Evaluating and Modeling Attribution for Cross-Lingual Question Answering

Benjamin Muller, John Wieting, Jonathan H. Clark, Tom Kwiatkowski, Sebastian Ruder, Livio Baldini Soares, Roee Aharoni, Jonathan Herzig, Xinyi Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Trustworthy answer content is abundant in many high-resource languages and is instantly accessible through question answering systems-yet this content can be hard to access for those that do not speak these languages. The leap forward in cross-lingual modeling quality offered by generative language models offers much promise, yet their raw generations often fall short in factuality. To improve trustworthiness in these systems, a promising direction is to attribute the answer to a retrieved source, possibly in a content-rich language different from the query. Our work is the first to study attribution for cross-lingual question answering. First, we introduce the XOR-AttriQA dataset to assess the attribution level of a state-of-the-art cross-lingual question answering (QA) system in 5 languages. To our surprise, we find that a substantial portion of the answers is not attributable to any retrieved passages (up to 47% of answers exactly matching a gold reference) despite the system being able to attend directly to the retrieved text. Second, to address this poor attribution level, we experiment with a wide range of attribution detection techniques. We find that Natural Language Inference models and PaLM 2 fine-tuned on a very small amount of attribution data can accurately detect attribution. With these models, we improve the attribution level of a cross-lingual QA system. Overall, we show that current academic generative cross-lingual QA systems have substantial shortcomings in attribution and we build tooling to mitigate these issues.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEMNLP 2023 - 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Proceedings
EditorsHouda Bouamor, Juan Pino, Kalika Bali
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages144-157
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9798891760608
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes
Event2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2023 - Hybrid, Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 6 Dec 202310 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameEMNLP 2023 - 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Proceedings

Conference

Conference2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2023
Country/TerritorySingapore
CityHybrid, Singapore
Period6/12/2310/12/23

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2023 Association for Computational Linguistics.

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