LexC-Gen: Generating Data for Extremely Low-Resource Languages with Large Language Models and Bilingual Lexicons

Published on Feb 21
· Submitted by akhaliq on Feb 23


Data scarcity in low-resource languages can be addressed with word-to-word translations from labeled task data in high-resource languages using bilingual lexicons. However, bilingual lexicons often have limited lexical overlap with task data, which results in poor translation coverage and lexicon utilization. We propose lexicon-conditioned data generation (LexC-Gen), a method that generates low-resource-language classification task data at scale. Specifically, LexC-Gen first uses high-resource-language words from bilingual lexicons to generate lexicon-compatible task data, and then it translates them into low-resource languages with bilingual lexicons via word translation. Across 17 extremely low-resource languages, LexC-Gen generated data is competitive with expert-translated gold data, and yields on average 5.6 and 8.9 points improvement over existing lexicon-based word translation methods on sentiment analysis and topic classification tasks respectively. We show that conditioning on bilingual lexicons is the key component of LexC-Gen. LexC-Gen is also practical -- it only needs a single GPU to generate data at scale. It works well with open-access LLMs, and its cost is one-fifth of the cost of GPT4-based multilingual data generation.


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