We introduce the largest transcribed Arabic speech corpus, QASR, collected from the broadcast domain. This multi-dialect speech dataset contains 2,000 hours of speech sampled at 16kHz crawled from Aljazeera news channel. The dataset is released with lightly supervised transcriptions, aligned with the audio segments. Unlike previous datasets, QASR contains linguistically motivated segmentation, punctuation, speaker information among others. QASR is suitable for training and evaluating speech recognition systems, acoustics- and/or linguistics- based Arabic dialect identification, punctuation restoration, speaker identification, speaker linking, and potentially other NLP modules for spoken data. In addition to QASR transcription, we release a dataset of 130M words to aid in designing and training a better language model. We show that end-to-end automatic speech recognition trained on QASR reports a competitive word error rate compared to the previous MGB-2 corpus. We report baseline results for downstream natural language processing tasks such as named entity recognition using speech transcript. We also report the first baseline for Arabic punctuation restoration. We make the corpus available for the research community.
Predicting the political bias and the factuality of reporting of entire news outlets are critical elements of media profiling, which is an understudied but an increasingly important research direction. The present level of proliferation of fake, biased, and propagandistic content online has made it impossible to fact-check every single suspicious claim, either manually or automatically. Thus, it has been proposed to profile entire news outlets and to look for those that are likely to publish fake or biased content. This makes it possible to detect likely “fake news” the moment they are published, by simply checking the reliability of their source. From a practical perspective, political bias and factuality of reporting have a linguistic aspect but also a social context. Here, we study the impact of both, namely (i) what was written (i.e., what was published by the target medium, and how it describes itself in Twitter) vs. (ii) who reads it (i.e., analyzing the target medium’s audience on social media). We further study (iii) what was written about the target medium (in Wikipedia). The evaluation results show that what was written matters most, and we further show that putting all information sources together yields huge improvements over the current state-of-the-art.
We present the results and the findings of the Second VarDial Evaluation Campaign on Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects. The campaign was organized as part of the fifth edition of the VarDial workshop, collocated with COLING’2018. This year, the campaign included five shared tasks, including two task re-runs – Arabic Dialect Identification (ADI) and German Dialect Identification (GDI) –, and three new tasks – Morphosyntactic Tagging of Tweets (MTT), Discriminating between Dutch and Flemish in Subtitles (DFS), and Indo-Aryan Language Identification (ILI). A total of 24 teams submitted runs across the five shared tasks, and contributed 22 system description papers, which were included in the VarDial workshop proceedings and are referred to in this report.
Measuring the performance of automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems requires manually transcribed data in order to compute the word error rate (WER), which is often time-consuming and expensive. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to estimate WER, or e-WER, which does not require a gold-standard transcription of the test set. Our e-WER framework uses a comprehensive set of features: ASR recognised text, character recognition results to complement recognition output, and internal decoder features. We report results for the two features; black-box and glass-box using unseen 24 Arabic broadcast programs. Our system achieves 16.9% WER root mean squared error (RMSE) across 1,400 sentences. The estimated overall WER e-WER was 25.3% for the three hours test set, while the actual WER was 28.5%.
We present the results of the VarDial Evaluation Campaign on Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects, which we organized as part of the fourth edition of the VarDial workshop at EACL’2017. This year, we included four shared tasks: Discriminating between Similar Languages (DSL), Arabic Dialect Identification (ADI), German Dialect Identification (GDI), and Cross-lingual Dependency Parsing (CLP). A total of 19 teams submitted runs across the four tasks, and 15 of them wrote system description papers.
This paper presents QCRI’s Arabic-to-English live speech translation system. It features modern web technologies to capture live audio, and broadcasts Arabic transcriptions and English translations simultaneously. Our Kaldi-based ASR system uses the Time Delay Neural Network (TDNN) architecture, while our Machine Translation (MT) system uses both phrase-based and neural frameworks. Although our neural MT system is slower than the phrase-based system, it produces significantly better translations and is memory efficient. The demo is available at https://st.qcri.org/demos/livetranslation.
We present the first prototype of the SUMMA Platform: an integrated platform for multilingual media monitoring. The platform contains a rich suite of low-level and high-level natural language processing technologies: automatic speech recognition of broadcast media, machine translation, automated tagging and classification of named entities, semantic parsing to detect relationships between entities, and automatic construction / augmentation of factual knowledge bases. Implemented on the Docker platform, it can easily be deployed, customised, and scaled to large volumes of incoming media streams.
We present the results of the third edition of the Discriminating between Similar Languages (DSL) shared task, which was organized as part of the VarDial’2016 workshop at COLING’2016. The challenge offered two subtasks: subtask 1 focused on the identification of very similar languages and language varieties in newswire texts, whereas subtask 2 dealt with Arabic dialect identification in speech transcripts. A total of 37 teams registered to participate in the task, 24 teams submitted test results, and 20 teams also wrote system description papers. High-order character n-grams were the most successful feature, and the best classification approaches included traditional supervised learning methods such as SVM, logistic regression, and language models, while deep learning approaches did not perform very well.
This paper reports results in building an Egyptian Arabic speech recognition system as an example for under-resourced languages. We investigated different approaches to build the system using 10 hours for training the acoustic model, and results for both grapheme system and phoneme system using MADA. The phoneme-based system shows better results than the grapheme-based system. In this paper, we explore the use of tweets written in dialectal Arabic. Using 880K Egyptian tweets reduced the Out Of Vocabulary (OOV) rate from 15.1% to 3.2% and the WER from 59.6% to 44.7%, a relative gain 25% in WER.