Most research on task oriented dialog modeling is based on written text input. However, users interact with practical dialog systems often using speech as input. Typically, systems convert speech into text using an Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) system, introducing errors. Furthermore, these systems do not address the differences in written and spoken language. The research on this topic is stymied by the lack of a public corpus. Motivated by these considerations, our goal in hosting the speech-aware dialog state tracking challenge was to create a public corpus or task which can be used to investigate the performance gap between the written and spoken forms of input, develop models that could alleviate this gap, and establish whether Text-to-Speech-based (TTS) systems is a reasonable surrogate to the more-labor intensive human data collection. We created three spoken versions of the popular written-domain MultiWoz task -- (a) TTS-Verbatim: written user inputs were converted into speech waveforms using a TTS system, (b) Human-Verbatim: humans spoke the user inputs verbatim, and (c) Human-paraphrased: humans paraphrased the user inputs. Additionally, we provided different forms of ASR output to encourage wider participation from teams that may not have access to state-of-the-art ASR systems. These included ASR transcripts, word time stamps, and latent representations of the audio (audio encoder outputs). In this paper, we describe the corpus, report results from participating teams, provide preliminary analyses of their results, and summarize the current state-of-the-art in this domain.
Research on speech-to-speech translation (S2ST) has progressed rapidly in recent years. Many end-to-end systems have been proposed and show advantages over conventional cascade systems, which are often composed of recognition, translation and synthesis sub-systems. However, most of the end-to-end systems still rely on intermediate textual supervision during training, which makes it infeasible to work for languages without written forms. In this work, we propose a novel model, Textless Translatotron, which is based on Translatotron 2, for training an end-to-end direct S2ST model without any textual supervision. Instead of jointly training with an auxiliary task predicting target phonemes as in Translatotron 2, the proposed model uses an auxiliary task predicting discrete speech representations which are obtained from learned or random speech quantizers. When a speech encoder pre-trained with unsupervised speech data is used for both models, the proposed model obtains translation quality nearly on-par with Translatotron 2 on the multilingual CVSS-C corpus as well as the bilingual Fisher Spanish-English corpus. On the latter, it outperforms the prior state-of-the-art textless model by +18.5 BLEU.
Transfer tasks in text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis - where one or more aspects of the speech of one set of speakers is transferred to another set of speakers that do not feature these aspects originally - remains a challenging task. One of the challenges is that models that have high-quality transfer capabilities can have issues in stability, making them impractical for user-facing critical tasks. This paper demonstrates that transfer can be obtained by training a robust TTS system on data generated by a less robust TTS system designed for a high-quality transfer task; in particular, a CHiVE-BERT monolingual TTS system is trained on the output of a Tacotron model designed for accent transfer. While some quality loss is inevitable with this approach, experimental results show that the models trained on synthetic data this way can produce high quality audio displaying accent transfer, while preserving speaker characteristics such as speaking style.
We introduce XTREME-S, a new benchmark to evaluate universal cross-lingual speech representations in many languages. XTREME-S covers four task families: speech recognition, classification, speech-to-text translation and retrieval. Covering 102 languages from 10+ language families, 3 different domains and 4 task families, XTREME-S aims to simplify multilingual speech representation evaluation, as well as catalyze research in "universal" speech representation learning. This paper describes the new benchmark and establishes the first speech-only and speech-text baselines using XLS-R and mSLAM on all downstream tasks. We motivate the design choices and detail how to use the benchmark. Datasets and fine-tuning scripts are made easily accessible at https://hf.co/datasets/google/xtreme_s.
End-to-end speech-to-speech translation (S2ST) without relying on intermediate text representations is a rapidly emerging frontier of research. Recent works have demonstrated that the performance of such direct S2ST systems is approaching that of conventional cascade S2ST when trained on comparable datasets. However, in practice, the performance of direct S2ST is bounded by the availability of paired S2ST training data. In this work, we explore multiple approaches for leveraging much more widely available unsupervised and weakly-supervised speech and text data to improve the performance of direct S2ST based on Translatotron 2. With our most effective approaches, the average translation quality of direct S2ST on 21 language pairs on the CVSS-C corpus is improved by +13.6 BLEU (or +113% relatively), as compared to the previous state-of-the-art trained without additional data. The improvements on low-resource language are even more significant (+398% relatively on average). Our comparative studies suggest future research directions for S2ST and speech representation learning.
We present mSLAM, a multilingual Speech and LAnguage Model that learns cross-lingual cross-modal representations of speech and text by pre-training jointly on large amounts of unlabeled speech and text in multiple languages. mSLAM combines w2v-BERT pre-training on speech with SpanBERT pre-training on character-level text, along with Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) losses on paired speech and transcript data, to learn a single model capable of learning from and representing both speech and text signals in a shared representation space. We evaluate mSLAM on several downstream speech understanding tasks and find that joint pre-training with text improves quality on speech translation, speech intent classification and speech language-ID while being competitive on multilingual ASR, when compared against speech-only pre-training. Our speech translation model demonstrates zero-shot text translation without seeing any text translation data, providing evidence for cross-modal alignment of representations. mSLAM also benefits from multi-modal fine-tuning, further improving the quality of speech translation by directly leveraging text translation data during the fine-tuning process. Our empirical analysis highlights several opportunities and challenges arising from large-scale multimodal pre-training, suggesting directions for future research.
We introduce CVSS, a massively multilingual-to-English speech-to-speech translation (S2ST) corpus, covering sentence-level parallel S2ST pairs from 21 languages into English. CVSS is derived from the Common Voice speech corpus and the CoVoST 2 speech-to-text translation (ST) corpus, by synthesizing the translation text from CoVoST 2 into speech using state-of-the-art TTS systems. Two versions of translation speeches are provided: 1) CVSS-C: All the translation speeches are in a single high-quality canonical voice; 2) CVSS-T: The translation speeches are in voices transferred from the corresponding source speeches. In addition, CVSS provides normalized translation text which matches the pronunciation in the translation speech. On each version of CVSS, we built baseline multilingual direct S2ST models and cascade S2ST models, verifying the effectiveness of the corpus. To build strong cascade S2ST baselines, we trained an ST model on CoVoST 2, which outperforms the previous state-of-the-art trained on the corpus without extra data by 5.8 BLEU. Nevertheless, the performance of the direct S2ST models approaches the strong cascade baselines when trained from scratch, and with only 0.1 or 0.7 BLEU difference on ASR transcribed translation when initialized from matching ST models.
In this paper we present VDTTS, a Visually-Driven Text-to-Speech model. Motivated by dubbing, VDTTS takes advantage of video frames as an additional input alongside text, and generates speech that matches the video signal. We demonstrate how this allows VDTTS to, unlike plain TTS models, generate speech that not only has prosodic variations like natural pauses and pitch, but is also synchronized to the input video. Experimentally, we show our model produces well synchronized outputs, approaching the video-speech synchronization quality of the ground-truth, on several challenging benchmarks including "in-the-wild" content from VoxCeleb2. We encourage the reader to view the demo videos demonstrating video-speech synchronization, robustness to speaker ID swapping, and prosody.
Unsupervised pre-training is now the predominant approach for both text and speech understanding. Self-attention models pre-trained on large amounts of unannotated data have been hugely successful when fine-tuned on downstream tasks from a variety of domains and languages. This paper takes the universality of unsupervised language pre-training one step further, by unifying speech and text pre-training within a single model. We build a single encoder with the BERT objective on unlabeled text together with the w2v-BERT objective on unlabeled speech. To further align our model representations across modalities, we leverage alignment losses, specifically Translation Language Modeling (TLM) and Speech Text Matching (STM) that make use of supervised speech-text recognition data. We demonstrate that incorporating both speech and text data during pre-training can significantly improve downstream quality on CoVoST~2 speech translation, by around 1 BLEU compared to single-modality pre-trained models, while retaining close to SotA performance on LibriSpeech and SpeechStew ASR tasks. On four GLUE tasks and text-normalization, we observe evidence of capacity limitations and interference between the two modalities, leading to degraded performance compared to an equivalent text-only model, while still being competitive with BERT. Through extensive empirical analysis we also demonstrate the importance of the choice of objective function for speech pre-training, and the beneficial effect of adding additional supervised signals on the quality of the learned representations.