to receive different parameters from the same parents. In order to exploit multiple HRLs effectively, we present a language-independent and straightforward multi-round transfer learning (MRTL) approach to low-resource NMT. Besides, with the intention of reducing the differences between high-resource and low-resource languages at the character level, we introduce a unified transliteration method for various language families, which are both semantically and syntactically highly analogous with each other. Experiments on low-resource datasets show that our approaches are effective, significantly outperform the state-of-the-art methods, and yield improvements of up to 5.63 BLEU points.