Yi Ren


2022

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A Study of Syntactic Multi-Modality in Non-Autoregressive Machine Translation
Kexun Zhang | Rui Wang | Xu Tan | Junliang Guo | Yi Ren | Tao Qin | Tie-Yan Liu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

It is difficult for non-autoregressive translation (NAT) models to capture the multi-modal distribution of target translations due to their conditional independence assumption, which is known as the “multi-modality problem”, including the lexical multi-modality and the syntactic multi-modality. While the first one has been well studied, the syntactic multi-modality brings severe challenges to the standard cross entropy (XE) loss in NAT and is understudied. In this paper, we conduct a systematic study on the syntactic multi-modality problem. Specifically, we decompose it into short- and long-range syntactic multi-modalities and evaluate several recent NAT algorithms with advanced loss functions on both carefully designed synthesized datasets and real datasets. We find that the Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) loss and the Order-Agnostic Cross Entropy (OAXE) loss can better handle short- and long-range syntactic multi-modalities respectively. Furthermore, we take the best of both and design a new loss function to better handle the complicated syntactic multi-modality in real-world datasets. To facilitate practical usage, we provide a guide to using different loss functions for different kinds of syntactic multi-modality.

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Learning the Beauty in Songs: Neural Singing Voice Beautifier
Jinglin Liu | Chengxi Li | Yi Ren | Zhiying Zhu | Zhou Zhao
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We are interested in a novel task, singing voice beautification (SVB). Given the singing voice of an amateur singer, SVB aims to improve the intonation and vocal tone of the voice, while keeping the content and vocal timbre. Current automatic pitch correction techniques are immature, and most of them are restricted to intonation but ignore the overall aesthetic quality. Hence, we introduce Neural Singing Voice Beautifier (NSVB), the first generative model to solve the SVB task, which adopts a conditional variational autoencoder as the backbone and learns the latent representations of vocal tone. In NSVB, we propose a novel time-warping approach for pitch correction: Shape-Aware Dynamic Time Warping (SADTW), which ameliorates the robustness of existing time-warping approaches, to synchronize the amateur recording with the template pitch curve. Furthermore, we propose a latent-mapping algorithm in the latent space to convert the amateur vocal tone to the professional one. To achieve this, we also propose a new dataset containing parallel singing recordings of both amateur and professional versions. Extensive experiments on both Chinese and English songs demonstrate the effectiveness of our methods in terms of both objective and subjective metrics. Audio samples are available at https://neuralsvb.github.io. Codes: https://github.com/MoonInTheRiver/NeuralSVB.

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Revisiting Over-Smoothness in Text to Speech
Yi Ren | Xu Tan | Tao Qin | Zhou Zhao | Tie-Yan Liu
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Non-autoregressive text to speech (NAR-TTS) models have attracted much attention from both academia and industry due to their fast generation speed. One limitation of NAR-TTS models is that they ignore the correlation in time and frequency domains while generating speech mel-spectrograms, and thus cause blurry and over-smoothed results. In this work, we revisit this over-smoothing problem from a novel perspective: the degree of over-smoothness is determined by the gap between the complexity of data distributions and the capability of modeling methods. Both simplifying data distributions and improving modeling methods can alleviate the problem. Accordingly, we first study methods reducing the complexity of data distributions. Then we conduct a comprehensive study on NAR-TTS models that use some advanced modeling methods. Based on these studies, we find that 1) methods that provide additional condition inputs reduce the complexity of data distributions to model, thus alleviating the over-smoothing problem and achieving better voice quality. 2) Among advanced modeling methods, Laplacian mixture loss performs well at modeling multimodal distributions and enjoys its simplicity, while GAN and Glow achieve the best voice quality while suffering from increased training or model complexity. 3) The two categories of methods can be combined to further alleviate the over-smoothness and improve the voice quality. 4) Our experiments on the multi-speaker dataset lead to similar conclusions as above and providing more variance information can reduce the difficulty of modeling the target data distribution and alleviate the requirements for model capacity.

2020

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A Study of Non-autoregressive Model for Sequence Generation
Yi Ren | Jinglin Liu | Xu Tan | Zhou Zhao | Sheng Zhao | Tie-Yan Liu
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Non-autoregressive (NAR) models generate all the tokens of a sequence in parallel, resulting in faster generation speed compared to their autoregressive (AR) counterparts but at the cost of lower accuracy. Different techniques including knowledge distillation and source-target alignment have been proposed to bridge the gap between AR and NAR models in various tasks such as neural machine translation (NMT), automatic speech recognition (ASR), and text to speech (TTS). With the help of those techniques, NAR models can catch up with the accuracy of AR models in some tasks but not in some others. In this work, we conduct a study to understand the difficulty of NAR sequence generation and try to answer: (1) Why NAR models can catch up with AR models in some tasks but not all? (2) Why techniques like knowledge distillation and source-target alignment can help NAR models. Since the main difference between AR and NAR models is that NAR models do not use dependency among target tokens while AR models do, intuitively the difficulty of NAR sequence generation heavily depends on the strongness of dependency among target tokens. To quantify such dependency, we propose an analysis model called CoMMA to characterize the difficulty of different NAR sequence generation tasks. We have several interesting findings: 1) Among the NMT, ASR and TTS tasks, ASR has the most target-token dependency while TTS has the least. 2) Knowledge distillation reduces the target-token dependency in target sequence and thus improves the accuracy of NAR models. 3) Source-target alignment constraint encourages dependency of a target token on source tokens and thus eases the training of NAR models.

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SimulSpeech: End-to-End Simultaneous Speech to Text Translation
Yi Ren | Jinglin Liu | Xu Tan | Chen Zhang | Tao Qin | Zhou Zhao | Tie-Yan Liu
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In this work, we develop SimulSpeech, an end-to-end simultaneous speech to text translation system which translates speech in source language to text in target language concurrently. SimulSpeech consists of a speech encoder, a speech segmenter and a text decoder, where 1) the segmenter builds upon the encoder and leverages a connectionist temporal classification (CTC) loss to split the input streaming speech in real time, 2) the encoder-decoder attention adopts a wait-k strategy for simultaneous translation. SimulSpeech is more challenging than previous cascaded systems (with simultaneous automatic speech recognition (ASR) and simultaneous neural machine translation (NMT)). We introduce two novel knowledge distillation methods to ensure the performance: 1) Attention-level knowledge distillation transfers the knowledge from the multiplication of the attention matrices of simultaneous NMT and ASR models to help the training of the attention mechanism in SimulSpeech; 2) Data-level knowledge distillation transfers the knowledge from the full-sentence NMT model and also reduces the complexity of data distribution to help on the optimization of SimulSpeech. Experiments on MuST-C English-Spanish and English-German spoken language translation datasets show that SimulSpeech achieves reasonable BLEU scores and lower delay compared to full-sentence end-to-end speech to text translation (without simultaneous translation), and better performance than the two-stage cascaded simultaneous translation model in terms of BLEU scores and translation delay.

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Deep Blue Sonics’ Submission to IWSLT 2020 Open Domain Translation Task
Enmin Su | Yi Ren
Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Spoken Language Translation

We present in this report our submission to IWSLT 2020 Open Domain Translation Task. We built a data pre-processing pipeline to efficiently handle large noisy web-crawled corpora, which boosts the BLEU score of a widely used transformer model in this translation task. To tackle the open-domain nature of this task, back- translation is applied to further improve the translation performance.