Mask-predict: Parallel decoding of conditional masked language models

Marjan Ghazvininejad, Omer Levy, Yinhan Liu, Luke Zettlemoyer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Most machine translation systems generate text autoregressively from left to right. We, instead, use a masked language modeling objective to train a model to predict any subset of the target words, conditioned on both the input text and a partially masked target translation. This approach allows for efficient iterative decoding, where we first predict all of the target words non-autoregressively, and then repeatedly mask out and regenerate the subset of words that the model is least confident about. By applying this strategy for a constant number of iterations, our model improves state-of-the-art performance levels for non-autoregressive and parallel decoding translation models by over 4 BLEU on average. It is also able to reach within about 1 BLEU point of a typical left-to-right transformer model, while decoding significantly faster.1.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEMNLP-IJCNLP 2019 - 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, Proceedings of the Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics
Pages6112-6121
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781950737901
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, EMNLP-IJCNLP 2019 - Hong Kong, China
Duration: 3 Nov 20197 Nov 2019

Publication series

NameEMNLP-IJCNLP 2019 - 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, Proceedings of the Conference

Conference

Conference2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, EMNLP-IJCNLP 2019
Country/TerritoryChina
CityHong Kong
Period3/11/197/11/19

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