Do Multilingual Language Models Think Better in English?


Translate-test is a popular technique to improve the performance of multilingual language models. This approach works by translating the input into English using an external machine translation system, and running inference over the translated input. However, these improvements can be attributed to the use of a separate translation system, which is typically trained on large amounts of parallel data not seen by the language model. In this work, we introduce a new approach called self-translate, which overcomes the need of an external translation system by leveraging the few-shot translation capabilities of multilingual language models. Experiments over 5 tasks show that self-translate consistently outperforms direct inference, demonstrating that language models are unable to leverage their full multilingual potential when prompted in non-English languages. Our code is available at

NAACL 2024
Julen Etxaniz
Julen Etxaniz
Estudiante de Doctorado en Análisis y Procesamiento del Lenguaje

Estudiante de Doctorado en Análisis y Procesamiento del Lenguaje en HiTZ Center IXA Group (UPV/EHU). Trabajando en mejorar los modelos de lenguaje para idiomas con pocos recursos. Graduado en Ingeniería Informática con especialidad en Ingeniería del Software. Máster en Análisis y Procesamiento del Lenguaje.