Yosuke Higuchi


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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.


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BERT Meets CTC: New Formulation of End-to-End Speech Recognition with Pre-trained Masked Language Model
Yosuke Higuchi | Brian Yan | Siddhant Arora | Tetsuji Ogawa | Tetsunori Kobayashi | Shinji Watanabe
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

This paper presents BERT-CTC, a novel formulation of end-to-end speech recognition that adapts BERT for connectionist temporal classification (CTC). Our formulation relaxes the conditional independence assumptions used in conventional CTC and incorporates linguistic knowledge through the explicit output dependency obtained by BERT contextual embedding. BERT-CTC attends to the full contexts of the input and hypothesized output sequences via the self-attention mechanism. This mechanism encourages a model to learn inner/inter-dependencies between the audio and token representations while maintaining CTC’s training efficiency. During inference, BERT-CTC combines a mask-predict algorithm with CTC decoding, which iteratively refines an output sequence. The experimental results reveal that BERT-CTC improves over conventional approaches across variations in speaking styles and languages. Finally, we show that the semantic representations in BERT-CTC are beneficial towards downstream spoken language understanding tasks.