Podcasts are a large and growing repository of spoken audio. As an audio format, podcasts are more varied in style and production type than broadcast news, contain more genres than typically studied in video data, and are more varied in style and format than previous corpora of conversations. When transcribed with automatic speech recognition they represent a noisy but fascinating collection of documents which can be studied through the lens of natural language processing, information retrieval, and linguistics. Paired with the audio files, they are also a resource for speech processing and the study of paralinguistic, sociolinguistic, and acoustic aspects of the domain. We introduce the Spotify Podcast Dataset, a new corpus of 100,000 podcasts. We demonstrate the complexity of the domain with a case study of two tasks: (1) passage search and (2) summarization. This is orders of magnitude larger than previous speech corpora used for search and summarization. Our results show that the size and variability of this corpus opens up new avenues for research.
We describe a multi-task learning approach to train a Neural Machine Translation (NMT) model with a Relevance-based Auxiliary Task (RAT) for search query translation. The translation process for Cross-lingual Information Retrieval (CLIR) task is usually treated as a black box and it is performed as an independent step. However, an NMT model trained on sentence-level parallel data is not aware of the vocabulary distribution of the retrieval corpus. We address this problem and propose a multi-task learning architecture that achieves 16% improvement over a strong baseline on Italian-English query-document dataset. We show using both quantitative and qualitative analysis that our model generates balanced and precise translations with the regularization effect it achieves from multi-task learning paradigm.