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available_models Fixing example config Apr 3, 2018
floyd.yml Run on FloydHub integration Jul 25, 2018

OpenNMT-APE: Fork of OpenNMT that implements the model described in "A Simple and Effective Approach to Automatic Post-Editing with Transfer Learning"


Automatic post-editing (APE) seeks to automatically refine the output of a black-box machine translation (MT) system through human post-edits. APE systems are usually trained by complementing human post-edited data with large, artificial data generated through back- translations, a time-consuming process often no easier than training a MT system from scratch. In this paper, we propose an alternative where we fine-tune pre-trained BERT models on both the encoder and decoder of an APE system, exploring several parameter sharing strategies. By only training on a dataset of 23K sentences for 3 hours on a single GPU we obtain results that are competitive with systems that were trained on 5M artificial sentences. When we add this artificial data, our method obtains state-of-the-art results.


To preprocess your data so you can train an APE model with our implementation, you need to do the following steps:

  • Have a triplet of files to train your APE system (src, mt, pe).
  • Use a simple tokenizer on your files. We used Moses tokenizer (found in mosesdecoder/scripts/tokenizer/tokenizer.perl) with the flag -no-escape.
  • Join the tokenized .src and .mt files in the same file .srcmt, separated by " [SEP] ". You can easily do this by running the following command: pr -tmJ -S" [SEP] " train_data.tok.src > train_data.tok.srcmt.
  • Do the OpenNMT-py preprocess pipeline by running python -config preprocessing.yml where the preprocessing.yml file is like the following:
train_src: train_data.tok.srcmt

valid_src: dev.tok.srcmt

save_data: prep-data

src_vocab_size: 200000
tgt_vocab_size: 200000

shard_size: 100000

bert_src: bert-base-multilingual-cased
bert_tgt: bert-base-multilingual-cased

src_seq_length: 200
tgt_seq_length: 100


To train, run python -config train-config.yml where train-config.yml is:

save_model: ape-model

data: prep-data
train_steps: 50000
start_decay_steps: 50000
valid_steps: 1000
save_checkpoint_steps: 1000
keep_checkpoint: 30

# Dimensionality
rnn_size: 768 #!
word_vec_size: 768 #!
transformer_ff: 3072 #!
heads: 12 #!
layers: 12 #!

# Embeddings
position_encoding: 'true' #!
share_embeddings: 'true' #!
share_decoder_embeddings: 'true' #!

# Encoder
encoder_type: bert #!
enc_bert_type: bert-base-multilingual-cased #!

# Decoder
decoder_type: bert #!
dec_bert_type: bert-base-multilingual-cased #!
bert_decoder_token_type: B #!

# Layer Sharing
bert_decoder_init_context: 'true'
share_self_attn: 'true'
# tie_context_attn: 'true'
# share_feed_forward: 'true'

# Regularization
dropout: 0.1
label_smoothing: 0.1

# Optimization
optim: bertadam #!
learning_rate: 0.00005
warmup_steps: 5000
batch_type: tokens
normalization: tokens
accum_count: 2
batch_size: 512
max_grad_norm: 0
param_init: 0
param_init_glorot: 'true'
valid_batch_size: 8

average_decay: 0.0001

seed: 42
world_size: 1
gpu_ranks: 0

In order for the training to work, parameters shown with a #! in front of them are important to stay as shown in the config file above, while others can be finetuned.


author = {Correia, Gon{\c{c}}alo M. and Martins, Andr{\'{e}} F. T.},
booktitle = {Proceedings of ACL},
title = {{A Simple and Effective Approach to Automatic Post-Editing with Transfer Learning}},
year = {2019}
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