Domain Adaptation and Multi-Domain Adaptation for Neural Machine Translation: A Survey

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Danielle Saunders


The development of deep learning techniques has allowed Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models to become extremely powerful, given sufficient training data and training time. However, systems struggle when translating text from a new domain with a distinct style or vocabulary. Fine-tuning on in-domain data allows good domain adaptation, but requires sufficient relevant bilingual data. Even if this is available, simple fine-tuning can cause overfitting to new data and catastrophic forgetting of previously learned behaviour.

We survey approaches to domain adaptation for NMT, particularly where a system may need to translate across multiple domains. We divide techniques into those revolving around data selection or generation, model architecture, parameter adaptation procedure, and inference procedure. We finally highlight the benefits of domain adaptation and multidomain adaptation techniques to other lines of NMT research.

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