Memory-augmented neural machine translation

Feng, Yang and Zhang, Shiyue and Zhang, Andi and Wang, Dong and Abel, Andrew; (2017) Memory-augmented neural machine translation. In: Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing. Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), DNK, pp. 1390-1399. ISBN 9781945626838 (

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Neural machine translation (NMT) has achieved notable success in recent times, however it is also widely recognized that this approach has limitations with handling infrequent words and word pairs. This paper presents a novel memory-augmented NMT (M-NMT) architecture, which stores knowledge about how words (usually infrequently encountered ones) should be translated in a memory and then utilizes them to assist the neural model. We use this memory mechanism to combine the knowledge learned from a conventional statistical machine translation system and the rules learned by an NMT system, and also propose a solution for out-of-vocabulary (OOV) words based on this framework. Our experiments on two Chinese-English translation tasks demonstrated that the M-NMT architecture outperformed the NMT baseline by 9.0 and 2.7 BLEU points on the two tasks, respectively. Additionally, we found this architecture resulted in a much more effective OOV treatment compared to competitive methods.