Haruko Ishikawa


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Lenient Evaluation of Japanese Speech Recognition: Modeling Naturally Occurring Spelling Inconsistency
Shigeki Karita | Richard Sproat | Haruko Ishikawa
Proceedings of the Workshop on Computation and Written Language (CAWL 2023)

Word error rate (WER) and character error rate (CER) are standard metrics in Speech Recognition (ASR), but one problem has always been alternative spellings: If one’s system transcribes adviser whereas the ground truth has advisor, this will count as an error even though the two spellings really represent the same word. Japanese is notorious for “lacking orthography”: most words can be spelled in multiple ways, presenting a problem for accurate ASR evaluation. In this paper we propose a new lenient evaluation metric as a more defensible CER measure for Japanese ASR. We create a lattice of plausible respellings of the reference transcription, using a combination of lexical resources, a Japanese text-processing system, and a neural machine translation model for reconstructing kanji from hiragana or katakana. In a manual evaluation, raters rated 95.4% of the proposed spelling variants as plausible. ASR results show that our method, which does not penalize the system for choosing a valid alternate spelling of a word, affords a 2.4%–3.1% absolute reduction in CER depending on the task.

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Helpful Neighbors: Leveraging Neighbors in Geographic Feature Pronunciation
Llion Jones | Richard Sproat | Haruko Ishikawa | Alexander Gutkin
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 11

If one sees the place name Houston Mercer Dog Run in New York, how does one know how to pronounce it? Assuming one knows that Houston in New York is pronounced /ˈhaʊstən/ and not like the Texas city (/ˈhjuːstən/), then one can probably guess that /ˈhaʊstən/ is also used in the name of the dog park. We present a novel architecture that learns to use the pronunciations of neighboring names in order to guess the pronunciation of a given target feature. Applied to Japanese place names, we demonstrate the utility of the model to finding and proposing corrections for errors in Google Maps. To demonstrate the utility of this approach to structurally similar problems, we also report on an application to a totally different task: Cognate reflex prediction in comparative historical linguistics. A version of the code has been open-sourced.1