Improving Text Generation with Dynamic Masking and Recovering

Muhua ZhuJunhui Li

Abstract

Due to different types of inputs, diverse text generation tasks may adopt different encoder-decoder frameworks. Thus most existing approaches that aim to improve the robustness of certain generation tasks are input-relevant, and may not work well for other generation tasks. Alternatively, in this paper we present a universal approach to enhance the language representation for text generation on the base of generic encoder-decoder frameworks. This is done from two levels. First, we introduce randomness by randomly masking some percentage of tokens on the decoder side when training the models. In this way, instead of using ground truth history context, we use its corrupted version to predict the next token. Then we propose an auxiliary task to properly recover those masked tokens. Experimental results on several text generation tasks including machine translation (MT), AMR-to-text generation, and image captioning show that the proposed approach can significantly improve over competitive baselines without using any task-specific techniques. This suggests the effectiveness and generality of our proposed approach.

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