Thu-3-8-8 Improving Speech Recognition of Compound-rich Languages

Prabhat Pandey(Amazon), Volker Leutnant(Amazon), Simon Wiesler(Amazon), Jahn Heymann(Amazon) and Daniel Willett(Amazon)
Abstract: Traditional hybrid speech recognition systems use a fixed vocabulary for recognition, which is a challenge for agglutinative and compounding languages due to the presence of large number of rare words. This causes high out-of-vocabulary rate and leads to poor probability estimates for rare words. It is also important to keep the vocabulary size in check for a low-latency WFST-based speech recognition system. Previous works have addressed this problem by utilizing subword units in the language model training and merging them back to reconstruct words in the post-processing step. In this paper, we extend such open vocabulary approaches by focusing on compounding aspect. We present a data-driven unsupervised method to identify compound words in the vocabulary and learn rules to segment them. We show that compound modeling can achieve 3% to 8% relative reduction in word error rate and up to 9% reduction in the vocabulary size compared to word-based models. We also show the importance of consistency between the lexicon employed during decoding and acoustic model training for subword-based systems.
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