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Active learning (AL) for machine translation (MT) has been well-studied for the phrase-based MT paradigm. Several AL algorithms for data sampling have been proposed over the years. However, given the rapid advancement in neural methods, these algorithms have not been thoroughly investigated in the context of neural MT (NMT). In this work, we address this missing aspect by conducting a systematic comparison of different AL methods in a simulated AL framework. Our experimental setup to compare different AL methods uses: i) State-of-the-art NMT architecture to achieve realistic results; and ii) the same dataset (WMT’13 English-Spanish) to have fair comparison across different methods. We then demonstrate how recent advancements in unsupervised pre-training and paraphrastic embedding can be used to improve existing AL methods. Finally, we propose a neural extension for an AL sampling method used in the context of phrase-based MT - Round Trip Translation Likelihood (RTTL). RTTL uses a bidirectional translation model to estimate the loss of information during translation and outperforms previous methods.

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