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"speech": models, code, and papers

Modality Dropout for Improved Performance-driven Talking Faces

May 27, 2020
Ahmed Hussen Abdelaziz, Barry-John Theobald, Paul Dixon, Reinhard Knothe, Nicholas Apostoloff, Sachin Kajareker

We describe our novel deep learning approach for driving animated faces using both acoustic and visual information. In particular, speech-related facial movements are generated using audiovisual information, and non-speech facial movements are generated using only visual information. To ensure that our model exploits both modalities during training, batches are generated that contain audio-only, video-only, and audiovisual input features. The probability of dropping a modality allows control over the degree to which the model exploits audio and visual information during training. Our trained model runs in real-time on resource limited hardware (e.g.\ a smart phone), it is user agnostic, and it is not dependent on a potentially error-prone transcription of the speech. We use subjective testing to demonstrate: 1) the improvement of audiovisual-driven animation over the equivalent video-only approach, and 2) the improvement in the animation of speech-related facial movements after introducing modality dropout. Before introducing dropout, viewers prefer audiovisual-driven animation in 51% of the test sequences compared with only 18% for video-driven. After introducing dropout viewer preference for audiovisual-driven animation increases to 74%, but decreases to 8% for video-only.

* Pre-print 

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LSTM-based Whisper Detection

Sep 20, 2018
Zeynab Raeesy, Kellen Gillespie, Chengyuan Ma, Thomas Drugman, Jiacheng Gu, Roland Maas, Ariya Rastrow, Björn Hoffmeister

This article presents a whisper speech detector in the far-field domain. The proposed system consists of a long-short term memory (LSTM) neural network trained on log-filterbank energy (LFBE) acoustic features. This model is trained and evaluated on recordings of human interactions with voice-controlled, far-field devices in whisper and normal phonation modes. We compare multiple inference approaches for utterance-level classification by examining trajectories of the LSTM posteriors. In addition, we engineer a set of features based on the signal characteristics inherent to whisper speech, and evaluate their effectiveness in further separating whisper from normal speech. A benchmarking of these features using multilayer perceptrons (MLP) and LSTMs suggests that the proposed features, in combination with LFBE features, can help us further improve our classifiers. We prove that, with enough data, the LSTM model is indeed as capable of learning whisper characteristics from LFBE features alone com- pared to a simpler MLP model that uses both LFBE and features engineered for separating whisper and normal speech. In addition, we prove that the LSTM classifiers accuracy can be further improved with the incorporation of the proposed engineered features.


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Deliberation Model for On-Device Spoken Language Understanding

Apr 04, 2022
Duc Le, Akshat Shrivastava, Paden Tomasello, Suyoun Kim, Aleksandr Livshits, Ozlem Kalinli, Michael L. Seltzer

We propose a novel deliberation-based approach to end-to-end (E2E) spoken language understanding (SLU), where a streaming automatic speech recognition (ASR) model produces the first-pass hypothesis and a second-pass natural language understanding (NLU) component generates the semantic parse by conditioning on both ASR's text and audio embeddings. By formulating E2E SLU as a generalized decoder, our system is able to support complex compositional semantic structures. Furthermore, the sharing of parameters between ASR and NLU makes the system especially suitable for resource-constrained (on-device) environments; our proposed approach consistently outperforms strong pipeline NLU baselines by 0.82% to 1.34% across various operating points on the spoken version of the TOPv2 dataset. We demonstrate that the fusion of text and audio features, coupled with the system's ability to rewrite the first-pass hypothesis, makes our approach more robust to ASR errors. Finally, we show that our approach can significantly reduce the degradation when moving from natural speech to synthetic speech training, but more work is required to make text-to-speech (TTS) a viable solution for scaling up E2E SLU.

* Submitted to INTERSPEECH 2022 

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Global Rhythm Style Transfer Without Text Transcriptions

Jun 16, 2021
Kaizhi Qian, Yang Zhang, Shiyu Chang, Jinjun Xiong, Chuang Gan, David Cox, Mark Hasegawa-Johnson

Prosody plays an important role in characterizing the style of a speaker or an emotion, but most non-parallel voice or emotion style transfer algorithms do not convert any prosody information. Two major components of prosody are pitch and rhythm. Disentangling the prosody information, particularly the rhythm component, from the speech is challenging because it involves breaking the synchrony between the input speech and the disentangled speech representation. As a result, most existing prosody style transfer algorithms would need to rely on some form of text transcriptions to identify the content information, which confines their application to high-resource languages only. Recently, SpeechSplit has made sizeable progress towards unsupervised prosody style transfer, but it is unable to extract high-level global prosody style in an unsupervised manner. In this paper, we propose AutoPST, which can disentangle global prosody style from speech without relying on any text transcriptions. AutoPST is an Autoencoder-based Prosody Style Transfer framework with a thorough rhythm removal module guided by the self-expressive representation learning. Experiments on different style transfer tasks show that AutoPST can effectively convert prosody that correctly reflects the styles of the target domains.


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Privacy-Preserving Adversarial Representation Learning in ASR: Reality or Illusion?

Nov 12, 2019
Brij Mohan Lal Srivastava, Aurélien Bellet, Marc Tommasi, Emmanuel Vincent

Automatic speech recognition (ASR) is a key technology in many services and applications. This typically requires user devices to send their speech data to the cloud for ASR decoding. As the speech signal carries a lot of information about the speaker, this raises serious privacy concerns. As a solution, an encoder may reside on each user device which performs local computations to anonymize the representation. In this paper, we focus on the protection of speaker identity and study the extent to which users can be recognized based on the encoded representation of their speech as obtained by a deep encoder-decoder architecture trained for ASR. Through speaker identification and verification experiments on the Librispeech corpus with open and closed sets of speakers, we show that the representations obtained from a standard architecture still carry a lot of information about speaker identity. We then propose to use adversarial training to learn representations that perform well in ASR while hiding speaker identity. Our results demonstrate that adversarial training dramatically reduces the closed-set classification accuracy, but this does not translate into increased open-set verification error hence into increased protection of the speaker identity in practice. We suggest several possible reasons behind this negative result.


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Novel Quality Metric for Duration Variability Compensation in Speaker Verification using i-Vectors

Dec 03, 2018
Arnab Poddar, Md Sahidullah, Goutam Saha

Automatic speaker verification (ASV) is the process to recognize persons using voice as biometric. The ASV systems show considerable recognition performance with sufficient amount of speech from matched condition. One of the crucial challenges of ASV technology is to improve recognition performance with speech segments of short duration. In short duration condition, the model parameters are not properly estimated due to inadequate speech information, and this results poor recognition accuracy even with the state-of-the-art i-vector based ASV system. We hypothesize that considering the estimation quality during recognition process would help to improve the ASV performance. This can be incorporated as a quality measure during fusion of ASV systems. This paper investigates a new quality measure for i-vector representation of speech utterances computed directly from Baum-Welch statistics. The proposed metric is subsequently used as quality measure during fusion of ASV systems. In experiments with the NIST SRE 2008 corpus, We have shown that inclusion of proposed quality metric exhibits considerable improvement in speaker verification performance. The results also indicate the potentiality of the proposed method in real-world scenario with short test utterances.

* Accepted and presented in ICAPR 2017, Bangalore, India 

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Pushing the Limits of Non-Autoregressive Speech Recognition

Apr 12, 2021
Edwin G. Ng, Chung-Cheng Chiu, Yu Zhang, William Chan

We combine recent advancements in end-to-end speech recognition to non-autoregressive automatic speech recognition. We push the limits of non-autoregressive state-of-the-art results for multiple datasets: LibriSpeech, Fisher+Switchboard and Wall Street Journal. Key to our recipe, we leverage CTC on giant Conformer neural network architectures with SpecAugment and wav2vec2 pre-training. We achieve 1.8%/3.6% WER on LibriSpeech test/test-other sets, 5.1%/9.8% WER on Switchboard, and 3.4% on the Wall Street Journal, all without a language model.

* Submitted to Interspeech 2021 

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Revisiting Over-Smoothness in Text to Speech

Feb 26, 2022
Yi Ren, Xu Tan, Tao Qin, Zhou Zhao, Tie-Yan Liu

Non-autoregressive text to speech (NAR-TTS) models have attracted much attention from both academia and industry due to their fast generation speed. One limitation of NAR-TTS models is that they ignore the correlation in time and frequency domains while generating speech mel-spectrograms, and thus cause blurry and over-smoothed results. In this work, we revisit this over-smoothing problem from a novel perspective: the degree of over-smoothness is determined by the gap between the complexity of data distributions and the capability of modeling methods. Both simplifying data distributions and improving modeling methods can alleviate the problem. Accordingly, we first study methods reducing the complexity of data distributions. Then we conduct a comprehensive study on NAR-TTS models that use some advanced modeling methods. Based on these studies, we find that 1) methods that provide additional condition inputs reduce the complexity of data distributions to model, thus alleviating the over-smoothing problem and achieving better voice quality. 2) Among advanced modeling methods, Laplacian mixture loss performs well at modeling multimodal distributions and enjoys its simplicity, while GAN and Glow achieve the best voice quality while suffering from increased training or model complexity. 3) The two categories of methods can be combined to further alleviate the over-smoothness and improve the voice quality. 4) Our experiments on the multi-speaker dataset lead to similar conclusions as above and providing more variance information can reduce the difficulty of modeling the target data distribution and alleviate the requirements for model capacity.

* Accepted by ACL 2022 

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Controllable Image Captioning

May 03, 2022
Luka Maxwell

State-of-the-art image captioners can generate accurate sentences to describe images in a sequence to sequence manner without considering the controllability and interpretability. This, however, is far from making image captioning widely used as an image can be interpreted in infinite ways depending on the target and the context at hand. Achieving controllability is important especially when the image captioner is used by different people with different way of interpreting the images. In this paper, we introduce a novel framework for image captioning which can generate diverse descriptions by capturing the co-dependence between Part-Of-Speech tags and semantics. Our model decouples direct dependence between successive variables. In this way, it allows the decoder to exhaustively search through the latent Part-Of-Speech choices, while keeping decoding speed proportional to the size of the POS vocabulary. Given a control signal in the form of a sequence of Part-Of-Speech tags, we propose a method to generate captions through a Transformer network, which predicts words based on the input Part-Of-Speech tag sequences. Experiments on publicly available datasets show that our model significantly outperforms state-of-the-art methods on generating diverse image captions with high qualities.

* arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1908.11782, arXiv:2107.14178 by other authors 

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