Variational Neural Machine Translation

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Authors Jinsong Su, Min Zhang, Hong Duan, Deyi Xiong, Biao Zhang
Journal/Conference Name EMNLP 2016 11
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Models of neural machine translation are often from a discriminative family of encoderdecoders that learn a conditional distribution of a target sentence given a source sentence. In this paper, we propose a variational model to learn this conditional distribution for neural machine translation: a variational encoderdecoder model that can be trained end-to-end. Different from the vanilla encoder-decoder model that generates target translations from hidden representations of source sentences alone, the variational model introduces a continuous latent variable to explicitly model underlying semantics of source sentences and to guide the generation of target translations. In order to perform efficient posterior inference and large-scale training, we build a neural posterior approximator conditioned on both the source and the target sides, and equip it with a reparameterization technique to estimate the variational lower bound. Experiments on both Chinese-English and English- German translation tasks show that the proposed variational neural machine translation achieves significant improvements over the vanilla neural machine translation baselines.
Date of publication 2016
Code Programming Language Python
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