Ning Dong


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Hybrid Transducer and Attention based Encoder-Decoder Modeling for Speech-to-Text Tasks
Yun Tang | Anna Sun | Hirofumi Inaguma | Xinyue Chen | Ning Dong | Xutai Ma | Paden Tomasello | Juan Pino
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Transducer and Attention based Encoder-Decoder (AED) are two widely used frameworks for speech-to-text tasks. They are designed for different purposes and each has its own benefits and drawbacks for speech-to-text tasks. In order to leverage strengths of both modeling methods, we propose a solution by combining Transducer and Attention based Encoder-Decoder (TAED) for speech-to-text tasks. The new method leverages AED’s strength in non-monotonic sequence to sequence learning while retaining Transducer’s streaming property. In the proposed framework, Transducer and AED share the same speech encoder. The predictor in Transducer is replaced by the decoder in the AED model, and the outputs of the decoder are conditioned on the speech inputs instead of outputs from an unconditioned language model. The proposed solution ensures that the model is optimized by covering all possible read/write scenarios and creates a matched environment for streaming applications. We evaluate the proposed approach on the MuST-C dataset and the findings demonstrate that TAED performs significantly better than Transducer for offline automatic speech recognition (ASR) and speech-to-text translation (ST) tasks. In the streaming case, TAED outperforms Transducer in the ASR task and one ST direction while comparable results are achieved in another translation direction.

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SpeechMatrix: A Large-Scale Mined Corpus of Multilingual Speech-to-Speech Translations
Paul-Ambroise Duquenne | Hongyu Gong | Ning Dong | Jingfei Du | Ann Lee | Vedanuj Goswami | Changhan Wang | Juan Pino | Benoît Sagot | Holger Schwenk
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present SpeechMatrix, a large-scale multilingual corpus of speech-to-speech translations mined from real speech of European Parliament recordings. It contains speech alignments in 136 language pairs with a total of 418 thousand hours of speech. To evaluate the quality of this parallel speech, we train bilingual speech-to-speech translation models on mined data only and establish extensive baseline results on EuroParl-ST, VoxPopuli and FLEURS test sets. Enabled by the multilinguality of SpeechMatrix, we also explore multilingual speech-to-speech translation, a topic which was addressed by few other works. We also demonstrate that model pre-training and sparse scaling using Mixture-of-Experts bring large gains to translation performance. The mined data and models will be publicly released


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Unified Speech-Text Pre-training for Speech Translation and Recognition
Yun Tang | Hongyu Gong | Ning Dong | Changhan Wang | Wei-Ning Hsu | Jiatao Gu | Alexei Baevski | Xian Li | Abdelrahman Mohamed | Michael Auli | Juan Pino
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this work, we describe a method to jointly pre-train speech and text in an encoder-decoder modeling framework for speech translation and recognition. The proposed method utilizes multi-task learning to integrate four self-supervised and supervised subtasks for cross modality learning. A self-supervised speech subtask, which leverages unlabelled speech data, and a (self-)supervised text to text subtask, which makes use of abundant text training data, take up the majority of the pre-training time. Two auxiliary supervised speech tasks are included to unify speech and text modeling space. Detailed analysis reveals learning interference among subtasks. In order to alleviate the subtask interference, two pre-training configurations are proposed for speech translation and speech recognition respectively. Our experiments show the proposed method can effectively fuse speech and text information into one model. It achieves between 1.7 and 2.3 BLEU improvement above the state of the art on the MuST-C speech translation dataset and comparable WERs to wav2vec 2.0 on the Librispeech speech recognition task.


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Addressing Posterior Collapse with Mutual Information for Improved Variational Neural Machine Translation
Arya D. McCarthy | Xian Li | Jiatao Gu | Ning Dong
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

This paper proposes a simple and effective approach to address the problem of posterior collapse in conditional variational autoencoders (CVAEs). It thus improves performance of machine translation models that use noisy or monolingual data, as well as in conventional settings. Extending Transformer and conditional VAEs, our proposed latent variable model measurably prevents posterior collapse by (1) using a modified evidence lower bound (ELBO) objective which promotes mutual information between the latent variable and the target, and (2) guiding the latent variable with an auxiliary bag-of-words prediction task. As a result, the proposed model yields improved translation quality compared to existing variational NMT models on WMT Ro↔En and De↔En. With latent variables being effectively utilized, our model demonstrates improved robustness over non-latent Transformer in handling uncertainty: exploiting noisy source-side monolingual data (up to +3.2 BLEU), and training with weakly aligned web-mined parallel data (up to +4.7 BLEU).