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Modeling Past and Future for Neural Machine Translation


Existing neural machine translation systems do not explicitly model what has been translated and what has not during the decoding phase. To address this problem, we propose a novel mechanism that separates the source information into two parts: translated PAST contents and untranslated FUTURE contents, which are modeled by two additional recurrent layers. The PAST and FUTURE contents are fed to both the attention model and the decoder states, which provides Neural Machine Translation (NMT) systems with the knowledge of translated and untranslated contents. Experimental results show that the proposed approach significantly improves the performance in Chinese-English, German-English, and English-German translation tasks. Specifically, the proposed model outperforms the conventional coverage model in terms of both the translation quality and the alignment error rate.

Article at MIT Press PDF (presented at ACL 2018)