One of the major challenges for developing automatic speech recognition (ASR) for low-resource languages is the limited access to labeled data with domain-specific variations. In this study, we propose a pseudo-labeling approach to develop a large-scale domain-agnostic ASR dataset. With the proposed methodology, we developed a 20k+ hours labeled Bangla speech dataset covering diverse topics, speaking styles, dialects, noisy environments, and conversational scenarios. We then exploited the developed corpus to design a conformer-based ASR system. We benchmarked the trained ASR with publicly available datasets and compared it with other available models. To investigate the efficacy, we designed and developed a human-annotated domain-agnostic test set composed of news, telephony, and conversational data among others. Our results demonstrate the efficacy of the model trained on psuedo-label data for the designed test-set along with publicly-available Bangla datasets. The experimental resources will be publicly available.(https://github.com/hishab-nlp/Pseudo-Labeling-for-Domain-Agnostic-Bangla-ASR)
Pronunciation assessment and its application in computer-aided pronunciation training (CAPT) have seen impressive progress in recent years. With the rapid growth in language processing and deep learning over the past few years, there is a need for an updated review. In this paper, we review methods employed in pronunciation assessment for both phonemic and prosodic. We categorize the main challenges observed in prominent research trends, and highlight existing limitations, and available resources. This is followed by a discussion of the remaining challenges and possible directions for future work.
The phonological discrepancies between a speaker's native (L1) and the non-native language (L2) serves as a major factor for mispronunciation. This paper introduces a novel multilingual MDD architecture, L1-MultiMDD, enriched with L1-aware speech representation. An end-to-end speech encoder is trained on the input signal and its corresponding reference phoneme sequence. First, an attention mechanism is deployed to align the input audio with the reference phoneme sequence. Afterwards, the L1-L2-speech embedding are extracted from an auxiliary model, pretrained in a multi-task setup identifying L1 and L2 language, and are infused with the primary network. Finally, the L1-MultiMDD is then optimized for a unified multilingual phoneme recognition task using connectionist temporal classification (CTC) loss for the target languages: English, Arabic, and Mandarin. Our experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed L1-MultiMDD framework on both seen -- L2-ARTIC, LATIC, and AraVoiceL2v2; and unseen -- EpaDB and Speechocean762 datasets. The consistent gains in PER, and false rejection rate (FRR) across all target languages confirm our approach's robustness, efficacy, and generalizability.
Research on pronunciation assessment systems focuses on utilizing phonetic and phonological aspects of non-native (L2) speech, often neglecting the rich layer of information hidden within the non-verbal cues. In this study, we proposed a novel pronunciation assessment framework, IntraVerbalPA. % The framework innovatively incorporates both fine-grained frame- and abstract utterance-level non-verbal cues, alongside the conventional speech and phoneme representations. Additionally, we introduce ''Goodness of phonemic-duration'' metric to effectively model duration distribution within the framework. Our results validate the effectiveness of the proposed IntraVerbalPA framework and its individual components, yielding performance that either matches or outperforms existing research works.
The recent development and success of Large Language Models (LLMs) necessitate an evaluation of their performance across diverse NLP tasks in different languages. Although several frameworks have been developed and made publicly available, their customization capabilities for specific tasks and datasets are often complex for different users. In this study, we introduce the LLMeBench framework. Initially developed to evaluate Arabic NLP tasks using OpenAI's GPT and BLOOM models; it can be seamlessly customized for any NLP task and model, regardless of language. The framework also features zero- and few-shot learning settings. A new custom dataset can be added in less than 10 minutes, and users can use their own model API keys to evaluate the task at hand. The developed framework has been already tested on 31 unique NLP tasks using 53 publicly available datasets within 90 experimental setups, involving approximately 296K data points. We plan to open-source the framework for the community (https://github.com/qcri/LLMeBench/). A video demonstrating the framework is available online (https://youtu.be/FkQn4UjYA0s).
* Foundation Models, Large Language Models, NLP, CHatGPT Evaluation,
We introduce MyVoice, a crowdsourcing platform designed to collect Arabic speech to enhance dialectal speech technologies. This platform offers an opportunity to design large dialectal speech datasets; and makes them publicly available. MyVoice allows contributors to select city/country-level fine-grained dialect and record the displayed utterances. Users can switch roles between contributors and annotators. The platform incorporates a quality assurance system that filters out low-quality and spurious recordings before sending them for validation. During the validation phase, contributors can assess the quality of recordings, annotate them, and provide feedback which is then reviewed by administrators. Furthermore, the platform offers flexibility to admin roles to add new data or tasks beyond dialectal speech and word collection, which are displayed to contributors. Thus, enabling collaborative efforts in gathering diverse and large Arabic speech data.
* 2 pages, accepted at InterSpeech23 Show and Tell Session
The disparity in phonology between learner's native (L1) and target (L2) language poses a significant challenge for mispronunciation detection and diagnosis (MDD) systems. This challenge is further intensified by lack of annotated L2 data. This paper proposes a novel MDD architecture that exploits multiple `views' of the same input data assisted by auxiliary tasks to learn more distinctive phonetic representation in a low-resource setting. Using the mono- and multilingual encoders, the model learn multiple views of the input, and capture the sound properties across diverse languages and accents. These encoded representations are further enriched by learning articulatory features in a multi-task setup. Our reported results using the L2-ARCTIC data outperformed the SOTA models, with a phoneme error rate reduction of 11.13% and 8.60% and absolute F1 score increase of 5.89%, and 2.49% compared to the single-view mono- and multilingual systems, with a limited L2 dataset.
With large Foundation Models (FMs), language technologies (AI in general) are entering a new paradigm: eliminating the need for developing large-scale task-specific datasets and supporting a variety of tasks through set-ups ranging from zero-shot to few-shot learning. However, understanding FMs capabilities requires a systematic benchmarking effort by comparing FMs performance with the state-of-the-art (SOTA) task-specific models. With that goal, past work focused on the English language and included a few efforts with multiple languages. Our study contributes to ongoing research by evaluating FMs performance for standard Arabic NLP and Speech processing, including a range of tasks from sequence tagging to content classification across diverse domains. We start with zero-shot learning using GPT-3.5-turbo, Whisper, and USM, addressing 33 unique tasks using 59 publicly available datasets resulting in 96 test setups. For a few tasks, FMs performs on par or exceeds the performance of the SOTA models but for the majority it under-performs. Given the importance of prompt for the FMs performance, we discuss our prompt strategies in detail and elaborate on our findings. Our future work on Arabic AI will explore few-shot prompting, expand the range of tasks, and investigate additional open-source models.
* Foundation Models, Large Language Models, Arabic NLP, Arabic Speech,
Arabic AI, , CHatGPT Evaluation, USM Evaluation, Whisper Evaluation
This paper introduces a novel Arabic pronunciation learning application QVoice, powered with end-to-end mispronunciation detection and feedback generator module. The application is designed to support non-native Arabic speakers in enhancing their pronunciation skills, while also helping native speakers mitigate any potential influence from regional dialects on their Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) pronunciation. QVoice employs various learning cues to aid learners in comprehending meaning, drawing connections with their existing knowledge of English language, and offers detailed feedback for pronunciation correction, along with contextual examples showcasing word usage. The learning cues featured in QVoice encompass a wide range of meaningful information, such as visualizations of phrases/words and their translations, as well as phonetic transcriptions and transliterations. QVoice provides pronunciation feedback at the character level and assesses performance at the word level.
The success of the multilingual automatic speech recognition systems empowered many voice-driven applications. However, measuring the performance of such systems remains a major challenge, due to its dependency on manually transcribed speech data in both mono- and multilingual scenarios. In this paper, we propose a novel multilingual framework -- eWER3 -- jointly trained on acoustic and lexical representation to estimate word error rate. We demonstrate the effectiveness of eWER3 to (i) predict WER without using any internal states from the ASR and (ii) use the multilingual shared latent space to push the performance of the close-related languages. We show our proposed multilingual model outperforms the previous monolingual word error rate estimation method (eWER2) by an absolute 9\% increase in Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC), with better overall estimation between the predicted and reference WER.
* Accepted in ICASSP, Multilingual WER estimation, End-to-End systems,
multilingual model, automatic word error rate estimation