Language Invariant Properties in Natural Language Processing


Meaning is context-dependent, but many properties of language (should) remain the same even if we transform the context. For example, sentiment, entailment, or speaker properties should be the same in a translation and original of a text. We introduce language invariant properties: i.e., properties that should not change when we transform text, and how they can be used to quantitatively evaluate the robustness of transformation algorithms. We use translation and paraphrasing as transformation examples, but our findings apply more broadly to any transformation. Our results indicate that many NLP transformations change properties like author characteristics, i.e., make them sound more male. We believe that studying these properties will allow NLP to address both social factors and pragmatic aspects of language. We also release an application suite that can be used to evaluate the invariance of transformation applications.

Proceedings of NLP Power! The First Workshop on Efficient Benchmarking in NLP