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This paper was accepted in the Industry Track at SIGIR 2024.

Virtual Assistants (VAs) are important Information Retrieval platforms that help users accomplish various tasks through spoken commands. The speech recognition system (speech-to-text) uses query priors, trained solely on text, to distinguish between phonetically confusing alternatives. Hence, the generation of synthetic queries that are similar to existing VA usage can greatly improve upon the VA's abilities-especially for use-cases that do not (yet) occur in paired audio/text data.

In this paper, we provide a preliminary exploration of the use of Large Language Models (LLMs) to generate synthetic queries that are complementary to template-based methods. We investigate whether the methods (a) generate queries that are similar to user queries from a popular VA, and (b) whether the generated queries are specific. We find that LLMs generate more verbose queries, compared to template-based methods, and reference aspects specific to the entity. The generated queries are similar to VA user queries, and are specific enough to retrieve the relevant entity. We conclude that queries generated by LLMs and templates are complementary.

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