Retrieve, Rerank and Rewrite: Soft Template Based Neural Summarization

Ziqiang Cao, Wenjie Li, Sujian Li, Furu Wei

Most previous seq2seq summarization systems purely depend on the source text to generate summaries, which tends to work unstably. Inspired by the traditional template-based summarization approaches, this paper proposes to use existing summaries as soft templates to guide the seq2seq model. To this end, we use a popular IR platform to Retrieve proper summaries as candidate templates. Then, we extend the seq2seq framework to jointly conduct template Reranking and template-aware summary generation (Rewriting). Experiments show that, in terms of informativeness, our model significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods, and even soft templates themselves demonstrate high competitiveness. In addition, the import of high-quality external summaries improves the stability and readability of generated summaries.