Apple sponsored the thirty-second Interspeech conference, which was held virtually from October 25 to 29. Interspeech is a global conference focused on cognitive intelligence for speech processing and application.

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Conference Accepted Papers

Class LM and word mapping for contextual biasing in End-to-End ASR

Rongqing Huang, Ossama Abdel-hamid, Xinwei Li, Gunnar Evermann

In recent years, all-neural, end-to-end (E2E) ASR systems gained rapid interest in the speech recognition community. They convert speech input to text units in a single trainable Neural Network model. In ASR, many utterances contain rich named entities. Such named entities may be user or location specific and they are not seen during training. A single model makes it inflexible to utilize dynamic contextual information during inference. In this paper, we propose to train a context aware E2E model and allow the beam search to traverse into the context FST during inference. We also propose a simple method to adjust the cost discrepancy between the context FST and the base model. This algorithm is able to reduce the named entity utterance WER by 57 percent with little accuracy degradation on regular utterances. Although an E2E model does not need pronunciation dictionary, it's interesting to make use of existing pronunciation knowledge to improve accuracy. In this paper, we propose an algorithm to map the rare entity words to common words via pronunciation and treat the mapped words as an alternative form to the original word during recognition. This algorithm further reduces the WER on the named entity utterances by another 31 percent.

Complementary Language Model and Parallel Bi-LRNN for False Trigger Mitigation

Rishika Agarwal, Xiaochuan Niu, Pranay Dighe, Srikanth Vishnubhotla, Sameer Badaskar, Devang Naik

False triggers in voice assistants are unintended invocations of the assistant, which not only degrade the user experience but may also compromise privacy. False trigger mitigation (FTM) is a process to detect the false trigger events and respond appropriately to the user. In this paper, we propose a novel solution to the FTM problem by introducing a parallel ASR decoding process with a special language model trained from "out-of-domain" data sources. Such language model is complementary to the existing language model optimized for the assistant task. A bidirectional lattice RNN (Bi-LRNN) classifier trained from the lattices generated by the complementary language model shows a 38.34% relative reduction of the false trigger (FT) rate at the fixed rate of 0.4% false suppression (FS) of correct invocations, compared to the current Bi-LRNN model. In addition, we propose to train a parallel Bi-LRNN model based on the decoding lattices from both language models, and examine various ways of implementation. The resulting model leads to further reduction in the false trigger rate by 10.8%.

Controllable neural text-to-speech synthesis using intuitive prosodic features

Tuomo Raitio, Ramya Rasipuram, Dan Castellani

Modern neural text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis can generate speech that is indistinguishable from natural speech. However, the prosody of generated utterances often represents the average prosodic style of the database instead of having wide prosodic variation. Moreover, the generated prosody is solely defined by the input text, which does not allow for different styles for the same sentence. In this work, we train a sequence-to-sequence neural network conditioned on acoustic speech features to learn a latent prosody space with intuitive and meaningful dimensions. Experiments show that a model conditioned on sentence-wise pitch, pitch range, phone duration, energy, and spectral tilt can effectively control each prosodic dimension and generate a wide variety of speaking styles, while maintaining similar mean opinion score (4.23) to our Tacotron baseline (4.26).

Hybrid Transformer/CTC Networks for Hardware Efficient Voice Triggering

Saurabh Adya, Vineet Garg, Siddharth Sigtia, Pramod Simha, Chandra Dhir

We consider the design of two-pass voice trigger detection systems. We focus on the networks in the second pass that are used to re-score candidate segments obtained from the first-pass. Our baseline is an acoustic model(AM), with BiLSTM layers, trained by minimizing the CTC loss. We replace the BiLSTM layers with self-attention layers. Results on internal evaluation sets show that self-attention networks yield better accuracy while requiring fewer parameters. We add an auto-regressive decoder network on top of the self-attention layers and jointly minimize the CTC loss on the encoder and the cross-entropy loss on the decoder. This design yields further improvements over the baseline. We retrain all the models above in a multi-task learning(MTL) setting, where one branch of a shared network is trained as an AM, while the second branch classifies the whole sequence to be true-trigger or not. Results demonstrate that networks with self-attention layers yield ∼60 percent relative reduction in false reject rates for a given false-alarm rate, while requiring 10 percent fewer parameters. When trained in the MTL setup, self-attention networks yield further accuracy improvements. On-device measurements show that we observe 70 percent relative reduction in inference time. Additionally, the proposed network architectures are ~5 times faster to train.

Improving on-device speaker verification using federated learning with privacy

Filip Granqvist, Matt Seigel, Rogier van Dalen, Áine Cahill, Stephen Shum, Matthias Paulik

Information on speaker characteristics can be useful as side information in improving speaker recognition accuracy. However, such information is often private. This paper investigates how privacy-preserving learning can improve a speaker verification system, by enabling the use of privacy-sensitive speaker data to train an auxiliary classification model that predicts vocal characteristics of speakers. In particular, this paper explores the utility achieved by approaches which combine different federated learning and differential privacy mechanisms. These approaches make it possible to train a central model while protecting user privacy, with users' data remaining on their devices. Furthermore, they make learning on a large population of speakers possible, ensuring good coverage of speaker characteristics when training a model. The auxiliary model described here uses features extracted from phrases which trigger a speaker verification system. From these features, the model predicts speaker characteristic labels considered useful as side information. The knowledge of the auxiliary model is distilled into a speaker verification system using multi-task learning, with the side information labels predicted by this auxiliary model being the additional task. This approach results in a 6 percent relative improvement in equal error rate over a baseline system.

Stacked 1D convolutional networks for end-to-end small footprint voice trigger detection

Takuya Higuchi, Mohammad Ghasemzadeh, Kisun You, Chandra Dhir

We propose a stacked 1D convolutional neural network (S1DCNN) for end-to-end small footprint voice trigger detection in a streaming scenario. Voice trigger detection is an important speech application, with which users can activate their devices by simply saying a keyword or phrase. Due to privacy and latency reasons, a voice trigger detection system should run on an always-on processor on device. Therefore, having small memory and compute cost is crucial for a voice trigger detection system. Recently, singular value decomposition filters (SVDFs) has been used for end-to-end voice trigger detection. The SVDFs approximate a fully-connected layer with a low rank approximation, which reduces the number of model parameters. In this work, we propose S1DCNN as an alternative approach for end-to-end small-footprint voice trigger detection. An S1DCNN layer consists of a 1D convolution layer followed by a depth-wise 1D convolution layer. We show that the SVDF can be expressed as a special case of the S1DCNN layer. Experimental results show that the S1DCNN achieve 19.0% relative false reject ratio (FRR) reduction with a similar model size and a similar time delay compared to the SVDF. By using longer time delays, the S1DCNN further improve the FRR up to 12.2 percent relative.

Related readings and updates.

Voice Trigger System for Siri

A growing number of consumer devices, including smart speakers, headphones, and watches, use speech as the primary means of user input. As a result, voice trigger detection systems—a mechanism that uses voice recognition technology to control access to a particular device or feature—have become an important component of the user interaction pipeline as they signal the start of an interaction between the user and a device. Since these systems are deployed entirely on-device, several considerations inform their design, like privacy, latency, accuracy, and power consumption.

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Stacked 1D Convolutional Networks for End-To-End Small Footprint Voice Trigger Detection

We propose a stacked 1D convolutional neural network (S1DCNN) for end-to-end small footprint voice trigger detection in a streaming scenario. Voice trigger detection is an important speech application, with which users can activate their devices by simply saying a keyword or phrase. Due to privacy and latency reasons, a voice trigger detection system should run on an always-on processor on device. Therefore, having small memory and compute cost…
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