Steven Hillis


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Multimodal, Multilingual Grapheme-to-Phoneme Conversion for Low-Resource Languages
James Route | Steven Hillis | Isak Czeresnia Etinger | Han Zhang | Alan W Black
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Deep Learning Approaches for Low-Resource NLP (DeepLo 2019)

Grapheme-to-phoneme conversion (g2p) is the task of predicting the pronunciation of words from their orthographic representation. His- torically, g2p systems were transition- or rule- based, making generalization beyond a mono- lingual (high resource) domain impractical. Recently, neural architectures have enabled multilingual systems to generalize widely; however, all systems to date have been trained only on spelling-pronunciation pairs. We hy- pothesize that the sequences of IPA characters used to represent pronunciation do not capture its full nuance, especially when cleaned to fa- cilitate machine learning. We leverage audio data as an auxiliary modality in a multi-task training process to learn a more optimal inter- mediate representation of source graphemes; this is the first multimodal model proposed for multilingual g2p. Our approach is highly ef- fective: on our in-domain test set, our mul- timodal model reduces phoneme error rate to 2.46%, a more than 65% decrease compared to our implementation of a unimodal spelling- pronunciation model—which itself achieves state-of-the-art results on the Wiktionary test set. The advantages of the multimodal model generalize to wholly unseen languages, reduc- ing phoneme error rate on our out-of-domain test set to 6.39% from the unimodal 8.21%, a more than 20% relative decrease. Further- more, our training and test sets are composed primarily of low-resource languages, demon- strating that our multimodal approach remains useful when training data are constrained.