Unsupervised Domain Adaptation for Neural Machine Translation with Iterative Back Translation

01/22/2020 ∙ by Di Jin, et al. ∙ 0

State-of-the-art neural machine translation (NMT) systems are data-hungry and perform poorly on domains with little supervised data. As data collection is expensive and infeasible in many cases, unsupervised domain adaptation methods are needed. We apply an Iterative Back Translation (IBT) training scheme on in-domain monolingual data, which repeatedly uses a Transformer-based NMT model to create in-domain pseudo-parallel sentence pairs in one translation direction on the fly and then use them to train the model in the other direction. Evaluated on three domains of German-to-English translation task with no supervised data, this simple technique alone (without any out-of-domain parallel data) can already surpass all previous domain adaptation methods—up to +9.48 BLEU over the strongest previous method, and up to +27.77 BLEU over the unadapted baseline. Moreover, given available supervised out-of-domain data on German-to-English and Romanian-to-English language pairs, we can further enhance the performance and obtain up to +19.31 BLEU improvement over the strongest baseline, and +47.69 BLEU increment against the unadapted model.

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