Ion Madrazo Azpiazu and Maria Soledad Pera. 2020. “A Framework for Hierarchical Multilingual Machine Translation”. In arXiv.
Multilingual machine translation has recently been in vogue given its potential for improving machine translation performance for low-resource languages via transfer learning. Empirical examinations demonstrating the success of existing multilingual machine translation strategies, however, are limited to experiments in specific language groups. In this paper, we present a hierarchical framework for building multilingual machine translation strategies that takes advantage of a typological language family tree for enabling transfer among similar languages while avoiding the negative effects that result from incorporating languages that are too different to each other. Exhaustive experimentation on a dataset with 41 languages demonstrates the validity of the proposed framework, especially when it comes to improving the performance of low-resource languages via the use of typologically related families for which richer sets of resources are available.