Meta-Learning a Cross-lingual Manifold for Semantic Parsing

Tom Sherborne, Mirella Lapata


Localizing a semantic parser to support new languages requires effective cross-lingual generalization.  Recent work has found success with machine-translation or zero-shot methods although these approaches can struggle to model how native speakers ask questions. We consider how to effectively leverage minimal annotated examples in new languages for few-shot cross-lingual semantic parsing. We introduce a first-order meta-learning algorithm to train a semantic parser with maximal sample efficiency during cross-lingual transfer. Our algorithm uses high-resource languages to train the parser and simultaneously optimizes for cross-lingual generalization for lower-resource languages. Results across six languages on ATIS demonstrate that our combination of generalization steps yields accurate semantic parsers sampling ≤10% of source training data in each new language. Our approach also trains a competitive model on Spider using English with generalization to Chinese similarly sampling ≤10% of training data.


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