Siddharth Dalmia


2023

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ESPnet-ST-v2: Multipurpose Spoken Language Translation Toolkit
Brian Yan | Jiatong Shi | Yun Tang | Hirofumi Inaguma | Yifan Peng | Siddharth Dalmia | Peter Polák | Patrick Fernandes | Dan Berrebbi | Tomoki Hayashi | Xiaohui Zhang | Zhaoheng Ni | Moto Hira | Soumi Maiti | Juan Pino | Shinji Watanabe
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 3: System Demonstrations)

ESPnet-ST-v2 is a revamp of the open-source ESPnet-ST toolkit necessitated by the broadening interests of the spoken language translation community. ESPnet-ST-v2 supports 1) offline speech-to-text translation (ST), 2) simultaneous speech-to-text translation (SST), and 3) offline speech-to-speech translation (S2ST) – each task is supported with a wide variety of approaches, differentiating ESPnet-ST-v2 from other open source spoken language translation toolkits. This toolkit offers state-of-the-art architectures such as transducers, hybrid CTC/attention, multi-decoders with searchable intermediates, time-synchronous blockwise CTC/attention, Translatotron models, and direct discrete unit models. In this paper, we describe the overall design, example models for each task, and performance benchmarking behind ESPnet-ST-v2, which is publicly available at https://github.com/espnet/espnet.

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CTC Alignments Improve Autoregressive Translation
Brian Yan | Siddharth Dalmia | Yosuke Higuchi | Graham Neubig | Florian Metze | Alan W Black | Shinji Watanabe
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) is a widely used approach for automatic speech recognition (ASR) that performs conditionally independent monotonic alignment. However for translation, CTC exhibits clear limitations due to the contextual and non-monotonic nature of the task and thus lags behind attentional decoder approaches in terms of translation quality. In this work, we argue that CTC does in fact make sense for translation if applied in a joint CTC/attention framework wherein CTC’s core properties can counteract several key weaknesses of pure-attention models during training and decoding. To validate this conjecture, we modify the Hybrid CTC/Attention model originally proposed for ASR to support text-to-text translation (MT) and speech-to-text translation (ST). Our proposed joint CTC/attention models outperform pure-attention baselines across six benchmark translation tasks.

2022

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Token-level Sequence Labeling for Spoken Language Understanding using Compositional End-to-End Models
Siddhant Arora | Siddharth Dalmia | Brian Yan | Florian Metze | Alan W Black | Shinji Watanabe
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

End-to-end spoken language understanding (SLU) systems are gaining popularity over cascaded approaches due to their simplicity and ability to avoid error propagation. However, these systems model sequence labeling as a sequence prediction task causing a divergence from its well-established token-level tagging formulation. We build compositional end-to-end SLU systems that explicitly separate the added complexity of recognizing spoken mentions in SLU from the NLU task of sequence labeling. By relying on intermediate decoders trained for ASR, our end-to-end systems transform the input modality from speech to token-level representations that can be used in the traditional sequence labeling framework. This composition of ASR and NLU formulations in our end-to-end SLU system offers direct compatibility with pre-trained ASR and NLU systems, allows performance monitoring of individual components and enables the use of globally normalized losses like CRF, making them attractive in practical scenarios. Our models outperform both cascaded and direct end-to-end models on a labeling task of named entity recognition across SLU benchmarks.

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CMU’s IWSLT 2022 Dialect Speech Translation System
Brian Yan | Patrick Fernandes | Siddharth Dalmia | Jiatong Shi | Yifan Peng | Dan Berrebbi | Xinyi Wang | Graham Neubig | Shinji Watanabe
Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation (IWSLT 2022)

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.

2021

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NoiseQA: Challenge Set Evaluation for User-Centric Question Answering
Abhilasha Ravichander | Siddharth Dalmia | Maria Ryskina | Florian Metze | Eduard Hovy | Alan W Black
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

When Question-Answering (QA) systems are deployed in the real world, users query them through a variety of interfaces, such as speaking to voice assistants, typing questions into a search engine, or even translating questions to languages supported by the QA system. While there has been significant community attention devoted to identifying correct answers in passages assuming a perfectly formed question, we show that components in the pipeline that precede an answering engine can introduce varied and considerable sources of error, and performance can degrade substantially based on these upstream noise sources even for powerful pre-trained QA models. We conclude that there is substantial room for progress before QA systems can be effectively deployed, highlight the need for QA evaluation to expand to consider real-world use, and hope that our findings will spur greater community interest in the issues that arise when our systems actually need to be of utility to humans.

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Searchable Hidden Intermediates for End-to-End Models of Decomposable Sequence Tasks
Siddharth Dalmia | Brian Yan | Vikas Raunak | Florian Metze | Shinji Watanabe
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

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.

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ESPnet-ST IWSLT 2021 Offline Speech Translation System
Hirofumi Inaguma | Brian Yan | Siddharth Dalmia | Pengcheng Guo | Jiatong Shi | Kevin Duh | Shinji Watanabe
Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation (IWSLT 2021)

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.

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Highland Puebla Nahuatl Speech Translation Corpus for Endangered Language Documentation
Jiatong Shi | Jonathan D. Amith | Xuankai Chang | Siddharth Dalmia | Brian Yan | Shinji Watanabe
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas

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.

2020

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On Long-Tailed Phenomena in Neural Machine Translation
Vikas Raunak | Siddharth Dalmia | Vivek Gupta | Florian Metze
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

State-of-the-art Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models struggle with generating low-frequency tokens, tackling which remains a major challenge. The analysis of long-tailed phenomena in the context of structured prediction tasks is further hindered by the added complexities of search during inference. In this work, we quantitatively characterize such long-tailed phenomena at two levels of abstraction, namely, token classification and sequence generation. We propose a new loss function, the Anti-Focal loss, to better adapt model training to the structural dependencies of conditional text generation by incorporating the inductive biases of beam search in the training process. We show the efficacy of the proposed technique on a number of Machine Translation (MT) datasets, demonstrating that it leads to significant gains over cross-entropy across different language pairs, especially on the generation of low-frequency words. We have released the code to reproduce our results.

2019

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Gated Embeddings in End-to-End Speech Recognition for Conversational-Context Fusion
Suyoun Kim | Siddharth Dalmia | Florian Metze
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We present a novel conversational-context aware end-to-end speech recognizer based on a gated neural network that incorporates conversational-context/word/speech embeddings. Unlike conventional speech recognition models, our model learns longer conversational-context information that spans across sentences and is consequently better at recognizing long conversations. Specifically, we propose to use text-based external word and/or sentence embeddings (i.e., fastText, BERT) within an end-to-end framework, yielding significant improvement in word error rate with better conversational-context representation. We evaluated the models on the Switchboard conversational speech corpus and show that our model outperforms standard end-to-end speech recognition models.

2018

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Epitran: Precision G2P for Many Languages
David R. Mortensen | Siddharth Dalmia | Patrick Littell
Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018)