Multilingual Jointly Trained Acoustic and Written Word Embeddings

Yushi Hu, Shane Settle, Karen Livescu


Acoustic word embeddings (AWEs) are vector representations of spoken word segments. AWEs can be learned jointly with embeddings of character sequences, to generate phonetically meaningful embeddings of written words, or acoustically grounded word embeddings (AGWEs). Such embeddings have been used to improve speech retrieval, recognition, and spoken term discovery. In this work, we extend this idea to multiple low-resource languages. We jointly train an AWE model and an AGWE model, using phonetically transcribed data from multiple languages. The pre-trained models can then be used for unseen zero-resource languages, or fine-tuned on data from low-resource languages. We also investigate distinctive features, as an alternative to phone labels, to better share cross-lingual information. We test our models on word discrimination tasks for twelve languages. When trained on eleven languages and tested on the remaining unseen language, our model outperforms traditional unsupervised approaches like dynamic time warping. After fine-tuning the pre-trained models on one hour or even ten minutes of data from a new language, performance is typically much better than training on only the target-language data. We also find that phonetic supervision improves performance over character sequences, and that distinctive feature supervision is helpful in handling unseen phones in the target language.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2828

Cite as: Hu, Y., Settle, S., Livescu, K. (2020) Multilingual Jointly Trained Acoustic and Written Word Embeddings. Proc. Interspeech 2020, 1052-1056, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2828.


@inproceedings{Hu2020,
  author={Yushi Hu and Shane Settle and Karen Livescu},
  title={{Multilingual Jointly Trained Acoustic and Written Word Embeddings}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2020},
  pages={1052--1056},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2828},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2828}
}