Neural text-to-speech (TTS) has achieved human-like synthetic speech for single-speaker, single-language synthesis. Multilingual TTS systems are limited to resource-rich languages due to the lack of large paired text and studio-quality audio data. In most cases, TTS systems are built using a single speaker's voice. However, there is growing interest in developing systems that can synthesize voices for new speakers using only a few seconds of their speech. This paper presents ZMM-TTS, a multilingual and multispeaker framework utilizing quantized latent speech representations from a large-scale, pre-trained, self-supervised model. Our paper is the first to incorporate the representations from text-based and speech-based self-supervised learning models into multilingual speech synthesis tasks. We conducted comprehensive subjective and objective evaluations through a series of experiments. Our model has been proven effective in terms of speech naturalness and similarity for both seen and unseen speakers in six high-resource languages. We also tested the efficiency of our method on two hypothetical low-resource languages. The results are promising, indicating that our proposed approach can synthesize audio that is intelligible and has a high degree of similarity to the target speaker's voice, even without any training data for the new, unseen language.
Automatically predicting the outcome of subjective listening tests is a challenging task. Ratings may vary from person to person even if preferences are consistent across listeners. While previous work has focused on predicting listeners' ratings (mean opinion scores) of individual stimuli, we focus on the simpler task of predicting subjective preference given two speech stimuli for the same text. We propose a model based on anti-symmetric twin neural networks, trained on pairs of waveforms and their corresponding preference scores. We explore both attention and recurrent neural nets to account for the fact that stimuli in a pair are not time aligned. To obtain a large training set we convert listeners' ratings from MUSHRA tests to values that reflect how often one stimulus in the pair was rated higher than the other. Specifically, we evaluate performance on data obtained from twelve MUSHRA evaluations conducted over five years, containing different TTS systems, built from data of different speakers. Our results compare favourably to a state-of-the-art model trained to predict MOS scores.
Ultrasound tongue imaging is used to visualise the intra-oral articulators during speech production. It is utilised in a range of applications, including speech and language therapy and phonetics research. Ultrasound and speech audio are recorded simultaneously, and in order to correctly use this data, the two modalities should be correctly synchronised. Synchronisation is achieved using specialised hardware at recording time, but this approach can fail in practice resulting in data of limited usability. In this paper, we address the problem of automatically synchronising ultrasound and audio after data collection. We first investigate the tolerance of expert ultrasound users to synchronisation errors in order to find the thresholds for error detection. We use these thresholds to define accuracy scoring boundaries for evaluating our system. We then describe our approach for automatic synchronisation, which is driven by a self-supervised neural network, exploiting the correlation between the two signals to synchronise them. We train our model on data from multiple domains with different speaker characteristics, different equipment, and different recording environments, and achieve an accuracy >92.4% on held-out in-domain data. Finally, we introduce a novel resource, the Cleft dataset, which we gathered with a new clinical subgroup and for which hardware synchronisation proved unreliable. We apply our model to this out-of-domain data, and evaluate its performance subjectively with expert users. Results show that users prefer our model's output over the original hardware output 79.3% of the time. Our results demonstrate the strength of our approach and its ability to generalise to data from new domains.
* 18 pages, 10 figures. Manuscript accepted at Speech Communication
We investigate multi-speaker speech recognition from ultrasound images of the tongue and video images of the lips. We train our systems on imaging data from modal speech, and evaluate on matched test sets of two speaking modes: silent and modal speech. We observe that silent speech recognition from imaging data underperforms compared to modal speech recognition, likely due to a speaking-mode mismatch between training and testing. We improve silent speech recognition performance using techniques that address the domain mismatch, such as fMLLR and unsupervised model adaptation. We also analyse the properties of silent and modal speech in terms of utterance duration and the size of the articulatory space. To estimate the articulatory space, we compute the convex hull of tongue splines, extracted from ultrasound tongue images. Overall, we observe that the duration of silent speech is longer than that of modal speech, and that silent speech covers a smaller articulatory space than modal speech. Although these two properties are statistically significant across speaking modes, they do not directly correlate with word error rates from speech recognition.
* 5 pages, 5 figures, Submitted to Interspeech 2021
Speech sound disorders are a common communication impairment in childhood. Because speech disorders can negatively affect the lives and the development of children, clinical intervention is often recommended. To help with diagnosis and treatment, clinicians use instrumented methods such as spectrograms or ultrasound tongue imaging to analyse speech articulations. Analysis with these methods can be laborious for clinicians, therefore there is growing interest in its automation. In this paper, we investigate the contribution of ultrasound tongue imaging for the automatic detection of speech articulation errors. Our systems are trained on typically developing child speech and augmented with a database of adult speech using audio and ultrasound. Evaluation on typically developing speech indicates that pre-training on adult speech and jointly using ultrasound and audio gives the best results with an accuracy of 86.9%. To evaluate on disordered speech, we collect pronunciation scores from experienced speech and language therapists, focusing on cases of velar fronting and gliding of /r/. The scores show good inter-annotator agreement for velar fronting, but not for gliding errors. For automatic velar fronting error detection, the best results are obtained when jointly using ultrasound and audio. The best system correctly detects 86.6% of the errors identified by experienced clinicians. Out of all the segments identified as errors by the best system, 73.2% match errors identified by clinicians. Results on automatic gliding detection are harder to interpret due to poor inter-annotator agreement, but appear promising. Overall findings suggest that automatic detection of speech articulation errors has potential to be integrated into ultrasound intervention software for automatically quantifying progress during speech therapy.
We present the Tongue and Lips corpus (TaL), a multi-speaker corpus of audio, ultrasound tongue imaging, and lip videos. TaL consists of two parts: TaL1 is a set of six recording sessions of one professional voice talent, a male native speaker of English; TaL80 is a set of recording sessions of 81 native speakers of English without voice talent experience. Overall, the corpus contains 24 hours of parallel ultrasound, video, and audio data, of which approximately 13.5 hours are speech. This paper describes the corpus and presents benchmark results for the tasks of speech recognition, speech synthesis (articulatory-to-acoustic mapping), and automatic synchronisation of ultrasound to audio. The TaL corpus is publicly available under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.
* 8 pages, 4 figures, Accepted to SLT2021, IEEE Spoken Language
We investigate the automatic processing of child speech therapy sessions using ultrasound visual biofeedback, with a specific focus on complementing acoustic features with ultrasound images of the tongue for the tasks of speaker diarization and time-alignment of target words. For speaker diarization, we propose an ultrasound-based time-domain signal which we call estimated tongue activity. For word-alignment, we augment an acoustic model with low-dimensional representations of ultrasound images of the tongue, learned by a convolutional neural network. We conduct our experiments using the Ultrasuite repository of ultrasound and speech recordings for child speech therapy sessions. For both tasks, we observe that systems augmented with ultrasound data outperform corresponding systems using only the audio signal.
* 5 pages, 3 figures, Accepted for publication at Interspeech 2019
We introduce UltraSuite, a curated repository of ultrasound and acoustic data, collected from recordings of child speech therapy sessions. This release includes three data collections, one from typically developing children and two from children with speech sound disorders. In addition, it includes a set of annotations, some manual and some automatically produced, and software tools to process, transform and visualise the data.
* 5 pages, 1 figure, 3 tables; accepted to Interspeech 2018: 19th
Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association
Audiovisual synchronisation is the task of determining the time offset between speech audio and a video recording of the articulators. In child speech therapy, audio and ultrasound videos of the tongue are captured using instruments which rely on hardware to synchronise the two modalities at recording time. Hardware synchronisation can fail in practice, and no mechanism exists to synchronise the signals post hoc. To address this problem, we employ a two-stream neural network which exploits the correlation between the two modalities to find the offset. We train our model on recordings from 69 speakers, and show that it correctly synchronises 82.9% of test utterances from unseen therapy sessions and unseen speakers, thus considerably reducing the number of utterances to be manually synchronised. An analysis of model performance on the test utterances shows that directed phone articulations are more difficult to automatically synchronise compared to utterances containing natural variation in speech such as words, sentences, or conversations.
* 5 pages, 1 figure, 4 tables; accepted to Interspeech 2019: the 20th
Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association