This paper describes CMU’s submissions to the IWSLT 2022 dialect speech translation (ST) shared task for translating Tunisian-Arabic speech to English text. We use additional paired Modern Standard Arabic data (MSA) to directly improve the speech recognition (ASR) and machine translation (MT) components of our cascaded systems. We also augment the paired ASR data with pseudo translations via sequence-level knowledge distillation from an MT model and use these artificial triplet ST data to improve our end-to-end (E2E) systems. Our E2E models are based on the Multi-Decoder architecture with searchable hidden intermediates. We extend the Multi-Decoder by orienting the speech encoder towards the target language by applying ST supervision as hierarchical connectionist temporal classification (CTC) multi-task. During inference, we apply joint decoding of the ST CTC and ST autoregressive decoder branches of our modified Multi-Decoder. Finally, we apply ROVER voting, posterior combination, and minimum bayes-risk decoding with combined N-best lists to ensemble our various cascaded and E2E systems. Our best systems reached 20.8 and 19.5 BLEU on test2 (blind) and test1 respectively. Without any additional MSA data, we reached 20.4 and 19.2 on the same test sets.
Documentation of endangered languages (ELs) has become increasingly urgent as thousands of languages are on the verge of disappearing by the end of the 21st century. One challenging aspect of documentation is to develop machine learning tools to automate the processing of EL audio via automatic speech recognition (ASR), machine translation (MT), or speech translation (ST). This paper presents an open-access speech translation corpus of Highland Puebla Nahuatl (glottocode high1278), an EL spoken in central Mexico. It then addresses machine learning contributions to endangered language documentation and argues for the importance of speech translation as a key element in the documentation process. In our experiments, we observed that state-of-the-art end-to-end ST models could outperform a cascaded ST (ASR > MT) pipeline when translating endangered language documentation materials.
This paper describes the ESPnet-ST group’s IWSLT 2021 submission in the offline speech translation track. This year we made various efforts on training data, architecture, and audio segmentation. On the data side, we investigated sequence-level knowledge distillation (SeqKD) for end-to-end (E2E) speech translation. Specifically, we used multi-referenced SeqKD from multiple teachers trained on different amounts of bitext. On the architecture side, we adopted the Conformer encoder and the Multi-Decoder architecture, which equips dedicated decoders for speech recognition and translation tasks in a unified encoder-decoder model and enables search in both source and target language spaces during inference. We also significantly improved audio segmentation by using the pyannote.audio toolkit and merging multiple short segments for long context modeling. Experimental evaluations showed that each of them contributed to large improvements in translation performance. Our best E2E system combined all the above techniques with model ensembling and achieved 31.4 BLEU on the 2-ref of tst2021 and 21.2 BLEU and 19.3 BLEU on the two single references of tst2021.
End-to-end approaches for sequence tasks are becoming increasingly popular. Yet for complex sequence tasks, like speech translation, systems that cascade several models trained on sub-tasks have shown to be superior, suggesting that the compositionality of cascaded systems simplifies learning and enables sophisticated search capabilities. In this work, we present an end-to-end framework that exploits compositionality to learn searchable hidden representations at intermediate stages of a sequence model using decomposed sub-tasks. These hidden intermediates can be improved using beam search to enhance the overall performance and can also incorporate external models at intermediate stages of the network to re-score or adapt towards out-of-domain data. One instance of the proposed framework is a Multi-Decoder model for speech translation that extracts the searchable hidden intermediates from a speech recognition sub-task. The model demonstrates the aforementioned benefits and outperforms the previous state-of-the-art by around +6 and +3 BLEU on the two test sets of Fisher-CallHome and by around +3 and +4 BLEU on the English-German and English-French test sets of MuST-C.