Automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems can suffer from poor recall for various reasons, such as noisy audio, lack of sufficient training data, etc. Previous work has shown that recall can be improved by retrieving rewrite candidates from a large database of likely, contextually-relevant alternatives to the hypothesis text using nearest-neighbors search over embeddings of the ASR hypothesis text to correct and candidate corrections. However, ASR-hypothesis-based retrieval can yield poor precision if the textual hypotheses are too phonetically dissimilar to the transcript truth. In this paper, we eliminate the hypothesis-audio mismatch problem by querying the correction database directly using embeddings derived from the utterance audio; the embeddings of the utterance audio and candidate corrections are produced by multimodal speech-text embedding networks trained to place the embedding of the audio of an utterance and the embedding of its corresponding textual transcript close together. After locating an appropriate correction candidate using nearest-neighbor search, we score the candidate with its speech-text embedding distance before adding the candidate to the original n-best list. We show a relative word error rate (WER) reduction of 6% on utterances whose transcripts appear in the candidate set, without increasing WER on general utterances.
We introduce O-1, a new self-training objective to reduce training bias and unify training and evaluation metrics for speech recognition. O-1 is a faster variant of Expected Minimum Bayes Risk (EMBR), that boosts the oracle hypothesis and can accommodate both supervised and unsupervised data. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach in terms of recognition on publicly available SpeechStew datasets and a large-scale, in-house data set. On Speechstew, the O-1 objective closes the gap between the actual and oracle performance by 80\% relative compared to EMBR which bridges the gap by 43\% relative. O-1 achieves 13\% to 25\% relative improvement over EMBR on the various datasets that SpeechStew comprises of, and a 12\% relative gap reduction with respect to the oracle WER over EMBR training on the in-house dataset. Overall, O-1 results in a 9\% relative improvement in WER over EMBR, thereby speaking to the scalability of the proposed objective for large-scale datasets.
Accurate recognition of specific categories, such as persons' names, dates or other identifiers is critical in many Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) applications. As these categories represent personal information, ethical use of this data including collection, transcription, training and evaluation demands special care. One way of ensuring the security and privacy of individuals is to redact or eliminate Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from collection altogether. However, this results in ASR models that tend to have lower recognition accuracy of these categories. We use text-injection to improve the recognition of PII categories by including fake textual substitutes of PII categories in the training data using a text injection method. We demonstrate substantial improvement to Recall of Names and Dates in medical notes while improving overall WER. For alphanumeric digit sequences we show improvements to Character Error Rate and Sentence Accuracy.
The last year has seen astonishing progress in text-prompted image generation premised on the idea of a cross-modal representation space in which the text and image domains are represented jointly. In ASR, this idea has found application as joint speech-text encoders that can scale to the capacities of very large parameter models by being trained on both unpaired speech and text. While these methods show promise, they have required special treatment of the sequence-length mismatch inherent in speech and text, either by up-sampling heuristics or an explicit alignment model. In this work, we offer evidence that joint speech-text encoders naturally achieve consistent representations across modalities by disregarding sequence length, and argue that consistency losses could forgive length differences and simply assume the best alignment. We show that such a loss improves downstream WER in both a large-parameter monolingual and multilingual system.
Recently, a number of approaches to train speech models by incorpo-rating text into end-to-end models have been developed, with Mae-stro advancing state-of-the-art automatic speech recognition (ASR)and Speech Translation (ST) performance. In this paper, we expandour understanding of the resulting shared speech-text representationswith two types of analyses. First we examine the limits of speech-free domain adaptation, finding that a corpus-specific duration modelfor speech-text alignment is the most important component for learn-ing a shared speech-text representation. Second, we inspect the sim-ilarities between activations of unimodal (speech or text) encodersas compared to the activations of a shared encoder. We find that theshared encoder learns a more compact and overlapping speech-textrepresentation than the uni-modal encoders. We hypothesize that thispartially explains the effectiveness of the Maestro shared speech-textrepresentations.
We introduce the Universal Speech Model (USM), a single large model that performs automatic speech recognition (ASR) across 100+ languages. This is achieved by pre-training the encoder of the model on a large unlabeled multilingual dataset of 12 million (M) hours spanning over 300 languages, and fine-tuning on a smaller labeled dataset. We use multilingual pre-training with random-projection quantization and speech-text modality matching to achieve state-of-the-art performance on downstream multilingual ASR and speech-to-text translation tasks. We also demonstrate that despite using a labeled training set 1/7-th the size of that used for the Whisper model, our model exhibits comparable or better performance on both in-domain and out-of-domain speech recognition tasks across many languages.
We propose JEIT, a joint end-to-end (E2E) model and internal language model (ILM) training method to inject large-scale unpaired text into ILM during E2E training which improves rare-word speech recognition. With JEIT, the E2E model computes an E2E loss on audio-transcript pairs while its ILM estimates a cross-entropy loss on unpaired text. The E2E model is trained to minimize a weighted sum of E2E and ILM losses. During JEIT, ILM absorbs knowledge from unpaired text while the E2E training serves as regularization. Unlike ILM adaptation methods, JEIT does not require a separate adaptation step and avoids the need for Kullback-Leibler divergence regularization of ILM. We also show that modular hybrid autoregressive transducer (MHAT) performs better than HAT in the JEIT framework, and is much more robust than HAT during ILM adaptation. To push the limit of unpaired text injection, we further propose a combined JEIT and JOIST training (CJJT) that benefits from modality matching, encoder text injection and ILM training. Both JEIT and CJJT can foster a more effective LM fusion. With 100B unpaired sentences, JEIT/CJJT improves rare-word recognition accuracy by up to 16.4% over a model trained without unpaired text.
* 2023 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal
Processing (ICASSP), Rhodes island, Greece * 5 pages, 3 figures, in ICASSP 2023
This paper proposes Virtuoso, a massively multilingual speech-text joint semi-supervised learning framework for text-to-speech synthesis (TTS) models. Existing multilingual TTS typically supports tens of languages, which are a small fraction of the thousands of languages in the world. One difficulty to scale multilingual TTS to hundreds of languages is collecting high-quality speech-text paired data in low-resource languages. This study extends Maestro, a speech-text joint pretraining framework for automatic speech recognition (ASR), to speech generation tasks. To train a TTS model from various types of speech and text data, different training schemes are designed to handle supervised (paired TTS and ASR data) and unsupervised (untranscribed speech and unspoken text) datasets. Experimental evaluation shows that 1) multilingual TTS models trained on Virtuoso can achieve significantly better naturalness and intelligibility than baseline ones in seen languages, and 2) they can synthesize reasonably intelligible and naturally sounding speech for unseen languages where no high-quality paired TTS data is available.
Data augmentation is a ubiquitous technique used to provide robustness to automatic speech recognition (ASR) training. However, even as so much of the ASR training process has become automated and more "end-to-end", the data augmentation policy (what augmentation functions to use, and how to apply them) remains hand-crafted. We present Graph-Augment, a technique to define the augmentation space as directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) and search over this space to optimize the augmentation policy itself. We show that given the same computational budget, policies produced by G-Augment are able to perform better than SpecAugment policies obtained by random search on fine-tuning tasks on CHiME-6 and AMI. G-Augment is also able to establish a new state-of-the-art ASR performance on the CHiME-6 evaluation set (30.7% WER). We further demonstrate that G-Augment policies show better transfer properties across warm-start to cold-start training and model size compared to random-searched SpecAugment policies.