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Using end-to-end models for speech translation (ST) has increasingly been the focus of the ST community. These models condense the previously cascaded systems by directly converting sound waves into translated text. However, cascaded models have the advantage of including automatic speech recognition output, useful for a variety of practical ST systems that often display transcripts to the user alongside the translations. To bridge this gap, recent work has shown initial progress into the feasibility for end-to-end models to produce both of these outputs. However, all previous work has only looked at this problem from the consecutive perspective, leaving uncertainty on whether these approaches are effective in the more challenging streaming setting. We develop an end-to-end streaming ST model based on a re-translation approach and compare against standard cascading approaches. We also introduce a novel inference method for the joint case, interleaving both transcript and translation in generation and removing the need to use separate decoders. Our evaluation across a range of metrics capturing accuracy, latency, and consistency shows that our end-to-end models are statistically similar to cascading models, while having half the number of parameters. We also find that both systems provide strong translation quality at low latency, keeping 99% of consecutive quality at a lag of just under a second.

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Speech Translation and the End-to-End Promise: Taking Stock of Where We Are

Over its three decade history, speech translation has experienced several shifts in its primary research themes; moving from loosely coupled cascades of speech recognition and machine translation, to exploring questions of tight coupling, and finally to end-to-end models that have recently attracted much attention. This paper provides a brief survey of these developments, along with a discussion of the main challenges of traditional approaches…
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