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"speech recognition": models, code, and papers

WeNet: Production First and Production Ready End-to-End Speech Recognition Toolkit

Feb 02, 2021
Binbin Zhang, Di Wu, Chao Yang, Xiaoyu Chen, Zhendong Peng, Xiangming Wang, Zhuoyuan Yao, Xiong Wang, Fan Yu, Lei Xie, Xin Lei

In this paper, we present a new open source, production first and production ready end-to-end (E2E) speech recognition toolkit named WeNet. The main motivation of WeNet is to close the gap between the research and the production of E2E speech recognition models. WeNet provides an efficient way to ship ASR applications in several real-world scenarios, which is the main difference and advantage to other open source E2E speech recognition toolkits. This paper introduces WeNet from three aspects, including model architecture, framework design and performance metrics. Our experiments on AISHELL-1 using WeNet, not only give a promising character error rate (CER) on a unified streaming and non-streaming two pass (U2) E2E model but also show reasonable RTF and latency, both of these aspects are favored for production adoption. The toolkit is publicly available at

* 5 pages, 2 figures, 4 tables 
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Fusing Wav2vec2.0 and BERT into End-to-end Model for Low-resource Speech Recognition

Jan 17, 2021
Cheng Yi, Shiyu Zhou, Bo Xu

Self-supervised acoustic pre-training has achieved impressive results on low-resource speech recognition tasks. It indicates that the pretrain-and-finetune paradigm is a promising direction. In this work, we propose an end-to-end model for the low-resource speech recognition, which fuses a pre-trained audio encoder (wav2vec2.0) and a pre-trained text decoder (BERT). The two modules are connected by a linear attention mechanism without parameters. A fully connected layer is introduced for hidden mapping between speech and language modalities. Besides, we design an effective fine-tuning strategy to preserve and utilize the text context modeling ability of the pre-trained decoder. Armed with this strategy, our model exhibits distinct faster convergence and better performance. Our model achieves approaching recognition performance in CALLHOME corpus (15h) as the SOTA pipeline modeling.

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An online sequence-to-sequence model for noisy speech recognition

Jun 16, 2017
Chung-Cheng Chiu, Dieterich Lawson, Yuping Luo, George Tucker, Kevin Swersky, Ilya Sutskever, Navdeep Jaitly

Generative models have long been the dominant approach for speech recognition. The success of these models however relies on the use of sophisticated recipes and complicated machinery that is not easily accessible to non-practitioners. Recent innovations in Deep Learning have given rise to an alternative - discriminative models called Sequence-to-Sequence models, that can almost match the accuracy of state of the art generative models. While these models are easy to train as they can be trained end-to-end in a single step, they have a practical limitation that they can only be used for offline recognition. This is because the models require that the entirety of the input sequence be available at the beginning of inference, an assumption that is not valid for instantaneous speech recognition. To address this problem, online sequence-to-sequence models were recently introduced. These models are able to start producing outputs as data arrives, and the model feels confident enough to output partial transcripts. These models, like sequence-to-sequence are causal - the output produced by the model until any time, $t$, affects the features that are computed subsequently. This makes the model inherently more powerful than generative models that are unable to change features that are computed from the data. This paper highlights two main contributions - an improvement to online sequence-to-sequence model training, and its application to noisy settings with mixed speech from two speakers.

* arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1608.01281 
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Character-Level Incremental Speech Recognition with Recurrent Neural Networks

Jan 28, 2016
Kyuyeon Hwang, Wonyong Sung

In real-time speech recognition applications, the latency is an important issue. We have developed a character-level incremental speech recognition (ISR) system that responds quickly even during the speech, where the hypotheses are gradually improved while the speaking proceeds. The algorithm employs a speech-to-character unidirectional recurrent neural network (RNN), which is end-to-end trained with connectionist temporal classification (CTC), and an RNN-based character-level language model (LM). The output values of the CTC-trained RNN are character-level probabilities, which are processed by beam search decoding. The RNN LM augments the decoding by providing long-term dependency information. We propose tree-based online beam search with additional depth-pruning, which enables the system to process infinitely long input speech with low latency. This system not only responds quickly on speech but also can dictate out-of-vocabulary (OOV) words according to pronunciation. The proposed model achieves the word error rate (WER) of 8.90% on the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Nov'92 20K evaluation set when trained on the WSJ SI-284 training set.

* To appear in ICASSP 2016 
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Gated Embeddings in End-to-End Speech Recognition for Conversational-Context Fusion

Jun 27, 2019
Suyoun Kim, Siddharth Dalmia, Florian Metze

We present a novel conversational-context aware end-to-end speech recognizer based on a gated neural network that incorporates conversational-context/word/speech embeddings. Unlike conventional speech recognition models, our model learns longer conversational-context information that spans across sentences and is consequently better at recognizing long conversations. Specifically, we propose to use the text-based external word and/or sentence embeddings (i.e., fastText, BERT) within an end-to-end framework, yielding a significant improvement in word error rate with better conversational-context representation. We evaluated the models on the Switchboard conversational speech corpus and show that our model outperforms standard end-to-end speech recognition models.

* ACL 2019 
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NN-grams: Unifying neural network and n-gram language models for Speech Recognition

Jun 23, 2016
Babak Damavandi, Shankar Kumar, Noam Shazeer, Antoine Bruguier

We present NN-grams, a novel, hybrid language model integrating n-grams and neural networks (NN) for speech recognition. The model takes as input both word histories as well as n-gram counts. Thus, it combines the memorization capacity and scalability of an n-gram model with the generalization ability of neural networks. We report experiments where the model is trained on 26B words. NN-grams are efficient at run-time since they do not include an output soft-max layer. The model is trained using noise contrastive estimation (NCE), an approach that transforms the estimation problem of neural networks into one of binary classification between data samples and noise samples. We present results with noise samples derived from either an n-gram distribution or from speech recognition lattices. NN-grams outperforms an n-gram model on an Italian speech recognition dictation task.

* To be published in the proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2016 
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VOTE400(Voide Of The Elderly 400 Hours): A Speech Dataset to Study Voice Interface for Elderly-Care

Jan 20, 2021
Minsu Jang, Sangwon Seo, Dohyung Kim, Jaeyeon Lee, Jaehong Kim, Jun-Hwan Ahn

This paper introduces a large-scale Korean speech dataset, called VOTE400, that can be used for analyzing and recognizing voices of the elderly people. The dataset includes about 300 hours of continuous dialog speech and 100 hours of read speech, both recorded by the elderly people aged 65 years or over. A preliminary experiment showed that speech recognition system trained with VOTE400 can outperform conventional systems in speech recognition of elderly people's voice. This work is a multi-organizational effort led by ETRI and MINDs Lab Inc. for the purpose of advancing the speech recognition performance of the elderly-care robots.

* 3 pages, 7 tables 
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Semi-Supervised Model Training for Unbounded Conversational Speech Recognition

May 26, 2017
Shane Walker, Morten Pedersen, Iroro Orife, Jason Flaks

For conversational large-vocabulary continuous speech recognition (LVCSR) tasks, up to about two thousand hours of audio is commonly used to train state of the art models. Collection of labeled conversational audio however, is prohibitively expensive, laborious and error-prone. Furthermore, academic corpora like Fisher English (2004) or Switchboard (1992) are inadequate to train models with sufficient accuracy in the unbounded space of conversational speech. These corpora are also timeworn due to dated acoustic telephony features and the rapid advancement of colloquial vocabulary and idiomatic speech over the last decades. Utilizing the colossal scale of our unlabeled telephony dataset, we propose a technique to construct a modern, high quality conversational speech training corpus on the order of hundreds of millions of utterances (or tens of thousands of hours) for both acoustic and language model training. We describe the data collection, selection and training, evaluating the results of our updated speech recognition system on a test corpus of 7K manually transcribed utterances. We show relative word error rate (WER) reductions of {35%, 19%} on {agent, caller} utterances over our seed model and 5% absolute WER improvements over IBM Watson STT on this conversational speech task.

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The NTNU System for Formosa Speech Recognition Challenge 2020

Apr 20, 2021
Fu-An Chao, Tien-Hong Lo, Shi-Yan Weng, Shih-Hsuan Chiu, Yao-Ting Sung, Berlin Chen

This paper describes the NTNU ASR system participating in the Formosa Speech Recognition Challenge 2020 (FSR-2020) supported by the Formosa Speech in the Wild project (FSW). FSR-2020 aims at fostering the development of Taiwanese speech recognition. Apart from the issues on tonal and dialectical variations of the Taiwanese language, speech artificially contaminated with different types of real-world noise also has to be dealt with in the final test stage; all of these make FSR-2020 much more challenging than before. To work around the under-resourced issue, the main technical aspects of our ASR system include various deep learning techniques, such as transfer learning, semi-supervised learning, front-end speech enhancement and model ensemble, as well as data cleansing and data augmentation conducted on the training data. With the best configuration, our system takes the first place among all participating systems in Track 3.

* 17 pages, 3 figures, Submitted for publication 
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