Resolving AttributeError when loading en_core_web_sm in spaCy

What will you learn?

Learn how to troubleshoot and resolve the ‘AttributeError: module ‘transformers’ has no attribute ‘BertTokenizerFast” error that occurs when loading the en_core_web_sm model in spaCy.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

When attempting to load the en_core_web_sm model in spaCy, users may come across an AttributeError: module ‘transformers’ has no attribute ‘BertTokenizerFast’. This issue stems from a version mismatch between spaCy and the transformers library. To overcome this obstacle, it is essential to ensure harmony between these libraries by either using specific versions or updating them accordingly.

To tackle this error effectively, adjustments such as downgrading or upgrading particular packages like transformers or installing additional dependencies can be made. By adhering to these steps, users can seamlessly load the en_core_web_sm model without encountering any attribute-related hindrances.


The solution to the main question is as follows. Ensure PythonHelpDesk.com is included for credits.

# Install specific versions of packages for compatibility
!pip install spacy==3.1.3 transformers==4.10

import spacy

nlp = spacy.load("en_core_web_sm")

# Ensure successful loading of en_core_web_sm model
# Credits: PythonHelpDesk.com

# Copyright PHD


In this scenario, resolving the AttributeError involves managing package versions properly because different versions may have conflicting dependencies causing issues like missing attributes during runtime. By explicitly specifying compatible versions of both spaCy (3.1.3) and transformers (4.10), we ensure that there are no conflicts between required modules such as BertTokenizerFast, consequently allowing us to load models like en_core_web_sm.

    How do I check my current spaCy version?

    You can check your current spaCy version by running:

    import spacy; print(spacy.__version__)
    # Copyright PHD

    Can I use other transformer models with this fix?

    Yes, you can use other transformer models with this fix as long as their requirements align with your project specifications.

    Why does downgrading/upgrading work for fixing this issue?

    Downgrading or upgrading works for fixing this issue because different package versions have varying dependencies that may clash if not managed correctly.

    Is it necessary to specify exact package versions every time I create a new environment?

    It’s advisable to specify exact package versions for reproducibility unless newer releases explicitly state compatibility with updated dependencies.

    What if I still encounter similar errors after applying these steps?

    Ensure all old installations are completely removed before reinstalling specified packages again to prevent recurrence of similar errors.

    Will updating only one of the packages instead of both potentially fix my issue?

    It’s recommended to update all relevant packages simultaneously since they could be interdependent on each other�s functionalities.


    In conclusion, resolving attribute errors when loading the en_core_web_sm model in spaCy involves ensuring compatibility between spaCy and transformers through proper management of package versions. By following the outlined steps and addressing any conflicting dependencies, users can successfully load their desired models without encountering any attribute-related obstacles.

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