Syllable-Based Sequence-to-Sequence Speech Recognition with the Transformer in Mandarin Chinese

28 Apr 2018  ·  Shiyu Zhou, Linhao Dong, Shuang Xu, Bo Xu ·

Sequence-to-sequence attention-based models have recently shown very promising results on automatic speech recognition (ASR) tasks, which integrate an acoustic, pronunciation and language model into a single neural network. In these models, the Transformer, a new sequence-to-sequence attention-based model relying entirely on self-attention without using RNNs or convolutions, achieves a new single-model state-of-the-art BLEU on neural machine translation (NMT) tasks. Since the outstanding performance of the Transformer, we extend it to speech and concentrate on it as the basic architecture of sequence-to-sequence attention-based model on Mandarin Chinese ASR tasks. Furthermore, we investigate a comparison between syllable based model and context-independent phoneme (CI-phoneme) based model with the Transformer in Mandarin Chinese. Additionally, a greedy cascading decoder with the Transformer is proposed for mapping CI-phoneme sequences and syllable sequences into word sequences. Experiments on HKUST datasets demonstrate that syllable based model with the Transformer performs better than CI-phoneme based counterpart, and achieves a character error rate (CER) of \emph{$28.77\%$}, which is competitive to the state-of-the-art CER of $28.0\%$ by the joint CTC-attention based encoder-decoder network.

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