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Enhancing Speech Intelligibility in Text-To-Speech Synthesis using Speaking Style Conversion

Aug 13, 2020
Dipjyoti Paul, Muhammed PV Shifas, Yannis Pantazis, Yannis Stylianou

The increased adoption of digital assistants makes text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis systems an indispensable feature of modern mobile devices. It is hence desirable to build a system capable of generating highly intelligible speech in the presence of noise. Past studies have investigated style conversion in TTS synthesis, yet degraded synthesized quality often leads to worse intelligibility. To overcome such limitations, we proposed a novel transfer learning approach using Tacotron and WaveRNN based TTS synthesis. The proposed speech system exploits two modification strategies: (a) Lombard speaking style data and (b) Spectral Shaping and Dynamic Range Compression (SSDRC) which has been shown to provide high intelligibility gains by redistributing the signal energy on the time-frequency domain. We refer to this extension as Lombard-SSDRC TTS system. Intelligibility enhancement as quantified by the Intelligibility in Bits (SIIB-Gauss) measure shows that the proposed Lombard-SSDRC TTS system shows significant relative improvement between 110% and 130% in speech-shaped noise (SSN), and 47% to 140% in competing-speaker noise (CSN) against the state-of-the-art TTS approach. Additional subjective evaluation shows that Lombard-SSDRC TTS successfully increases the speech intelligibility with relative improvement of 455% for SSN and 104% for CSN in median keyword correction rate compared to the baseline TTS method.

* Accepted in INTERSPEECH 2020 

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Reading StackOverflow Encourages Cheating: Adding Question Text Improves Extractive Code Generation

Jun 08, 2021
Gabriel Orlanski, Alex Gittens

Answering a programming question using only its title is difficult as salient contextual information is omitted. Based on this observation, we present a corpus of over 40,000 StackOverflow question texts to be used in conjunction with their corresponding intents from the CoNaLa dataset (Yin et al., 2018). Using both the intent and question body, we use BART to establish a baseline BLEU score of 34.35 for this new task. We find further improvements of $2.8\%$ by combining the mined CoNaLa data with the labeled data to achieve a 35.32 BLEU score. We evaluate prior state-of-the-art CoNaLa models with this additional data and find that our proposed method of using the body and mined data beats the BLEU score of the prior state-of-the-art by $71.96\%$. Finally, we perform ablations to demonstrate that BART is an unsupervised multimodal learner and examine its extractive behavior. The code and data can be found

* To be published in ACL-IJCNLP NLP4Prog workshop. (The First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Programming) 

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In Other News: A Bi-style Text-to-speech Model for Synthesizing Newscaster Voice with Limited Data

Apr 04, 2019
Nishant Prateek, Mateusz Łajszczak, Roberto Barra-Chicote, Thomas Drugman, Jaime Lorenzo-Trueba, Thomas Merritt, Srikanth Ronanki, Trevor Wood

Neural text-to-speech synthesis (NTTS) models have shown significant progress in generating high-quality speech, however they require a large quantity of training data. This makes creating models for multiple styles expensive and time-consuming. In this paper different styles of speech are analysed based on prosodic variations, from this a model is proposed to synthesise speech in the style of a newscaster, with just a few hours of supplementary data. We pose the problem of synthesising in a target style using limited data as that of creating a bi-style model that can synthesise both neutral-style and newscaster-style speech via a one-hot vector which factorises the two styles. We also propose conditioning the model on contextual word embeddings, and extensively evaluate it against neutral NTTS, and neutral concatenative-based synthesis. This model closes the gap in perceived style-appropriateness between natural recordings for newscaster-style of speech, and neutral speech synthesis by approximately two-thirds.

* Accepted at NAACL-HLT 2019 

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CU-UD: text-mining drug and chemical-protein interactions with ensembles of BERT-based models

Nov 11, 2021
Mehmet Efruz Karabulut, K. Vijay-Shanker, Yifan Peng

Identifying the relations between chemicals and proteins is an important text mining task. BioCreative VII track 1 DrugProt task aims to promote the development and evaluation of systems that can automatically detect relations between chemical compounds/drugs and genes/proteins in PubMed abstracts. In this paper, we describe our submission, which is an ensemble system, including multiple BERT-based language models. We combine the outputs of individual models using majority voting and multilayer perceptron. Our system obtained 0.7708 in precision and 0.7770 in recall, for an F1 score of 0.7739, demonstrating the effectiveness of using ensembles of BERT-based language models for automatically detecting relations between chemicals and proteins. Our code is available at

* Proceedings of the BioCreative VII Challenge Evaluation Workshop 

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"Will You Find These Shortcuts?" A Protocol for Evaluating the Faithfulness of Input Salience Methods for Text Classification

Nov 14, 2021
Jasmijn Bastings, Sebastian Ebert, Polina Zablotskaia, Anders Sandholm, Katja Filippova

Feature attribution a.k.a. input salience methods which assign an importance score to a feature are abundant but may produce surprisingly different results for the same model on the same input. While differences are expected if disparate definitions of importance are assumed, most methods claim to provide faithful attributions and point at the features most relevant for a model's prediction. Existing work on faithfulness evaluation is not conclusive and does not provide a clear answer as to how different methods are to be compared. Focusing on text classification and the model debugging scenario, our main contribution is a protocol for faithfulness evaluation that makes use of partially synthetic data to obtain ground truth for feature importance ranking. Following the protocol, we do an in-depth analysis of four standard salience method classes on a range of datasets and shortcuts for BERT and LSTM models and demonstrate that some of the most popular method configurations provide poor results even for simplest shortcuts. We recommend following the protocol for each new task and model combination to find the best method for identifying shortcuts.

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Fine-tuning Pretrained Language Models with Label Attention for Explainable Biomedical Text Classification

Aug 28, 2021
Bruce Nguyen, Shaoxiong Ji

The massive growth of digital biomedical data is making biomedical text indexing and classification increasingly important. Accordingly, previous research has devised numerous deep learning techniques focused on using feedforward, convolutional or recurrent neural architectures. More recently, fine-tuned transformers-based pretrained models (PTMs) have demonstrated superior performance compared to such models in many natural language processing tasks. However, the direct use of PTMs in the biomedical domain is only limited to the target documents, ignoring the rich semantic information in the label descriptions. In this paper, we develop an improved label attention-based architecture to inject semantic label description into the fine-tuning process of PTMs. Results on two public medical datasets show that the proposed fine-tuning scheme outperforms the conventionally fine-tuned PTMs and prior state-of-the-art models. Furthermore, we show that fine-tuning with the label attention mechanism is interpretable in the interpretability study.

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Improving Prosody for Unseen Texts in Speech Synthesis by Utilizing Linguistic Information and Noisy Data

Nov 15, 2021
Zhu Li, Yuqing Zhang, Mengxi Nie, Ming Yan, Mengnan He, Ruixiong Zhang, Caixia Gong

Recent advancements in end-to-end speech synthesis have made it possible to generate highly natural speech. However, training these models typically requires a large amount of high-fidelity speech data, and for unseen texts, the prosody of synthesized speech is relatively unnatural. To address these issues, we propose to combine a fine-tuned BERT-based front-end with a pre-trained FastSpeech2-based acoustic model to improve prosody modeling. The pre-trained BERT is fine-tuned on the polyphone disambiguation task, the joint Chinese word segmentation (CWS) and part-of-speech (POS) tagging task, and the prosody structure prediction (PSP) task in a multi-task learning framework. FastSpeech 2 is pre-trained on large-scale external data that are noisy but easier to obtain. Experimental results show that both the fine-tuned BERT model and the pre-trained FastSpeech 2 can improve prosody, especially for those structurally complex sentences.

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Automatic Text Summarization of COVID-19 Medical Research Articles using BERT and GPT-2

Jun 03, 2020
Virapat Kieuvongngam, Bowen Tan, Yiming Niu

With the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing urgency for medical community to keep up with the accelerating growth in the new coronavirus-related literature. As a result, the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge has released a corpus of scholarly articles and is calling for machine learning approaches to help bridging the gap between the researchers and the rapidly growing publications. Here, we take advantage of the recent advances in pre-trained NLP models, BERT and OpenAI GPT-2, to solve this challenge by performing text summarization on this dataset. We evaluate the results using ROUGE scores and visual inspection. Our model provides abstractive and comprehensive information based on keywords extracted from the original articles. Our work can help the the medical community, by providing succinct summaries of articles for which the abstract are not already available.

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Wi-Fringe: Leveraging Text Semantics in WiFi CSI-Based Device-Free Named Gesture Recognition

Aug 16, 2019
Md Tamzeed Islam, Shahriar Nirjon

The lack of adequate training data is one of the major hurdles in WiFi-based activity recognition systems. In this paper, we propose Wi-Fringe, which is a WiFi CSI-based device-free human gesture recognition system that recognizes named gestures, i.e., activities and gestures that have a semantically meaningful name in English language, as opposed to arbitrary free-form gestures. Given a list of activities (only their names in English text), along with zero or more training examples (WiFi CSI values) per activity, Wi-Fringe is able to detect all activities at runtime. In other words, a subset of activities that Wi-Fringe detects do not require any training examples at all.

* 12 pages 

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