Addressing the Under-Translation Problem from the Entropy Perspective

  • Yang Zhao Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Jiajun Zhang Institute of Automation Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Chengqing Zong Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Zhongjun He Baidu, Inc.
  • Hua Wu Baidu, Inc.


Neural Machine Translation (NMT) has drawn much attention due to its promising translation performance in recent years. However, the under-translation problem still remains a big challenge. In this paper, we focus on the under-translation problem and attempt to find out what kinds of source words are more likely to be ignored. Through analysis, we observe that a source word with a large translation entropy is more inclined to be dropped. To address this problem, we propose a coarse-to-fine framework. In coarse-grained phase, we introduce a simple strategy to reduce the entropy of highentropy words through constructing the pseudo target sentences. In fine-grained phase, we propose three methods, including pre-training method, multitask method and two-pass method, to encourage the neural model to correctly translate these high-entropy words. Experimental results on various translation tasks show that our method can significantly improve the translation quality and substantially reduce the under-translation cases of high-entropy words.

AAAI Technical Track: AI and the Web