Models, code, and papers for "Yonghui Wu":

Bytes are All You Need: End-to-End Multilingual Speech Recognition and Synthesis with Bytes

Nov 22, 2018
Bo Li, Yu Zhang, Tara Sainath, Yonghui Wu, William Chan

We present two end-to-end models: Audio-to-Byte (A2B) and Byte-to-Audio (B2A), for multilingual speech recognition and synthesis. Prior work has predominantly used characters, sub-words or words as the unit of choice to model text. These units are difficult to scale to languages with large vocabularies, particularly in the case of multilingual processing. In this work, we model text via a sequence of Unicode bytes, specifically, the UTF-8 variable length byte sequence for each character. Bytes allow us to avoid large softmaxes in languages with large vocabularies, and share representations in multilingual models. We show that bytes are superior to grapheme characters over a wide variety of languages in monolingual end-to-end speech recognition. Additionally, our multilingual byte model outperform each respective single language baseline on average by 4.4% relatively. In Japanese-English code-switching speech, our multilingual byte model outperform our monolingual baseline by 38.6% relatively. Finally, we present an end-to-end multilingual speech synthesis model using byte representations which matches the performance of our monolingual baselines.

* submitted to ICASSP 2019 

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Exploring the Limits of Language Modeling

Feb 11, 2016
Rafal Jozefowicz, Oriol Vinyals, Mike Schuster, Noam Shazeer, Yonghui Wu

In this work we explore recent advances in Recurrent Neural Networks for large scale Language Modeling, a task central to language understanding. We extend current models to deal with two key challenges present in this task: corpora and vocabulary sizes, and complex, long term structure of language. We perform an exhaustive study on techniques such as character Convolutional Neural Networks or Long-Short Term Memory, on the One Billion Word Benchmark. Our best single model significantly improves state-of-the-art perplexity from 51.3 down to 30.0 (whilst reducing the number of parameters by a factor of 20), while an ensemble of models sets a new record by improving perplexity from 41.0 down to 23.7. We also release these models for the NLP and ML community to study and improve upon.

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Training Deeper Neural Machine Translation Models with Transparent Attention

Sep 04, 2018
Ankur Bapna, Mia Xu Chen, Orhan Firat, Yuan Cao, Yonghui Wu

While current state-of-the-art NMT models, such as RNN seq2seq and Transformers, possess a large number of parameters, they are still shallow in comparison to convolutional models used for both text and vision applications. In this work we attempt to train significantly (2-3x) deeper Transformer and Bi-RNN encoders for machine translation. We propose a simple modification to the attention mechanism that eases the optimization of deeper models, and results in consistent gains of 0.7-1.1 BLEU on the benchmark WMT'14 English-German and WMT'15 Czech-English tasks for both architectures.

* To appear in EMNLP 2018 

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Sequence-to-Sequence Models Can Directly Translate Foreign Speech

Jun 12, 2017
Ron J. Weiss, Jan Chorowski, Navdeep Jaitly, Yonghui Wu, Zhifeng Chen

We present a recurrent encoder-decoder deep neural network architecture that directly translates speech in one language into text in another. The model does not explicitly transcribe the speech into text in the source language, nor does it require supervision from the ground truth source language transcription during training. We apply a slightly modified sequence-to-sequence with attention architecture that has previously been used for speech recognition and show that it can be repurposed for this more complex task, illustrating the power of attention-based models. A single model trained end-to-end obtains state-of-the-art performance on the Fisher Callhome Spanish-English speech translation task, outperforming a cascade of independently trained sequence-to-sequence speech recognition and machine translation models by 1.8 BLEU points on the Fisher test set. In addition, we find that making use of the training data in both languages by multi-task training sequence-to-sequence speech translation and recognition models with a shared encoder network can improve performance by a further 1.4 BLEU points.

* 5 pages, 1 figure. Interspeech 2017 

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Fully-hierarchical fine-grained prosody modeling for interpretable speech synthesis

Feb 06, 2020
Guangzhi Sun, Yu Zhang, Ron J. Weiss, Yuan Cao, Heiga Zen, Yonghui Wu

This paper proposes a hierarchical, fine-grained and interpretable latent variable model for prosody based on the Tacotron 2 text-to-speech model. It achieves multi-resolution modeling of prosody by conditioning finer level representations on coarser level ones. Additionally, it imposes hierarchical conditioning across all latent dimensions using a conditional variational auto-encoder (VAE) with an auto-regressive structure. Evaluation of reconstruction performance illustrates that the new structure does not degrade the model while allowing better interpretability. Interpretations of prosody attributes are provided together with the comparison between word-level and phone-level prosody representations. Moreover, both qualitative and quantitative evaluations are used to demonstrate the improvement in the disentanglement of the latent dimensions.

* to appear in ICASSP 2020 

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Speech Recognition with Augmented Synthesized Speech

Sep 25, 2019
Andrew Rosenberg, Yu Zhang, Bhuvana Ramabhadran, Ye Jia, Pedro Moreno, Yonghui Wu, Zelin Wu

Recent success of the Tacotron speech synthesis architecture and its variants in producing natural sounding multi-speaker synthesized speech has raised the exciting possibility of replacing expensive, manually transcribed, domain-specific, human speech that is used to train speech recognizers. The multi-speaker speech synthesis architecture can learn latent embedding spaces of prosody, speaker and style variations derived from input acoustic representations thereby allowing for manipulation of the synthesized speech. In this paper, we evaluate the feasibility of enhancing speech recognition performance using speech synthesis using two corpora from different domains. We explore algorithms to provide the necessary acoustic and lexical diversity needed for robust speech recognition. Finally, we demonstrate the feasibility of this approach as a data augmentation strategy for domain-transfer. We find that improvements to speech recognition performance is achievable by augmenting training data with synthesized material. However, there remains a substantial gap in performance between recognizers trained on human speech those trained on synthesized speech.

* Accepted for publication at ASRU 2020 

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An analysis of incorporating an external language model into a sequence-to-sequence model

Dec 06, 2017
Anjuli Kannan, Yonghui Wu, Patrick Nguyen, Tara N. Sainath, Zhifeng Chen, Rohit Prabhavalkar

Attention-based sequence-to-sequence models for automatic speech recognition jointly train an acoustic model, language model, and alignment mechanism. Thus, the language model component is only trained on transcribed audio-text pairs. This leads to the use of shallow fusion with an external language model at inference time. Shallow fusion refers to log-linear interpolation with a separately trained language model at each step of the beam search. In this work, we investigate the behavior of shallow fusion across a range of conditions: different types of language models, different decoding units, and different tasks. On Google Voice Search, we demonstrate that the use of shallow fusion with a neural LM with wordpieces yields a 9.1% relative word error rate reduction (WERR) over our competitive attention-based sequence-to-sequence model, obviating the need for second-pass rescoring.

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A Comparison of Techniques for Language Model Integration in Encoder-Decoder Speech Recognition

Jul 27, 2018
Shubham Toshniwal, Anjuli Kannan, Chung-Cheng Chiu, Yonghui Wu, Tara N Sainath, Karen Livescu

Attention-based recurrent neural encoder-decoder models present an elegant solution to the automatic speech recognition problem. This approach folds the acoustic model, pronunciation model, and language model into a single network and requires only a parallel corpus of speech and text for training. However, unlike in conventional approaches that combine separate acoustic and language models, it is not clear how to use additional (unpaired) text. While there has been previous work on methods addressing this problem, a thorough comparison among methods is still lacking. In this paper, we compare a suite of past methods and some of our own proposed methods for using unpaired text data to improve encoder-decoder models. For evaluation, we use the medium-sized Switchboard data set and the large-scale Google voice search and dictation data sets. Our results confirm the benefits of using unpaired text across a range of methods and data sets. Surprisingly, for first-pass decoding, the rather simple approach of shallow fusion performs best across data sets. However, for Google data sets we find that cold fusion has a lower oracle error rate and outperforms other approaches after second-pass rescoring on the Google voice search data set.

* Submitted to SLT 2018 

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Reward Augmented Maximum Likelihood for Neural Structured Prediction

Jan 04, 2017
Mohammad Norouzi, Samy Bengio, Zhifeng Chen, Navdeep Jaitly, Mike Schuster, Yonghui Wu, Dale Schuurmans

A key problem in structured output prediction is direct optimization of the task reward function that matters for test evaluation. This paper presents a simple and computationally efficient approach to incorporate task reward into a maximum likelihood framework. By establishing a link between the log-likelihood and expected reward objectives, we show that an optimal regularized expected reward is achieved when the conditional distribution of the outputs given the inputs is proportional to their exponentiated scaled rewards. Accordingly, we present a framework to smooth the predictive probability of the outputs using their corresponding rewards. We optimize the conditional log-probability of augmented outputs that are sampled proportionally to their exponentiated scaled rewards. Experiments on neural sequence to sequence models for speech recognition and machine translation show notable improvements over a maximum likelihood baseline by using reward augmented maximum likelihood (RAML), where the rewards are defined as the negative edit distance between the outputs and the ground truth labels.

* NIPS 2016 

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Identifying Cancer Patients at Risk for Heart Failure Using Machine Learning Methods

Oct 01, 2019
Xi Yang, Yan Gong, Nida Waheed, Keith March, Jiang Bian, William R. Hogan, Yonghui Wu

Cardiotoxicity related to cancer therapies has become a serious issue, diminishing cancer treatment outcomes and quality of life. Early detection of cancer patients at risk for cardiotoxicity before cardiotoxic treatments and providing preventive measures are potential solutions to improve cancer patients's quality of life. This study focuses on predicting the development of heart failure in cancer patients after cancer diagnoses using historical electronic health record (EHR) data. We examined four machine learning algorithms using 143,199 cancer patients from the University of Florida Health (UF Health) Integrated Data Repository (IDR). We identified a total number of 1,958 qualified cases and matched them to 15,488 controls by gender, age, race, and major cancer type. Two feature encoding strategies were compared to encode variables as machine learning features. The gradient boosting (GB) based model achieved the best AUC score of 0.9077 (with a sensitivity of 0.8520 and a specificity of 0.8138), outperforming other machine learning methods. We also looked into the subgroup of cancer patients with exposure to chemotherapy drugs and observed a lower specificity score (0.7089). The experimental results show that machine learning methods are able to capture clinical factors that are known to be associated with heart failure and that it is feasible to use machine learning methods to identify cancer patients at risk for cancer therapy-related heart failure.

* 6 pages, 1 figure, 3 tables, accepted by AMIA 2019 

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Direct speech-to-speech translation with a sequence-to-sequence model

Apr 12, 2019
Ye Jia, Ron J. Weiss, Fadi Biadsy, Wolfgang Macherey, Melvin Johnson, Zhifeng Chen, Yonghui Wu

We present an attention-based sequence-to-sequence neural network which can directly translate speech from one language into speech in another language, without relying on an intermediate text representation. The network is trained end-to-end, learning to map speech spectrograms into target spectrograms in another language, corresponding to the translated content (in a different canonical voice). We further demonstrate the ability to synthesize translated speech using the voice of the source speaker. We conduct experiments on two Spanish-to-English speech translation datasets, and find that the proposed model slightly underperforms a baseline cascade of a direct speech-to-text translation model and a text-to-speech synthesis model, demonstrating the feasibility of the approach on this very challenging task.

* Submitted to Interspeech 2019 

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Minimum Word Error Rate Training for Attention-based Sequence-to-Sequence Models

Dec 05, 2017
Rohit Prabhavalkar, Tara N. Sainath, Yonghui Wu, Patrick Nguyen, Zhifeng Chen, Chung-Cheng Chiu, Anjuli Kannan

Sequence-to-sequence models, such as attention-based models in automatic speech recognition (ASR), are typically trained to optimize the cross-entropy criterion which corresponds to improving the log-likelihood of the data. However, system performance is usually measured in terms of word error rate (WER), not log-likelihood. Traditional ASR systems benefit from discriminative sequence training which optimizes criteria such as the state-level minimum Bayes risk (sMBR) which are more closely related to WER. In the present work, we explore techniques to train attention-based models to directly minimize expected word error rate. We consider two loss functions which approximate the expected number of word errors: either by sampling from the model, or by using N-best lists of decoded hypotheses, which we find to be more effective than the sampling-based method. In experimental evaluations, we find that the proposed training procedure improves performance by up to 8.2% relative to the baseline system. This allows us to train grapheme-based, uni-directional attention-based models which match the performance of a traditional, state-of-the-art, discriminative sequence-trained system on a mobile voice-search task.

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Improving the Performance of Online Neural Transducer Models

Dec 05, 2017
Tara N. Sainath, Chung-Cheng Chiu, Rohit Prabhavalkar, Anjuli Kannan, Yonghui Wu, Patrick Nguyen, Zhifeng Chen

Having a sequence-to-sequence model which can operate in an online fashion is important for streaming applications such as Voice Search. Neural transducer is a streaming sequence-to-sequence model, but has shown a significant degradation in performance compared to non-streaming models such as Listen, Attend and Spell (LAS). In this paper, we present various improvements to NT. Specifically, we look at increasing the window over which NT computes attention, mainly by looking backwards in time so the model still remains online. In addition, we explore initializing a NT model from a LAS-trained model so that it is guided with a better alignment. Finally, we explore including stronger language models such as using wordpiece models, and applying an external LM during the beam search. On a Voice Search task, we find with these improvements we can get NT to match the performance of LAS.

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Generating diverse and natural text-to-speech samples using a quantized fine-grained VAE and auto-regressive prosody prior

Feb 06, 2020
Guangzhi Sun, Yu Zhang, Ron J. Weiss, Yuan Cao, Heiga Zen, Andrew Rosenberg, Bhuvana Ramabhadran, Yonghui Wu

Recent neural text-to-speech (TTS) models with fine-grained latent features enable precise control of the prosody of synthesized speech. Such models typically incorporate a fine-grained variational autoencoder (VAE) structure, extracting latent features at each input token (e.g., phonemes). However, generating samples with the standard VAE prior often results in unnatural and discontinuous speech, with dramatic prosodic variation between tokens. This paper proposes a sequential prior in a discrete latent space which can generate more naturally sounding samples. This is accomplished by discretizing the latent features using vector quantization (VQ), and separately training an autoregressive (AR) prior model over the result. We evaluate the approach using listening tests, objective metrics of automatic speech recognition (ASR) performance, and measurements of prosody attributes. Experimental results show that the proposed model significantly improves the naturalness in random sample generation. Furthermore, initial experiments demonstrate that randomly sampling from the proposed model can be used as data augmentation to improve the ASR performance.

* To appear in ICASSP 2020 

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SpecAugment on Large Scale Datasets

Dec 11, 2019
Daniel S. Park, Yu Zhang, Chung-Cheng Chiu, Youzheng Chen, Bo Li, William Chan, Quoc V. Le, Yonghui Wu

Recently, SpecAugment, an augmentation scheme for automatic speech recognition that acts directly on the spectrogram of input utterances, has shown to be highly effective in enhancing the performance of end-to-end networks on public datasets. In this paper, we demonstrate its effectiveness on tasks with large scale datasets by investigating its application to the Google Multidomain Dataset (Narayanan et al., 2018). We achieve improvement across all test domains by mixing raw training data augmented with SpecAugment and noise-perturbed training data when training the acoustic model. We also introduce a modification of SpecAugment that adapts the time mask size and/or multiplicity depending on the length of the utterance, which can potentially benefit large scale tasks. By using adaptive masking, we are able to further improve the performance of the Listen, Attend and Spell model on LibriSpeech to 2.2% WER on test-clean and 5.2% WER on test-other.

* 5 pages, 3 tables; submitted to ICASSP 2020 

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Large-Scale Multilingual Speech Recognition with a Streaming End-to-End Model

Sep 11, 2019
Anjuli Kannan, Arindrima Datta, Tara N. Sainath, Eugene Weinstein, Bhuvana Ramabhadran, Yonghui Wu, Ankur Bapna, Zhifeng Chen, Seungji Lee

Multilingual end-to-end (E2E) models have shown great promise in expansion of automatic speech recognition (ASR) coverage of the world's languages. They have shown improvement over monolingual systems, and have simplified training and serving by eliminating language-specific acoustic, pronunciation, and language models. This work presents an E2E multilingual system which is equipped to operate in low-latency interactive applications, as well as handle a key challenge of real world data: the imbalance in training data across languages. Using nine Indic languages, we compare a variety of techniques, and find that a combination of conditioning on a language vector and training language-specific adapter layers produces the best model. The resulting E2E multilingual model achieves a lower word error rate (WER) than both monolingual E2E models (eight of nine languages) and monolingual conventional systems (all nine languages).

* Accepted in Interspeech 2019 

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Learning to Speak Fluently in a Foreign Language: Multilingual Speech Synthesis and Cross-Language Voice Cloning

Jul 24, 2019
Yu Zhang, Ron J. Weiss, Heiga Zen, Yonghui Wu, Zhifeng Chen, RJ Skerry-Ryan, Ye Jia, Andrew Rosenberg, Bhuvana Ramabhadran

We present a multispeaker, multilingual text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis model based on Tacotron that is able to produce high quality speech in multiple languages. Moreover, the model is able to transfer voices across languages, e.g. synthesize fluent Spanish speech using an English speaker's voice, without training on any bilingual or parallel examples. Such transfer works across distantly related languages, e.g. English and Mandarin. Critical to achieving this result are: 1. using a phonemic input representation to encourage sharing of model capacity across languages, and 2. incorporating an adversarial loss term to encourage the model to disentangle its representation of speaker identity (which is perfectly correlated with language in the training data) from the speech content. Further scaling up the model by training on multiple speakers of each language, and incorporating an autoencoding input to help stabilize attention during training, results in a model which can be used to consistently synthesize intelligible speech for training speakers in all languages seen during training, and in native or foreign accents.

* 5 pages, submitted to Interspeech 2019 

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Leveraging Weakly Supervised Data to Improve End-to-End Speech-to-Text Translation

Nov 05, 2018
Ye Jia, Melvin Johnson, Wolfgang Macherey, Ron J. Weiss, Yuan Cao, Chung-Cheng Chiu, Naveen Ari, Stella Laurenzo, Yonghui Wu

End-to-end Speech Translation (ST) models have many potential advantages when compared to the cascade of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and text Machine Translation (MT) models, including lowered inference latency and the avoidance of error compounding. However, the quality of end-to-end ST is often limited by a paucity of training data, since it is difficult to collect large parallel corpora of speech and translated transcript pairs. Previous studies have proposed the use of pre-trained components and multi-task learning in order to benefit from weakly supervised training data, such as speech-to-transcript or text-to-foreign-text pairs. In this paper, we demonstrate that using pre-trained MT or text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis models to convert weakly supervised data into speech-to-translation pairs for ST training can be more effective than multi-task learning. Furthermore, we demonstrate that a high quality end-to-end ST model can be trained using only weakly supervised datasets, and that synthetic data sourced from unlabeled monolingual text or speech can be used to improve performance. Finally, we discuss methods for avoiding overfitting to synthetic speech with a quantitative ablation study.

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Transfer Learning from Speaker Verification to Multispeaker Text-To-Speech Synthesis

Nov 05, 2018
Ye Jia, Yu Zhang, Ron J. Weiss, Quan Wang, Jonathan Shen, Fei Ren, Zhifeng Chen, Patrick Nguyen, Ruoming Pang, Ignacio Lopez Moreno, Yonghui Wu

We describe a neural network-based system for text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis that is able to generate speech audio in the voice of many different speakers, including those unseen during training. Our system consists of three independently trained components: (1) a speaker encoder network, trained on a speaker verification task using an independent dataset of noisy speech from thousands of speakers without transcripts, to generate a fixed-dimensional embedding vector from seconds of reference speech from a target speaker; (2) a sequence-to-sequence synthesis network based on Tacotron 2, which generates a mel spectrogram from text, conditioned on the speaker embedding; (3) an auto-regressive WaveNet-based vocoder that converts the mel spectrogram into a sequence of time domain waveform samples. We demonstrate that the proposed model is able to transfer the knowledge of speaker variability learned by the discriminatively-trained speaker encoder to the new task, and is able to synthesize natural speech from speakers that were not seen during training. We quantify the importance of training the speaker encoder on a large and diverse speaker set in order to obtain the best generalization performance. Finally, we show that randomly sampled speaker embeddings can be used to synthesize speech in the voice of novel speakers dissimilar from those used in training, indicating that the model has learned a high quality speaker representation.

* NIPS 2018 

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