NLP technology has changed and advanced over the past two decades, but it often seems that NLG evaluation has not. Why is the 18-year old BLEU metric still so dominant?
I was recently asked by someone if it was possible to easily determine whether an NLP system was good enough for a specific use case. Currently this is very hard. Making it easy could be a “grand challenge” for evaluation!
Many neural NLG systems “hallucinate” non-existent or incorrect content. This is a major problem, since such hallucination is unacceptable in many (most?) NLG use cases. Also BLEU and related metrics do not detect hallucination well, so researchers who rely on such metrics may be misled about the quality of their system.
My advice on how to perform a high-quality validation study, which assesses whether a metric (such as BLEU) correlates well with human evaluations.
BLEU works much better for MT systems and NLG systems. In this blog I present some speculations as to why this is the case.
My structured survey of BLEU suggests that BLEU-human correlations are worse in German than in many other languages. But there are many caveats, so we need to be cautious in interpreting this result.
The correlation between BLEU and human evaluations of MT systems seems to be increasing over time. Since BLEU has not changed, how is this possible, and what does it mean?