One of the key challenges in natural language processing (NLP) is building systems that not only work in English but in all of the world’s ~6,900 languages. Luckily, while most of the world’s languages are data sparse and do not have enough data available to train robust models on their own, many languages do share a considerable amount of underlying structure. On the vocabulary level, languages often have words that stem from the same origin — for instance, “ desk” in English and “ Tisch” in German both come from the Latin “ discus” . Similarly, many languages also mark semantic roles in similar ways, such as the use of postpositions to mark temporal and spatial relations in both Chinese and Turkish.
In NLP, there are a number of methods that leverage the shared structure of multiple languages in training in order to overcome the data sparsity problem. Historically, most of these methods focused on performing a specific task in multiple languages. Over the last few years, driven by advances in deep learning, there has been an increase in the number of approaches that attempt to learn general-purpose multilingual representations (e.g., mBERT , XLM , XLM-R ), which aim to capture knowledge that is shared across languages and that is useful for many tasks. In practice, however, the evaluation of such methods has mostly focused on a small set of tasks and for linguistically similar languages.
To encourage more research on multilingual learning, we introduce “ XTREME: A Massively Multilingual Multi-task Benchmark for Evaluating Cross-lingual Generalization ”, which covers 40 typologically diverse languages (spanning 12 language families) and includes nine tasks that collectively require reasoning about different levels of syntax or semantics. The languages in XTREME are selected to maximize language diversity, coverage in existing tasks, and availability of training data. Among these are many under-studied languages, such as the Dravidian languages Tamil (spoken in southern India, Sri Lanka, and Singapore), Telugu and Malayalam (spoken mainly in southern India), and the Niger-Congo languages Swahili and Yoruba, spoken in Africa. The code and data, including examples for running various baselines, is available here . 链接地址： https://ai.googleblog.com/2020/04/xtreme-massively-multilingual-multi.html