Cost-Performance Optimization for Processing Low-Resource Language Tasks Using Commercial LLMs


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Large Language Models (LLMs) exhibit impressive zero/few-shot inference and generation quality for high-resource languages(HRLs). A few of them have been trained in low-resource languages (LRLs) and give decent performance. Owing to the prohibitive costs of training LLMs, they are usually used as a network service, with the client charged by the count of input and output tokens. The number of tokens strongly depends on the script and language, as well as the LLM's sub-word vocabulary. We show that LRLs are at a pricing disadvantage, because the well-known LLMs produce more tokens for LRLs than HRLs. This is because most currently popular LLMs are optimized for HRL vocabularies. Our objective is to level the playing field: reduce the cost of processing LRLs in contemporary LLMs while ensuring that predictive and generative qualities are not compromised. As means to reduce the number of tokens processed by the LLM, we consider code-mixing, translation, and transliteration of LRLs to HRLs. We perform an extensive study using the IndicXTREME dataset, covering 15 Indian languages, while using GPT-4 (one of the costliest LLM services released so far) as a commercial LLM. We observe and analyze interesting patterns involving token count, cost,and quality across a multitude of languages and tasks. We show that choosing the best policy to interact with the LLM can reduce cost by 90 with the LLM in the original LRL.
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