Language Features Matter: Effective Language Representations for Vision-Language Tasks

Andrea Burns, Reuben Tan, Kate Saenko, Stan Sclaroff, Bryan A. Plummer; The IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2019, pp. 7474-7483


Shouldn't language and vision features be treated equally in vision-language (VL) tasks? Many VL approaches treat the language component as an afterthought, using simple language models that are either built upon fixed word embeddings trained on text-only data or are learned from scratch. We conclude that language features deserve more attention, which has been informed by experiments which compare different word embeddings, language models, and embedding augmentation steps on five common VL tasks: image-sentence retrieval, image captioning, visual question answering, phrase grounding, and text-to-clip retrieval. Our experiments provide some striking results; an average embedding language model outperforms a LSTM on retrieval-style tasks; state-of-the-art representations such as BERT perform relatively poorly on vision-language tasks. From this comprehensive set of experiments we can propose a set of best practices for incorporating the language component of vision-language tasks. To further elevate language features, we also show that knowledge in vision-language problems can be transferred across tasks to gain performance with multi-task training. This multi-task training is applied to a new Graph Oriented Vision-Language Embedding (GrOVLE), which we adapt from Word2Vec using WordNet and an original visual-language graph built from Visual Genome, providing a ready-to-use vision-language embedding:

Related Material

[pdf] [supp]
author = {Burns, Andrea and Tan, Reuben and Saenko, Kate and Sclaroff, Stan and Plummer, Bryan A.},
title = {Language Features Matter: Effective Language Representations for Vision-Language Tasks},
booktitle = {The IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
month = {October},
year = {2019}