Two-Pass Low Latency End-to-End Spoken Language Understanding

14 Jul 2022  ·  Siddhant Arora, Siddharth Dalmia, Xuankai Chang, Brian Yan, Alan Black, Shinji Watanabe ·

End-to-end (E2E) models are becoming increasingly popular for spoken language understanding (SLU) systems and are beginning to achieve competitive performance to pipeline-based approaches. However, recent work has shown that these models struggle to generalize to new phrasings for the same intent indicating that models cannot understand the semantic content of the given utterance. In this work, we incorporated language models pre-trained on unlabeled text data inside E2E-SLU frameworks to build strong semantic representations. Incorporating both semantic and acoustic information can increase the inference time, leading to high latency when deployed for applications like voice assistants. We developed a 2-pass SLU system that makes low latency prediction using acoustic information from the few seconds of the audio in the first pass and makes higher quality prediction in the second pass by combining semantic and acoustic representations. We take inspiration from prior work on 2-pass end-to-end speech recognition systems that attends on both audio and first-pass hypothesis using a deliberation network. The proposed 2-pass SLU system outperforms the acoustic-based SLU model on the Fluent Speech Commands Challenge Set and SLURP dataset and reduces latency, thus improving user experience. Our code and models are publicly available as part of the ESPnet-SLU toolkit.

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