Browsing Department of Applied Mathematics by browse.metadata.advisor "Bassett, Bruce"
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- ItemLow-resource neural machine translation for Southern African languages(2021-12) Nyoni, Evander EL-Tabonah; Bassett, Bruce; Brink, WillieENGLISH ABSTRACT: The majority of African languages have not fully benefited from the recent advances in machine translation due to lack of data. Motivated by this challenge we leverage and compare transfer learning, multilingual learning and zero-shot learning on three Southern Bantu languages (namely isiZulu, isiXhosa and Shona) and English. We focus primarily on the English-to-isiZulu pair, since it has the smallest number of training pairs (30000 sentences), comprising just 28% of the average size of the other corpora. We demonstrate the significant importance of language similarity on English-to-isiZulu translations by comparing transfer learning and multilingual learning on the Englishto- isiXhosa (similar) and English-to-Shona (dissimilar) tasks. We further show that multilingual learning is the best training protocol when there is sufficient data, with BLEU score gains of between 3.8 and 7.9 compared to transfer learning and zero-shot learning respectively for the English-to-isiZulu task. Our findings show that zero-shot learning is better than training a baseline model from scratch if there is not much English-toisiZulu data. Our best model improves the previous English-to-isiZulu state-of-the-art BLEU score by more than 10. Taken together, our findings highlight the potential of leveraging the inter-relations within and between South Eastern Bantu languages to improve translations in low-resource settings.