Multilingual Machine Translation: Deep Analysis of Language-Specific Encoder-Decoders

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Carlos Escolano
Marta R. Costa-jussà
José A. R. Fonollosa


State-of-the-art multilingual machine translation relies on a shared encoder-decoder. In this paper, we propose an alternative approach based on language-specific encoder-decoders, which can be easily extended to new languages by learning their corresponding modules. To establish a common interlingua representation, we simultaneously train N initial languages. Our experiments show that the proposed approach improves over the shared encoder-decoder for the initial languages and when adding new languages, without the need to retrain the remaining modules. All in all, our work closes the gap between shared and language-specific encoder-decoders, advancing toward modular multilingual machine translation systems that can be flexibly extended in lifelong learning settings.

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