Glyce: Glyph-vectors for Chinese Character Representations

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Yuxian Meng, Wei Wu, Fei Wang, Xiaoya Li, Ping Nie, Fan Yin, Muyu Li, Qinghong Han, Xiaofei Sun, Jiwei Li


It is intuitive that NLP tasks for logographic languages like Chinese should benefit from the use of the glyph information in those languages. However, due to the lack of rich pictographic evidence in glyphs and the weak generalization ability of standard computer vision models on character data, an effective way to utilize the glyph information remains to be found.

In this paper, we address this gap by presenting Glyce, the glyph-vectors for Chinese character representations. We make three major innovations: (1) We use historical Chinese scripts (e.g., bronzeware script, seal script, traditional Chinese, etc) to enrich the pictographic evidence in characters; (2) We design CNN structures (called tianzege-CNN) tailored to Chinese character image processing; and (3) We use image-classification as an auxiliary task in a multi-task learning setup to increase the model's ability to generalize.

We show that glyph-based models are able to consistently outperform word/char ID-based models in a wide range of Chinese NLP tasks. When combing with BERT, we are able to set new state-of-the-art results for a variety of Chinese NLP tasks, including language modeling, tagging (NER, CWS, POS), sentence pair classification (BQ, LCQMC, XNLI, NLPCC-DBQA), single sentence classification tasks (ChnSentiCorp, the Fudan corpus, iFeng), dependency parsing, and semantic role labeling. For example, the proposed model achieves an F1 score of 81.6 on the OntoNotes dataset of NER, +1.5 over BERT; it achieves an almost perfect accuracy of 99.8\% on the the Fudan corpus for text classification.