I work on linguistic complexity and natural language generation. This means I spend a lot of time thinking about adaptive generation, which requires NLG systems which produce a variety of outputs suitable to different levels of linguistic complexity.
MSc in Language Science & Technology, 2015
Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany
AB in Linguistics; BS in Mathematics, 2010
University of Gerogia, Athens, GA, USA
Human assessment remains the most trusted forrm of evaluation in NLG, but highly diverse approaches and a proliferation of different quality criteria used by researchers make it difficult to compare results and draw conclusions across papers, with adverse implication sfor meta-evaluation and reproducibility. Int his paper, we present (i) our dataset of 165 NLG papers with human evaluations, (ii) the annotation scheme we developed to label the papers for different aspects of evaluations, (iii) quantitative analyses of the annotations, and (iv) a set of recommendations for improving standards in evaluation reporting. We use the annotations as a basis for examining information included in evaluation reprots, and levels of consistency in approaches, experimental design and terminology, focusing in particular on the 200+ different terms that have been used for evaluated aspects of quality. We conclude that due to a pervasive lack of clarity in reports and extreme diversity in approaches, human evaluation in NLG presents as extremely confused in 2020, and that the field is in urgent need of standard methods and terminology.
Current standards for designing and reporting human evaluations in NLP mean it is generally unclear which evaluations are comparable and can be expected to yield similar results when applied to the same system outputs. This has serious implications for reproducibility testing and meta-evaluation, in particular given that human evaluation is considered the gold standard against which the trustworthiness of automatic metrics is gauged. %and merging others, as well as deciding which evaluations should be able to reproduce each other’s results. Using examples from NLG, we propose a classification system for evaluations based on disentangling (i) what is being evaluated (which aspect of quality), and (ii) how it is evaluated in specific (a) evaluation modes and (b) experimental designs. We show that this approach provides a basis for determining comparability, hence for comparison of evaluations across papers, meta-evaluation experiments, reproducibility testing.
Neural natural language generation (NNLG) systems are known for their pathological outputs, i.e. generating text which is unrelated to the input speciﬁcation. In this paper, we show the impact of semantic noise on state-of-theart NNLG models which implement different semantic control mechanisms. We ﬁnd that cleaned data can improve semantic correctness by up to 97%, while maintaining ﬂuency. We also ﬁnd that the most common error is omitting information, rather than hallucination.
Developing conventional natural language generation systems requires extensive attention from human experts in order to craft complex sets of sentence planning rules. We propose a Bayesian nonparametric approach to learn sentence planning rules by inducing synchronous tree substitution grammars for pairs of text plans and morphosyntactically-speciﬁed dependency trees. Our system is able to learn rules which can be used to generate novel texts after training on small datasets.
Natural language generation (NLG) systems rely on corpora for both hand-crafted approaches in a traditional NLG architecture and for statistical end-to-end (learned) generation systems. Limitations in existing resources, however, make it difﬁcult to develop systems which can vary the linguistic properties of an utterance as needed. For example, when users’ attention is split between a linguistic and a secondary task such as driving, a generation system may need to reduce the information density of an utterance to compensate for the reduction in user attention. We introduce a new corpus in the restaurant recommendation and comparison domain, collected in a paraphrasing paradigm, where subjects wrote texts targeting either a general audience or an elderly family member. This design resulted in a corpus of more than 5000 texts which exhibit a variety of lexical and syntactic choices and differ with respect to average word & sentence length and surprisal. The corpus includes two levels of meaning representation: flat ‘semantic stacks’ for propositional content and Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) relations between these propositions.
Over the last decade, crowdsourcing has become a standard method for collecting training data for NLP tasks and evaluating NLP systems …