BLOOM+1: Adding Language Support to BLOOM for Zero-Shot Prompting


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The BLOOM model is a large open-source multilingual language model capable of zero-shot learning, but its pretraining was limited to 46 languages. To improve its zero-shot performance on unseen languages, it is desirable to adapt BLOOM, but previous works have only explored adapting small language models. In this work, we apply existing language adaptation strategies to BLOOM and benchmark its zero-shot prompting performance on eight new languages. We find language adaptation to be effective at improving zero-shot performance in new languages. Surprisingly, adapter-based finetuning is more effective than continued pretraining for large models. In addition, we discover that prompting performance is not significantly affected by language specifics, such as the writing system. It is primarily determined by the size of the language adaptation data. We also add new languages to BLOOMZ, which is a multitask finetuned version of BLOOM capable of following task instructions zero-shot. We find including a new language in the multitask fine-tuning mixture to be the most effective method to teach BLOOMZ a new language. We conclude that with sufficient training data language adaptation can generalize well to diverse languages. Our code is available at \url{}.
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