A Quantitative Approach to Understand Self-Supervised Models as Cross-lingual Feature Extractors

27 Nov 2023  ·  Shuyue Stella Li, Beining Xu, Xiangyu Zhang, Hexin Liu, WenHan Chao, Leibny Paola Garcia ·

In this work, we study the features extracted by English self-supervised learning (SSL) models in cross-lingual contexts and propose a new metric to predict the quality of feature representations. Using automatic speech recognition (ASR) as a downstream task, we analyze the effect of model size, training objectives, and model architecture on the models' performance as a feature extractor for a set of topologically diverse corpora. We develop a novel metric, the Phonetic-Syntax Ratio (PSR), to measure the phonetic and synthetic information in the extracted representations using deep generalized canonical correlation analysis. Results show the contrastive loss in the wav2vec2.0 objective facilitates more effective cross-lingual feature extraction. There is a positive correlation between PSR scores and ASR performance, suggesting that phonetic information extracted by monolingual SSL models can be used for downstream tasks in cross-lingual settings. The proposed metric is an effective indicator of the quality of the representations and can be useful for model selection.

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