What the Future Brings: Investigating the Impact of Lookahead for Incremental Neural TTS

4 Sep 2020  ·  Brooke Stephenson, Laurent Besacier, Laurent Girin, Thomas Hueber ·

In incremental text to speech synthesis (iTTS), the synthesizer produces an audio output before it has access to the entire input sentence. In this paper, we study the behavior of a neural sequence-to-sequence TTS system when used in an incremental mode, i.e. when generating speech output for token n, the system has access to n + k tokens from the text sequence. We first analyze the impact of this incremental policy on the evolution of the encoder representations of token n for different values of k (the lookahead parameter). The results show that, on average, tokens travel 88% of the way to their full context representation with a one-word lookahead and 94% after 2 words. We then investigate which text features are the most influential on the evolution towards the final representation using a random forest analysis. The results show that the most salient factors are related to token length. We finally evaluate the effects of lookahead k at the decoder level, using a MUSHRA listening test. This test shows results that contrast with the above high figures: speech synthesis quality obtained with 2 word-lookahead is significantly lower than the one obtained with the full sentence.

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