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"speech": models, code, and papers

Wav2Letter: an End-to-End ConvNet-based Speech Recognition System

Sep 13, 2016
Ronan Collobert, Christian Puhrsch, Gabriel Synnaeve

This paper presents a simple end-to-end model for speech recognition, combining a convolutional network based acoustic model and a graph decoding. It is trained to output letters, with transcribed speech, without the need for force alignment of phonemes. We introduce an automatic segmentation criterion for training from sequence annotation without alignment that is on par with CTC while being simpler. We show competitive results in word error rate on the Librispeech corpus with MFCC features, and promising results from raw waveform.

* 8 pages, 4 figures (7 plots/schemas), 2 tables (4 tabulars) 

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Decoupling Speaker-Independent Emotions for Voice Conversion Via Source-Filter Networks

Oct 04, 2021
Zhaojie Luo, Shoufeng Lin, Rui Liu, Jun Baba, Yuichiro Yoshikawa, Ishiguro Hiroshi

Emotional voice conversion (VC) aims to convert a neutral voice to an emotional (e.g. happy) one while retaining the linguistic information and speaker identity. We note that the decoupling of emotional features from other speech information (such as speaker, content, etc.) is the key to achieving remarkable performance. Some recent attempts about speech representation decoupling on the neutral speech can not work well on the emotional speech, due to the more complex acoustic properties involved in the latter. To address this problem, here we propose a novel Source-Filter-based Emotional VC model (SFEVC) to achieve proper filtering of speaker-independent emotion features from both the timbre and pitch features. Our SFEVC model consists of multi-channel encoders, emotion separate encoders, and one decoder. Note that all encoder modules adopt a designed information bottlenecks auto-encoder. Additionally, to further improve the conversion quality for various emotions, a novel two-stage training strategy based on the 2D Valence-Arousal (VA) space was proposed. Experimental results show that the proposed SFEVC along with a two-stage training strategy outperforms all baselines and achieves the state-of-the-art performance in speaker-independent emotional VC with nonparallel data.


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Large-Scale Domain Adaptation via Teacher-Student Learning

Aug 17, 2017
Jinyu Li, Michael L. Seltzer, Xi Wang, Rui Zhao, Yifan Gong

High accuracy speech recognition requires a large amount of transcribed data for supervised training. In the absence of such data, domain adaptation of a well-trained acoustic model can be performed, but even here, high accuracy usually requires significant labeled data from the target domain. In this work, we propose an approach to domain adaptation that does not require transcriptions but instead uses a corpus of unlabeled parallel data, consisting of pairs of samples from the source domain of the well-trained model and the desired target domain. To perform adaptation, we employ teacher/student (T/S) learning, in which the posterior probabilities generated by the source-domain model can be used in lieu of labels to train the target-domain model. We evaluate the proposed approach in two scenarios, adapting a clean acoustic model to noisy speech and adapting an adults speech acoustic model to children speech. Significant improvements in accuracy are obtained, with reductions in word error rate of up to 44% over the original source model without the need for transcribed data in the target domain. Moreover, we show that increasing the amount of unlabeled data results in additional model robustness, which is particularly beneficial when using simulated training data in the target-domain.


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Towards Understanding Spontaneous Speech: Word Accuracy vs. Concept Accuracy

May 15, 1996
M. Boros, W. Eckert, F. Gallwitz, G. Goerz, G. Hanrieder, H. Niemann

In this paper we describe an approach to automatic evaluation of both the speech recognition and understanding capabilities of a spoken dialogue system for train time table information. We use word accuracy for recognition and concept accuracy for understanding performance judgement. Both measures are calculated by comparing these modules' output with a correct reference answer. We report evaluation results for a spontaneous speech corpus with about 10000 utterances. We observed a nearly linear relationship between word accuracy and concept accuracy.

* 4 pages PS, Latex2e source importing 2 eps figures, uses icslp.cls, caption.sty, psfig.sty; to appear in the Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 96) 

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Boosted Locality Sensitive Hashing: Discriminative Binary Codes for Source Separation

Feb 14, 2020
Sunwoo Kim, Haici Yang, Minje Kim

Speech enhancement tasks have seen significant improvements with the advance of deep learning technology, but with the cost of increased computational complexity. In this study, we propose an adaptive boosting approach to learning locality sensitive hash codes, which represent audio spectra efficiently. We use the learned hash codes for single-channel speech denoising tasks as an alternative to a complex machine learning model, particularly to address the resource-constrained environments. Our adaptive boosting algorithm learns simple logistic regressors as the weak learners. Once trained, their binary classification results transform each spectrum of test noisy speech into a bit string. Simple bitwise operations calculate Hamming distance to find the K-nearest matching frames in the dictionary of training noisy speech spectra, whose associated ideal binary masks are averaged to estimate the denoising mask for that test mixture. Our proposed learning algorithm differs from AdaBoost in the sense that the projections are trained to minimize the distances between the self-similarity matrix of the hash codes and that of the original spectra, rather than the misclassification rate. We evaluate our discriminative hash codes on the TIMIT corpus with various noise types, and show comparative performance to deep learning methods in terms of denoising performance and complexity.


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Unsupervised Topic Adaptation for Lecture Speech Retrieval

Jul 10, 2004
Atsushi Fujii, Katunobu Itou, Tomoyosi Akiba, Tetsuya Ishikawa

We are developing a cross-media information retrieval system, in which users can view specific segments of lecture videos by submitting text queries. To produce a text index, the audio track is extracted from a lecture video and a transcription is generated by automatic speech recognition. In this paper, to improve the quality of our retrieval system, we extensively investigate the effects of adapting acoustic and language models on speech recognition. We perform an MLLR-based method to adapt an acoustic model. To obtain a corpus for language model adaptation, we use the textbook for a target lecture to search a Web collection for the pages associated with the lecture topic. We show the effectiveness of our method by means of experiments.

* Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 2004), pp.2957-2960, Oct. 2004 
* 4 pages, Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (to appear) 

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Cleanformer: A microphone array configuration-invariant, streaming, multichannel neural enhancement frontend for ASR

Apr 28, 2022
Joseph Caroselli, Arun Naranayan, Tom O'Malley

This work introduces the Cleanformer, a streaming multichannel neural based enhancement frontend for automatic speech recognition (ASR). This model has a conformer-based architecture which takes as inputs a single channel each of raw and enhanced signals, and uses self-attention to derive a time-frequency mask. The enhanced input is generated by a multichannel adaptive noise cancellation algorithm known as Speech Cleaner, which makes use of noise context to derive its filter taps. The time-frequency mask is applied to the noisy input to produce enhanced output features for ASR. Detailed evaluations are presented with simulated and re-recorded datasets in speech-based and non-speech-based noise that show significant reduction in word error rate (WER) when using a large-scale state-of-the-art ASR model. It also will be shown to significantly outperform enhancement using a beamformer with ideal steering. The enhancement model is agnostic of the number of microphones and array configuration and, therefore, can be used with different microphone arrays without the need for retraining. It is demonstrated that performance improves with more microphones, up to 4, with each additional microphone providing a smaller marginal benefit. Specifically, for an SNR of -6dB, relative WER improvements of about 80\% are shown in both noise conditions.

* Submitted to Interspeech 2022 

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When Can Self-Attention Be Replaced by Feed Forward Layers?

May 28, 2020
Shucong Zhang, Erfan Loweimi, Peter Bell, Steve Renals

Recently, self-attention models such as Transformers have given competitive results compared to recurrent neural network systems in speech recognition. The key factor for the outstanding performance of self-attention models is their ability to capture temporal relationships without being limited by the distance between two related events. However, we note that the range of the learned context progressively increases from the lower to upper self-attention layers, whilst acoustic events often happen within short time spans in a left-to-right order. This leads to a question: for speech recognition, is a global view of the entire sequence still important for the upper self-attention layers in the encoder of Transformers? To investigate this, we replace these self-attention layers with feed forward layers. In our speech recognition experiments (Wall Street Journal and Switchboard), we indeed observe an interesting result: replacing the upper self-attention layers in the encoder with feed forward layers leads to no performance drop, and even minor gains. Our experiments offer insights to how self-attention layers process the speech signal, leading to the conclusion that the lower self-attention layers of the encoder encode a sufficiently wide range of inputs, hence learning further contextual information in the upper layers is unnecessary.


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A Technical Report: BUT Speech Translation Systems

Oct 22, 2020
Hari Krishna Vydana, Lukas Burget, Jan Cernocky

The paper describes the BUT's speech translation systems. The systems are English$\longrightarrow$German offline speech translation systems. The systems are based on our previous works \cite{Jointly_trained_transformers}. Though End-to-End and cascade~(ASR-MT) spoken language translation~(SLT) systems are reaching comparable performances, a large degradation is observed when translating ASR hypothesis compared to the oracle input text. To reduce this performance degradation, we have jointly-trained ASR and MT modules with ASR objective as an auxiliary loss. Both the networks are connected through the neural hidden representations. This model has an End-to-End differentiable path with respect to the final objective function and also utilizes the ASR objective for better optimization. During the inference both the modules(i.e., ASR and MT) are connected through the hidden representations corresponding to the n-best hypotheses. Ensembling with independently trained ASR and MT models have further improved the performance of the system.


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Deep Audio-Visual Speech Recognition

Sep 06, 2018
Triantafyllos Afouras, Joon Son Chung, Andrew Senior, Oriol Vinyals, Andrew Zisserman

The goal of this work is to recognise phrases and sentences being spoken by a talking face, with or without the audio. Unlike previous works that have focussed on recognising a limited number of words or phrases, we tackle lip reading as an open-world problem - unconstrained natural language sentences, and in the wild videos. Our key contributions are: (1) we compare two models for lip reading, one using a CTC loss, and the other using a sequence-to-sequence loss. Both models are built on top of the transformer self-attention architecture; (2) we investigate to what extent lip reading is complementary to audio speech recognition, especially when the audio signal is noisy; (3) we introduce and publicly release a new dataset for audio-visual speech recognition, LRS2-BBC, consisting of thousands of natural sentences from British television. The models that we train surpass the performance of all previous work on a lip reading benchmark dataset by a significant margin.


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