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Researchers Look to Develop Automated Speech Recognition to 2,000 Languages


A workforce of researchers at Carnegie Mellon College is trying to increase computerized speech recognition to 2,000 languages. As of proper now, solely a portion of the estimated 7,000 to eight,000 spoken languages world wide would profit from trendy language applied sciences like voice-to-text transcription or computerized captioning.

Xinjian Li is a Ph.D. pupil within the Faculty of Pc Science’s Language Applied sciences Institute (LTI).

“Lots of people on this world converse various languages, however language expertise instruments aren’t being developed for all of them,” he mentioned. “Growing expertise and language mannequin for all individuals is without doubt one of the objectives of this analysis.”

Li belongs to a workforce of consultants trying to simplify the information necessities languages must develop a speech recognition mannequin.

The workforce additionally contains LTI school members Shinji Watanabe, Florian Metze, David Mortensen and Alan Black.

The analysis titled “ASR2K: Speech Recognition for Round 2,000 Languages With out Audio” was introduced at Interspeech 2022 in South Korea.

A majority of the present speech recognition fashions require textual content and audio information units. Whereas textual content information exists for 1000’s of languages, the identical shouldn’t be true for audio. The workforce desires to get rid of the necessity for audio information by specializing in linguistic components which can be frequent throughout many languages.

Speech recognition applied sciences usually concentrate on a language’s phoneme, that are distinct sounds that distinguish it from different languages. These are distinctive to every language. On the similar time, languages have telephones that describe how a phrase sounds bodily, and a number of telephones can correspond to a single phoneme. Whereas separate languages can have totally different phonemes, the underlying telephones might be the identical.

The workforce is engaged on a speech recognition mannequin that depends much less on phonemes and extra on details about how telephones are shared between languages. This helps cut back the trouble wanted to construct separate fashions for every particular person language. By pairing the mannequin with a phylogenetic tree, which is a diagram that maps the relationships between languages, it helps with pronunciation guidelines. The workforce’s mannequin and the tree construction have enabled them to approximate the speech mannequin for 1000’s of languages even with out audio information.

“We are attempting to take away this audio information requirement, which helps us transfer from 100 to 200 languages to 2,000,” Li mentioned. “That is the primary analysis to focus on such numerous languages, and we’re the primary workforce aiming to increase language instruments to this scope.”

The analysis, whereas nonetheless in an early stage, has improved current language approximation instruments by 5%.

“Every language is an important think about its tradition. Every language has its personal story, and should you don’t attempt to protect languages, these tales is likely to be misplaced,” Li mentioned. “Growing this type of speech recognition system and this instrument is a step to attempt to protect these languages.”

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