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A fast and reliable rate of speech detector.pdf
Mark Johnson and Bikram Kumar Singh BK ONE Center for Excellence in Training & Development
New Delhi, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Atlanta, Dallas ABSTRACT
valuable for compensating the effects of fast In this paper, we present a new rate of speech (ROS) detector that operates independently of the The ROS estimate (ROSe) is obtained by recognition process. This detector is evaluated at accumulating the phone boundary evidences in a the BK ONE Center for excellence in training and certain interval, and by subsequently dividing development and positioned with respect to other the result by the duration of that interval. The ROS detectors. The ROS estimate is subsequently phone boundary evidences are provided by a small used to compensate for the effects of unusual Multi-Layer Perceptron (MLP) that was trained to speech rates on continuous speech recognition. We estimate for each hypothesized boundary the posterior probability that it is a phonetic segment compensation techniques on a speaker independent boundary. A boundary can be hypothesized on each frame (which is the approach explored in this paper), or on a limited number of time instants 1.INTRODUCTION
which were selected by a pre-segmentation algorithm. The proposed detector estimates the The performance of automatic speech recognizers number of phone boundaries and thus the number typically degrades for unusually fast or slow speakers. It has been shown that compensation techniques can reduce the errors for fast speech in The MLP has one output, 11 hidden nodes and 50 HMM as well as in hybrid HMM/MLP recognition inputs. The inputs consist of the auditory spectrum systems. However, these techniques require a in the vicinity of the boundary and some change Reliable ROS detector. In the first part of this paper, functions measuring spectral and total energy we present and evaluate a new ROS detector, which changes. The training examples were extracted can be used prior, during or after the recognition search. Subsequently, the advantages and boundary, a training example is generated. The drawbacks of each of these approaches are analyzed training targets were obtained from the hand and the proposed detector is positioned with respect segmentation that comes with Pronunciation to other ROS detectors. Finally we address a Power. If the frame boundary corresponds with a number of ROS compensation techniques focusing phone boundary, then the target is one, otherwise on the influence of ROS on phone durations and on it is zero. If no hand segmentation is available, a forced alignment would be required in order to 2. ROS DETECTOR
The length of the interval used in the calculation By rate of speech, we mean the rate at which should be short enough to account for changes in individual speech units are uttered. Reported ROS rate of speech during the utterance, while long measures differ in the choice of the speech unit that enough to contain enough phones, as to yield a is used in the calculation. It has been argued that rate that is not too much affected by the phonetic phone rate is more suited than syllable or word rate. content. Since the PPower utterances are fairly By normalizing the phone durations with respect to short, the ROS was computed over a whole the phone specific expected durations and sentence. In order to prevent silences from variances, a normalized phone rate can be obtained disturbing the ROS estimate, non-speech segments that is very effective in differentiating utterance rates. However, this requires phonetic segmentation and classification information that is bound to be A scatter plot of the actual rate of speech (ROSa), provided by the recognition process. Therefore, as derived from the hand segmentation, versus normalized phone rates can only be calculated during or after the recognition search. In this paper, ROSe is shown in figure 1. The solid line shows the we show that the unnormalized phone rate, defined best linear fit through the data. The dotted line as the number of phones per second, can be shows the unbiased predictor. The observed bias is due to imperfections in the boundary probability operating independently of the recognition process. estimates that are provided by the MLP. The sign Recently, it has been reported that such a ROS and magnitude of the bias shows an arbitrary measure too, even though it is unnormalized, is dependency on the choice of the MLP inputs, the BK ONE Corporate Training Private Limited
network size and the training parameters. However, of 9.6% (8.9% without regression). Apparently, the ROS estimate is monotonously related to the this alternative ROS estimate is not better than the actual ROS, and therefore an improved estimate can one proposed above. Moreover, it can only be be obtained by regression. In the experiments calculated during or after the recognition process. reported below, we used a linear regression (the solid line in figure 1), which was determined on the 3. WHERE TO USE THIS ROS DETECTOR?
sentences of the PPower CBT that were not used for the MLP training. Higher order regressions did not detector is that it does not require a recognition process. Therefore, the algorithm is simple and fast. The computational cost is limited to the cost of detecting silences and computing boundary evidences. This is an obvious advantage for applications requiring nothing more than a ROS In speech recognition, the ROS detector can be used prior, during or after the recognition search. In the next paragraphs, we will analyze the advantages and drawbacks of each of these approaches. First of all, it is important to note that the proposed detector is most valuable for applications where the ROS has to be determined in the time interval that has to be recognized. If the ROS of the previous time interval were a good Figure 1: Scatter plot of the actual ROS versus the ROS
estimate for the ROS in the present time interval measure. The solid line shows the best linear fit through the points. The dotted line shows the unbiased predictor (in other words: if the ROS shows no abrupt changes), then it would be more appropriate to The error between the predicted and the actual ROS calculate a normalized ROS measure from the approximates a zero-mean Gaussian distribution recognition system’s transcript and time-alignment with a standard deviation of 1.36 phones/sec (1.38 of the previous time interval. However, we phones/sec without regression), whereas the observed on the PPower, that the standard standard deviation of the actual ROS is 2.03 deviation of the prediction error is 2.25 phones/sec phones/sec. Figure 2 shows a histogram of the if the actual ROS of the previous sentence of the same speaker is used as a prediction for the present sentence. This figure is significantly larger ER = 100 x (ROSe - ROSa)/ ROSa
than the 1.36 phones/sec one obtains by using our The standard deviation of the relative prediction In the experiments reported in section 4, the ROS error is 9.9%(9.0% without regression). This has to estimate was calculated prior to the recognition. be compared with a standard deviation of 16% The ROS is assumed constant during a sentence, when the mean ROS (13.83 phones/sec) is used as but it can change arbitrarily from one sentence to the next. This prior computation has the advantage that, during the recognition, duration and/or acoustic models (and for word recognition also word pronunciation and language models) can be used which are adapted to the ROS of the sentence. On the other hand, this technique has the disadvantage that the recognition can only start after the completion of the utterance. The syllabic duration was measured on an entire first recognition hypothesis and subsequently used to adapt the subword unit durational characteristics which are used in a second recognition pass. Obviously, the first recognition search is computationally more expensive than our proposed Figure 2: Histogram of the relative prediction error of the
If the time delay introduced by the previous For comparison, we also took the number of phones approach is unacceptable, the ROS can be per second in the best phone string hypothesized by calculated as a running average during the our phone recognizer as a ROS estimate. The recognition process, such that improved estimates standard deviation of the absolute error was now are obtained as a larger fraction of the sentence is 1.35 phones/sec, corresponding to a relative error uttered. The performance of this approach will BK ONE Corporate Training Private Limited
inevitably depend on the quality of the initial segment and its close surroundings. This estimate, especially in the beginning of a sentence. Typical choices for the initial estimate are the statistical mean of the ROS and the final estimate of P(si=bn+j/ si….1=bn,j,d,X,ROS) * 4. COMPENSATION OF ROS EFFECTS
In this equation, we substituted the combination of In this section, we describe two attempts to compensate for the effects of unusual ROS. These si=bn+j and si….1=bn by S, which means that the compensation techniques are evaluated on a segment is a phonetic one. The first factor, which speaker independent acoustic phonetic decoding we call the segmentation probability, is estimated task, with a Context-Independent Connectionist by a MLP that is trained on all candidate phonetic Stochastic Segment Model recognizer, using a segments starting on a phonetic boundary. The unigram phone language model. Figure 3 shows the
second factor, which we call the classification phone recognition performance of the unadapted probability, is estimated by a MLP that is trained system. The best second order regression of the dependency on the ROS. The recognizer was trained 4.1. Modification of Acoustic Models
on eight sentences (5 sx + 3 si) of 429 speakers from the PPower. The reported results were The dependency on X; d and j of the probabilities obtained on the remaining 33 training speakers. in equation (2) is modeled by giving them as
inputs to the MLP’s. The ROS dependency could be modeled in the same way. However, for the experiments reported in this paper, we followed another approach. The training sentences were split into 3 groups (slow, average, fast), based on the ROS of the sentence. The partition is done so group contains approximately the same number of sentences. First, a general segmentation and a general classification MLP were trained on all the data. Starting from these two networks, three ROS-specific MLP pairs were trained, one on each ROS partition, until maximum performance on a These networks were subsequently embedded in Figure 3: Total Phone Recognition Error as function of the
actual ROS. The line shows the second order regression. different phone recognition systems. Four systems The system comprises a pre-segmentation module which generates a set b of candidate phonetic System-A: Uses general MLP’s (no ROS effect
segment boundaries. A phonetic segment boundary is defined as a boundary between the acoustic System-B: Uses the selected ROS-specific MLP
realizations of subsequent phones. The segments enclosed by two consecutive candidate phonetic System-C: Uses a ROS-independent average
boundaries are called ‘initial segments’. Candidate (weights 1/3) of the ROS-specific MLP pairs. phonetic segments are built by concatenating up to System-D: Uses a ROS-dependent weighting of
five consecutive initial segments. A Viterbi search examines several candidate phonetic segmentations ROS-specific MLP pairs. boundaries s b) and phone sequences u of the The total phone recognition error rates in table 1 same length as s, and maximizes the joint indicate that, although the differences are small, probability of (s; u), given the acoustic evidence x the ROS-specific systems (B and D) consistently and eventually the ROS of the sentence. For this outperform the ROS-unspecific ones (A and C). purpose, the search requires the posterior Furthermore, the estimated ROS performs nearly probabilities given by the following equation: P(si=bn+j, ui = Um/si….1=bn,j,d,X,ROS) In this expression, si=bn+j means that the i-th phonetic boundary bn+j, ui = Um means that the Table 1: Adaptation of acoustic models to ROS. Phone
recognition results: Total Error Rate.
phone Um (from an inventory of phones) was uttered in this segment and d is the segment duration. The vector X represents the acoustic evidence (spectrum, total energy, voicing,.) in the BK ONE Corporate Training Private Limited
4.2. Modification of Duration Models
In this section, we focus on the ROS dependency of the duration models. In order to isolate this effect, we have Table 2: Adaptation of duration models to ROS. Phone
rewritten the classification probability in equation below The ROS estimate yields basically the same improvement in phone recognition as the actual ROS. However, these improvements are too small The classification MLP was trained on all the data 5. CONCLUSION
(ROS-unspecific), but the duration was not provided as an input to the network. Furthermore, once the In this paper, a new rate of speech (ROS) detector, phone identity is available, the dependency of the based on phone boundary probabilities provided by probability of d on X and j on X and j is neglected, a Multi-Layer Perceptron, is presented. The so that the duration models are simplified to P(d/ ui detector offers a fast and reliable prediction of the = Um/ S,j,x,ROS This formulation allows us to phone rate, and accomplishes this without model the segment duration explicitly, instead of requiring a speech recognition search. When used using the implicit modeling of d by the MLP’s as in to compensate the effects of ROS in continuous section 4.1. For each phone, three smoothed speech recognition, the ROS estimate performs histogram representations of the duration were nearly as good as the actual ROS that is derived constructed, one for each ROS partition. from the hand segmentation. The reported compensation techniques result in a small but To illustrate the differences between partitions, consistent improvement of the recognition figure 3 shows the duration histograms for the vowel /ih/. The solid lines show the distributions obtained using the actual ROS for partitioning the data. The dotted line shows the corresponding distributions when the ROS prediction was used. The data indicate that our ROS estimate does not Figure 4: Smoothed histogram of the durations of /ih/
found in the slowest, average and fastest sentences We have integrated the ROS dependent duration models in our phone recognizer. During the recognition, the phone duration histograms of the corresponding ROS partition are selected. The error rates in table 2 are lower than in table 1 because larger segmentation and classification MLP’s were used for this experiment. Again, four systems were
System-A: Does not use a duration model.
System-B: Uses ROS-unspecific duration models.
System-C: Uses ROS-specific duration models,
System-D: Uses ROS-specific duration models,
BK ONE Corporate Training Private Limited
BK ONE Corporate Training Private Limited


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