Documenting languages helps to prevent the extinction of endangered dialects - many of which are otherwise expected to disappear by the end of the century. When documenting oral languages, unsupervised word segmentation (UWS) from speech is a useful, yet challenging, task. It consists in producing time-stamps for slicing utterances into smaller segments corresponding to words, being performed from phonetic transcriptions, or in the absence of these, from the output of unsupervised speech discretization models. These discretization models are trained using raw speech only, producing discrete speech units that can be applied for downstream (text-based) tasks. In this paper we compare five of these models: three Bayesian and two neural approaches, with regards to the exploitability of the produced units for UWS. For the UWS task, we experiment with two models, using as our target language the Mboshi (Bantu C25), an unwritten language from Congo-Brazzaville. Additionally, we report results for Finnish, Hungarian, Romanian and Russian in equally low-resource settings, using only 4 hours of speech. Our results suggest that neural models for speech discretization are difficult to exploit in our setting, and that it might be necessary to adapt them to limit sequence length. We obtain our best UWS results by using Bayesian models that produce high quality, yet compressed, discrete representations of the input speech signal.
In this paper we present two datasets for Tamasheq, a developing language mainly spoken in Mali and Niger. These two datasets were made available for the IWSLT 2022 low-resource speech translation track, and they consist of collections of radio recordings from daily broadcast news in Niger (Studio Kalangou) and Mali (Studio Tamani). We share (i) a massive amount of unlabeled audio data (671 hours) in five languages: French from Niger, Fulfulde, Hausa, Tamasheq and Zarma, and (ii) a smaller 17 hours parallel corpus of audio recordings in Tamasheq, with utterance-level translations in the French language. All this data is shared under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 license. We hope these resources will inspire the speech community to develop and benchmark models using the Tamasheq language.
The evaluation campaign of the 19th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation featured eight shared tasks: (i) Simultaneous speech translation, (ii) Offline speech translation, (iii) Speech to speech translation, (iv) Low-resource speech translation, (v) Multilingual speech translation, (vi) Dialect speech translation, (vii) Formality control for speech translation, (viii) Isometric speech translation. A total of 27 teams participated in at least one of the shared tasks. This paper details, for each shared task, the purpose of the task, the data that were released, the evaluation metrics that were applied, the submissions that were received and the results that were achieved.
This paper describes the ON-TRAC Consortium translation systems developed for two challenge tracks featured in the Evaluation Campaign of IWSLT 2022: low-resource and dialect speech translation. For the Tunisian Arabic-English dataset (low-resource and dialect tracks), we build an end-to-end model as our joint primary submission, and compare it against cascaded models that leverage a large fine-tuned wav2vec 2.0 model for ASR. Our results show that in our settings pipeline approaches are still very competitive, and that with the use of transfer learning, they can outperform end-to-end models for speech translation (ST). For the Tamasheq-French dataset (low-resource track) our primary submission leverages intermediate representations from a wav2vec 2.0 model trained on 234 hours of Tamasheq audio, while our contrastive model uses a French phonetic transcription of the Tamasheq audio as input in a Conformer speech translation architecture jointly trained on automatic speech recognition, ST and machine translation losses. Our results highlight that self-supervised models trained on smaller sets of target data are more effective to low-resource end-to-end ST fine-tuning, compared to large off-the-shelf models. Results also illustrate that even approximate phonetic transcriptions can improve ST scores.
For endangered languages, data collection campaigns have to accommodate the challenge that many of them are from oral tradition, and producing transcriptions is costly. Therefore, it is fundamental to translate them into a widely spoken language to ensure interpretability of the recordings. In this paper we investigate how the choice of translation language affects the posterior documentation work and potential automatic approaches which will work on top of the produced bilingual corpus. For answering this question, we use the MaSS multilingual speech corpus (Boito et al., 2020) for creating 56 bilingual pairs that we apply to the task of low-resource unsupervised word segmentation and alignment. Our results highlight that the choice of language for translation influences the word segmentation performance, and that different lexicons are learned by using different aligned translations. Lastly, this paper proposes a hybrid approach for bilingual word segmentation, combining boundary clues extracted from a non-parametric Bayesian model (Goldwater et al., 2009a) with the attentional word segmentation neural model from Godard et al. (2018). Our results suggest that incorporating these clues into the neural models’ input representation increases their translation and alignment quality, specially for challenging language pairs.
The CMU Wilderness Multilingual Speech Dataset (Black, 2019) is a newly published multilingual speech dataset based on recorded readings of the New Testament. It provides data to build Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Text-to-Speech (TTS) models for potentially 700 languages. However, the fact that the source content (the Bible) is the same for all the languages is not exploited to date.Therefore, this article proposes to add multilingual links between speech segments in different languages, and shares a large and clean dataset of 8,130 parallel spoken utterances across 8 languages (56 language pairs). We name this corpus MaSS (Multilingual corpus of Sentence-aligned Spoken utterances). The covered languages (Basque, English, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Romanian, Russian and Spanish) allow researches on speech-to-speech alignment as well as on translation for typologically different language pairs. The quality of the final corpus is attested by human evaluation performed on a corpus subset (100 utterances, 8 language pairs). Lastly, we showcase the usefulness of the final product on a bilingual speech retrieval task.