Duong Minh Le, Yang Chen, Alan Ritter, Wei Xu
Abstract: Zero-shot cross-lingual transfer utilizing multilingual LLMs has become a popular learning paradigm for low-resource languages with no labeled training data. However, for NLP tasks that involve fine-grained predictions on words and phrases, the performance of zero-shot cross-lingual transfer learning lags far behind supervised fine-tuning methods. Therefore, it is common to exploit translation and label projection to further improve the performance by (1) translating training data that is available in a high-resource language (e.g., English) together with the gold labels into low-resource languages, and/or (2) translating test data in low-resource languages to a high-source language to run inference on, then projecting the predicted span-level labels back onto the original test data. However, state-of-the-art marker-based label projection methods suffer from translation quality degradation due to the extra label markers injected in the input to the translation model. In this work, we explore a new direction that leverages constrained decoding for label projection to overcome the aforementioned issues. Our new method not only can preserve the quality of translated texts but also has the versatility of being applicable to both translating training and translating test data strategies. This versatility is crucial as our experiments reveal that translating test data can lead to a considerable boost in performance compared to translating only training data. We evaluate on two cross-lingual transfer tasks, namely Named Entity Recognition and Event Argument Extraction, spanning 20 languages. The results demonstrate that our approach outperforms the state-of-the-art marker-based method by a large margin and also shows better performance than other label projection methods that rely on external word alignment.