Semi-supervised acoustic model training for five-lingual code-switched ASR

This paper presents recent progress in the acoustic modelling of under-resourced code-switched (CS) speech in multiple South African languages. We consider two approaches. The first constructs separate bilingual acoustic models corresponding to language pairs (English-isiZulu, English-isiXhosa, English-Setswana and English-Sesotho). The second constructs a single unified five-lingual acoustic model representing all the languages (English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Setswana and Sesotho). For these two approaches we consider the effectiveness of semi-supervised training to increase the size of the very sparse acoustic training sets. Using approximately 11 hours of untranscribed speech, we show that both approaches benefit from semi-supervised training. The bilingual TDNN-F acoustic models also benefit from the addition of CNN layers (CNN-TDNN-F), while the five-lingual system does not show any significant improvement. Furthermore, because English is common to all language pairs in our data, it dominates when training a unified language model, leading to improved English ASR performance at the expense of the other languages. Nevertheless, the five-lingual model offers flexibility because it can process more than two languages simultaneously, and is therefore an attractive option as an automatic transcription system in a semi-supervised training pipeline.

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