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"speech": models, code, and papers

An improved uncertainty propagation method for robust i-vector based speaker recognition

Feb 19, 2019
Dayana Ribas, Emmanuel Vincent

The performance of automatic speaker recognition systems degrades when facing distorted speech data containing additive noise and/or reverberation. Statistical uncertainty propagation has been introduced as a promising paradigm to address this challenge. So far, different uncertainty propagation methods have been proposed to compensate noise and reverberation in i-vectors in the context of speaker recognition. They have achieved promising results on small datasets such as YOHO and Wall Street Journal, but little or no improvement on the larger, highly variable NIST Speaker Recognition Evaluation (SRE) corpus. In this paper, we propose a complete uncertainty propagation method, whereby we model the effect of uncertainty both in the computation of unbiased Baum-Welch statistics and in the derivation of the posterior expectation of the i-vector. We conduct experiments on the NIST-SRE corpus mixed with real domestic noise and reverberation from the CHiME-2 corpus and preprocessed by multichannel speech enhancement. The proposed method improves the equal error rate (EER) by 4% relative compared to a conventional i-vector based speaker verification baseline. This is to be compared with previous methods which degrade performance.

* 44th International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP 2019), May 2019, Brighton, United Kingdom 

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Setting Up Pepper For Autonomous Navigation And Personalized Interaction With Users

Apr 16, 2017
Vittorio Perera, Tiago Pereira, Jonathan Connell, Manuela Veloso

In this paper we present our work with the Pepper robot, a service robot from SoftBank Robotics. We had two main goals in this work: improving the autonomy of this robot by increasing its awareness of the environment; and enhance the robot ability to interact with its users. To achieve this goals, we used ROS, a modern open-source framework for developing robotics software, to provide Pepper with state of the art localization and navigation capabilities. Furthermore, we contribute an architecture for effective human interaction based on cloud services. Our architecture improves Pepper speech recognition capabilities by connecting it to the IBM Bluemix Speech Recognition service and enable the robot to recognize its user via an in-house face recognition web-service. We show examples of our successful integration of ROS and IBM services with Pepper's own software. As a result, we were able to make Pepper move autonomously in a environment with humans and obstacles. We were also able to have Pepper execute spoken commands from known users as well as newly introduced users that were enrolled in the robot list of trusted users via a multi-modal interface.

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Latent Dirichlet Allocation Based Organisation of Broadcast Media Archives for Deep Neural Network Adaptation

Nov 16, 2015
Mortaza Doulaty, Oscar Saz, Raymond W. M. Ng, Thomas Hain

This paper presents a new method for the discovery of latent domains in diverse speech data, for the use of adaptation of Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) for Automatic Speech Recognition. Our work focuses on transcription of multi-genre broadcast media, which is often only categorised broadly in terms of high level genres such as sports, news, documentary, etc. However, in terms of acoustic modelling these categories are coarse. Instead, it is expected that a mixture of latent domains can better represent the complex and diverse behaviours within a TV show, and therefore lead to better and more robust performance. We propose a new method, whereby these latent domains are discovered with Latent Dirichlet Allocation, in an unsupervised manner. These are used to adapt DNNs using the Unique Binary Code (UBIC) representation for the LDA domains. Experiments conducted on a set of BBC TV broadcasts, with more than 2,000 shows for training and 47 shows for testing, show that the use of LDA-UBIC DNNs reduces the error up to 13% relative compared to the baseline hybrid DNN models.

* IEEE Automatic Speech Recognition and Understanding Workshop (ASRU 2015), 13-17 Dec 2015, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA 

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Spoken Language Identification Using Hybrid Feature Extraction Methods

Mar 29, 2010
Pawan Kumar, Astik Biswas, A . N. Mishra, Mahesh Chandra

This paper introduces and motivates the use of hybrid robust feature extraction technique for spoken language identification (LID) system. The speech recognizers use a parametric form of a signal to get the most important distinguishable features of speech signal for recognition task. In this paper Mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCC), Perceptual linear prediction coefficients (PLP) along with two hybrid features are used for language Identification. Two hybrid features, Bark Frequency Cepstral Coefficients (BFCC) and Revised Perceptual Linear Prediction Coefficients (RPLP) were obtained from combination of MFCC and PLP. Two different classifiers, Vector Quantization (VQ) with Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) and Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM) were used for classification. The experiment shows better identification rate using hybrid feature extraction techniques compared to conventional feature extraction methods.BFCC has shown better performance than MFCC with both classifiers. RPLP along with GMM has shown best identification performance among all feature extraction techniques.

* Journal of Telecommunications, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp11-15, March 2010 

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Two Questions about Data-Oriented Parsing

Jun 17, 1996
Rens Bod

In this paper I present ongoing work on the data-oriented parsing (DOP) model. In previous work, DOP was tested on a cleaned-up set of analyzed part-of-speech strings from the Penn Treebank, achieving excellent test results. This left, however, two important questions unanswered: (1) how does DOP perform if tested on unedited data, and (2) how can DOP be used for parsing word strings that contain unknown words? This paper addresses these questions. We show that parse results on unedited data are worse than on cleaned-up data, although very competitive if compared to other models. As to the parsing of word strings, we show that the hardness of the problem does not so much depend on unknown words, but on previously unseen lexical categories of known words. We give a novel method for parsing these words by estimating the probabilities of unknown subtrees. The method is of general interest since it shows that good performance can be obtained without the use of a part-of-speech tagger. To the best of our knowledge, our method outperforms other statistical parsers tested on Penn Treebank word strings.

* 16 pages, Postscript; to appear in Proceedings Fourth Workshop on Very Large Corpora (WVLC-4) 

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Combining Trigram-based and Feature-based Methods for Context-Sensitive Spelling Correction

Jun 03, 1996
Andrew R. Golding, Yves Schabes

This paper addresses the problem of correcting spelling errors that result in valid, though unintended words (such as ``peace'' and ``piece'', or ``quiet'' and ``quite'') and also the problem of correcting particular word usage errors (such as ``amount'' and ``number'', or ``among'' and ``between''). Such corrections require contextual information and are not handled by conventional spelling programs such as Unix `spell'. First, we introduce a method called Trigrams that uses part-of-speech trigrams to encode the context. This method uses a small number of parameters compared to previous methods based on word trigrams. However, it is effectively unable to distinguish among words that have the same part of speech. For this case, an alternative feature-based method called Bayes performs better; but Bayes is less effective than Trigrams when the distinction among words depends on syntactic constraints. A hybrid method called Tribayes is then introduced that combines the best of the previous two methods. The improvement in performance of Tribayes over its components is verified experimentally. Tribayes is also compared with the grammar checker in Microsoft Word, and is found to have substantially higher performance.

* 8 pages 

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Automatic Dialect Density Estimation for African American English

Apr 03, 2022
Alexander Johnson, Kevin Everson, Vijay Ravi, Anissa Gladney, Mari Ostendorf, Abeer Alwan

In this paper, we explore automatic prediction of dialect density of the African American English (AAE) dialect, where dialect density is defined as the percentage of words in an utterance that contain characteristics of the non-standard dialect. We investigate several acoustic and language modeling features, including the commonly used X-vector representation and ComParE feature set, in addition to information extracted from ASR transcripts of the audio files and prosodic information. To address issues of limited labeled data, we use a weakly supervised model to project prosodic and X-vector features into low-dimensional task-relevant representations. An XGBoost model is then used to predict the speaker's dialect density from these features and show which are most significant during inference. We evaluate the utility of these features both alone and in combination for the given task. This work, which does not rely on hand-labeled transcripts, is performed on audio segments from the CORAAL database. We show a significant correlation between our predicted and ground truth dialect density measures for AAE speech in this database and propose this work as a tool for explaining and mitigating bias in speech technology.

* Interspeech 2022 
* 5 pages, 2 figures 

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Fine-tuning of Pre-trained Transformers for Hate, Offensive, and Profane Content Detection in English and Marathi

Oct 25, 2021
Anna Glazkova, Michael Kadantsev, Maksim Glazkov

This paper describes neural models developed for the Hate Speech and Offensive Content Identification in English and Indo-Aryan Languages Shared Task 2021. Our team called neuro-utmn-thales participated in two tasks on binary and fine-grained classification of English tweets that contain hate, offensive, and profane content (English Subtasks A & B) and one task on identification of problematic content in Marathi (Marathi Subtask A). For English subtasks, we investigate the impact of additional corpora for hate speech detection to fine-tune transformer models. We also apply a one-vs-rest approach based on Twitter-RoBERTa to discrimination between hate, profane and offensive posts. Our models ranked third in English Subtask A with the F1-score of 81.99% and ranked second in English Subtask B with the F1-score of 65.77%. For the Marathi tasks, we propose a system based on the Language-Agnostic BERT Sentence Embedding (LaBSE). This model achieved the second result in Marathi Subtask A obtaining an F1 of 88.08%.

* Accepted for FIRE'21: Forum for Information Retrieval Evaluation 2021 

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Neural HMMs are all you need (for high-quality attention-free TTS)

Aug 30, 2021
Shivam Mehta, Éva Székely, Jonas Beskow, Gustav Eje Henter

Neural sequence-to-sequence TTS has demonstrated significantly better output quality over classical statistical parametric speech synthesis using HMMs. However, the new paradigm is not probabilistic and the use of non-monotonic attention both increases training time and introduces "babbling" failure modes that are unacceptable in production. In this paper, we demonstrate that the old and new paradigms can be combined to obtain the advantages of both worlds, by replacing the attention in Tacotron 2 with an autoregressive left-right no-skip hidden-Markov model defined by a neural network. This leads to an HMM-based neural TTS model with monotonic alignment, trained to maximise the full sequence likelihood without approximations. We discuss how to combine innovations from both classical and contemporary TTS for best results. The final system is smaller and simpler than Tacotron 2 and learns to align and speak with fewer iterations, while achieving the same speech naturalness. Unlike Tacotron 2, it also allows easy control over speaking rate. Audio examples and code are available at

* 5 pages, 1 figure 

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An Improved StarGAN for Emotional Voice Conversion: Enhancing Voice Quality and Data Augmentation

Jul 18, 2021
Xiangheng He, Junjie Chen, Georgios Rizos, Björn W. Schuller

Emotional Voice Conversion (EVC) aims to convert the emotional style of a source speech signal to a target style while preserving its content and speaker identity information. Previous emotional conversion studies do not disentangle emotional information from emotion-independent information that should be preserved, thus transforming it all in a monolithic manner and generating audio of low quality, with linguistic distortions. To address this distortion problem, we propose a novel StarGAN framework along with a two-stage training process that separates emotional features from those independent of emotion by using an autoencoder with two encoders as the generator of the Generative Adversarial Network (GAN). The proposed model achieves favourable results in both the objective evaluation and the subjective evaluation in terms of distortion, which reveals that the proposed model can effectively reduce distortion. Furthermore, in data augmentation experiments for end-to-end speech emotion recognition, the proposed StarGAN model achieves an increase of 2% in Micro-F1 and 5% in Macro-F1 compared to the baseline StarGAN model, which indicates that the proposed model is more valuable for data augmentation.

* Accepted by Interspeech 2021 

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