Yi Ren


2023

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AV-TranSpeech: Audio-Visual Robust Speech-to-Speech Translation
Rongjie Huang | Huadai Liu | Xize Cheng | Yi Ren | Linjun Li | Zhenhui Ye | Jinzheng He | Lichao Zhang | Jinglin Liu | Xiang Yin | Zhou Zhao
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Direct speech-to-speech translation (S2ST) aims to convert speech from one language into another, and has demonstrated significant progress to date. Despite the recent success, current S2ST models still suffer from distinct degradation in noisy environments and fail to translate visual speech (i.e., the movement of lips and teeth). In this work, we present AV-TranSpeech, the first audio-visual speech-to-speech (AV-S2ST) translation model without relying on intermediate text. AV-TranSpeech complements the audio stream with visual information to promote system robustness and opens up a host of practical applications: dictation or dubbing archival films. To mitigate the data scarcity with limited parallel AV-S2ST data, we 1) explore self-supervised pre-training with unlabeled audio-visual data to learn contextual representation, and 2) introduce cross-modal distillation with S2ST models trained on the audio-only corpus to further reduce the requirements of visual data. Experimental results on two language pairs demonstrate that AV-TranSpeech outperforms audio-only models under all settings regardless of the type of noise. With low-resource audio-visual data (10h, 30h), cross-modal distillation yields an improvement of 7.6 BLEU on average compared with baselines. Audio samples are available at https://AV-TranSpeech.github.io/.

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CLAPSpeech: Learning Prosody from Text Context with Contrastive Language-Audio Pre-Training
Zhenhui Ye | Rongjie Huang | Yi Ren | Ziyue Jiang | Jinglin Liu | Jinzheng He | Xiang Yin | Zhou Zhao
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Improving text representation has attracted much attention to achieve expressive text-to-speech (TTS). However, existing works only implicitly learn the prosody with masked token reconstruction tasks, which leads to low training efficiency and difficulty in prosody modeling. We propose CLAPSpeech, a cross-modal contrastive pre-training framework that learns from the prosody variance of the same text token under different contexts. Specifically, 1) with the design of a text encoder and a prosody encoder, we encourage the model to connect the text context with its corresponding prosody pattern in the joint multi-modal space; 2) we introduce a multi-scale pre-training pipeline to capture prosody patterns in multiple levels. 3) we show how to incorporate CLAPSpeech into existing TTS models for better prosody. Experiments on three datasets not only show that CLAPSpeech could improve the prosody prediction for existing TTS methods, but also demonstrate its generalization ability to adapt to multiple languages and multi-speaker text-to-speech. We also deeply analyze the principle behind the performance of CLAPSpeech. Ablation studies demonstrate the necessity of each component in CLAPSpeech. Source code and audio samples are available at https://clapspeech.github.io.

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基于FLAT的农业病虫害命名实体识别(Named Entity Recognition of Agricultural Pests and Diseases based on FLAT)
Yi Ren (任义) | Jie Shen (沈洁) | Shuai Yuan (袁帅)
Proceedings of the 22nd Chinese National Conference on Computational Linguistics

“针对传统命名实体识别方法中词嵌入无法表征一词多义及字词融合的模型存在特征提取不够准确的问题,本文提出了一种基于FLAT的交互式特征融合模型,该模型首先通过外部词典匹配获得字、词向量,经过BERT预训练后,通过设计的交互式特征融合模块充分挖掘字词间的依赖关系。另外,引入对抗训练提升模型的鲁棒性。其次,采用了特殊的相对位置编码将数据输入到自注意力机制,最后通过CRF得到全局最优序列。本文模型在农业病虫害数据集上识别的准确率、召回率、F1值分别达到了93.76%、92.14%和92.94%。”

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FastDiff 2: Revisiting and Incorporating GANs and Diffusion Models in High-Fidelity Speech Synthesis
Rongjie Huang | Yi Ren | Ziyue Jiang | Chenye Cui | Jinglin Liu | Zhou Zhao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Generative adversarial networks (GANs) and denoising diffusion probabilistic models (DDPMs) have recently achieved impressive performances in image and audio synthesis. After revisiting their success in conditional speech synthesis, we find that 1) GANs sacrifice sample diversity for quality and speed, 2) diffusion models exhibit outperformed sample quality and diversity at a high computational cost, where achieving high-quality, fast, and diverse speech synthesis challenges all neural synthesizers. In this work, we propose to converge advantages from GANs and diffusion models by incorporating both classes, introducing dual-empowered modeling perspectives: 1) FastDiff 2 (DiffGAN), a diffusion model whose denoising process is parametrized by conditional GANs, and the non-Gaussian denoising distribution makes it much more stable to implement the reverse process with large steps sizes; and 2) FastDiff 2 (GANDiff), a generative adversarial network whose forward process is constructed by multiple denoising diffusion iterations, which exhibits better sample diversity than traditional GANs. Experimental results show that both variants enjoy an efficient 4-step sampling process and demonstrate superior sample quality and diversity. Audio samples are available at https://RevisitSpeech.github.io/

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Prosody-TTS: Improving Prosody with Masked Autoencoder and Conditional Diffusion Model For Expressive Text-to-Speech
Rongjie Huang | Chunlei Zhang | Yi Ren | Zhou Zhao | Dong Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Expressive text-to-speech aims to generate high-quality samples with rich and diverse prosody, which is hampered by dual challenges: 1) prosodic attributes in highly dynamic voices are difficult to capture and model without intonation; and 2) highly multimodal prosodic representations cannot be well learned by simple regression (e.g., MSE) objectives, which causes blurry and over-smoothing predictions. This paper proposes Prosody-TTS, a two-stage pipeline that enhances prosody modeling and sampling by introducing several components: 1) a self-supervised masked autoencoder to model the prosodic representation without relying on text transcriptions or local prosody attributes, which ensures to cover diverse speaking voices with superior generalization; and 2) a diffusion model to sample diverse prosodic patterns within the latent space, which prevents TTS models from generating samples with dull prosodic performance. Experimental results show that Prosody-TTS achieves new state-of-the-art in text-to-speech with natural and expressive synthesis. Both subjective and objective evaluation demonstrate that it exhibits superior audio quality and prosody naturalness with rich and diverse prosodic attributes. Audio samples are available at https://improved_prosody.github.io

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FluentSpeech: Stutter-Oriented Automatic Speech Editing with Context-Aware Diffusion Models
Ziyue Jiang | Qian Yang | Jialong Zuo | Zhenhui Ye | Rongjie Huang | Yi Ren | Zhou Zhao
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Stutter removal is an essential scenario in the field of speech editing. However, when the speech recording contains stutters, the existing text-based speech editing approaches still suffer from: 1) the over-smoothing problem in the edited speech; 2) lack of robustness due to the noise introduced by stutter; 3) to remove the stutters, users are required to determine the edited region manually. To tackle the challenges in stutter removal, we propose FluentSpeech, a stutter-oriented automatic speech editing model. Specifically, 1) we propose a context-aware diffusion model that iteratively refines the modified mel-spectrogram with the guidance of context features; 2) we introduce a stutter predictor module to inject the stutter information into the hidden sequence; 3) we also propose a stutter-oriented automatic speech editing (SASE) dataset that contains spontaneous speech recordings with time-aligned stutter labels to train the automatic stutter localization model. Experimental results on VCTK and LibriTTS datasets demonstrate that our model achieves state-of-the-art performance on speech editing. Further experiments on our SASE dataset show that FluentSpeech can effectively improve the fluency of stuttering speech in terms of objective and subjective metrics. Code and audio samples can be found at https://github.com/Zain-Jiang/Speech-Editing-Toolkit.

2022

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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.

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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.

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.