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Multilingual Relation Classification via Efficient and Effective Prompting

Yuxuan Chen; David Harbecke; Leonhard Hennig
In: Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing. Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-2022), Online and Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, Association for Computational Linguistics, 2022.


Prompting pre-trained language models has achieved impressive performance on various NLP tasks, especially in low data regimes. Despite the success of prompting in monolingual settings, applying prompt-based methods in multilingual scenarios has been limited to a narrow set of tasks, due to the high cost of handcrafting multilingual prompts. In this paper, we present the first work on prompt-based multilingual relation classification (RC), by introducing an efficient and effective method that constructs prompts from relation triples and involves only minimal translation for the class labels. We evaluate its performance in fully supervised, few-shot and zero-shot scenarios, and analyze its effectiveness across 14 languages, prompt variants, and English-task training in cross-lingual settings. We find that in both fully supervised and few-shot scenarios, our prompt method beats competitive baselines: fine-tuning XLM-R_EM and null prompts. It also outperforms the random baseline by a large margin in zero-shot experiments. Our method requires little in-language knowledge and can be used as a strong baseline for similar multilingual classification tasks.


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