End-to-End Neural Transformer Based Spoken Language Understanding

12 Aug 2020  ·  Martin Radfar, Athanasios Mouchtaris, Siegfried Kunzmann ·

Spoken language understanding (SLU) refers to the process of inferring the semantic information from audio signals. While the neural transformers consistently deliver the best performance among the state-of-the-art neural architectures in field of natural language processing (NLP), their merits in a closely related field, i.e., spoken language understanding (SLU) have not beed investigated. In this paper, we introduce an end-to-end neural transformer-based SLU model that can predict the variable-length domain, intent, and slots vectors embedded in an audio signal with no intermediate token prediction architecture. This new architecture leverages the self-attention mechanism by which the audio signal is transformed to various sub-subspaces allowing to extract the semantic context implied by an utterance. Our end-to-end transformer SLU predicts the domains, intents and slots in the Fluent Speech Commands dataset with accuracy equal to 98.1 \%, 99.6 \%, and 99.6 \%, respectively and outperforms the SLU models that leverage a combination of recurrent and convolutional neural networks by 1.4 \% while the size of our model is 25\% smaller than that of these architectures. Additionally, due to independent sub-space projections in the self-attention layer, the model is highly parallelizable which makes it a good candidate for on-device SLU.

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