G2G: TTS-Driven Pronunciation Learning for Graphemic Hybrid ASR

International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP)


Grapheme-based acoustic modeling has recently been shown to outperform phoneme-based approaches in both hybrid and end-to-end automatic speech recognition (ASR), even on nonphonemic languages like English. However, graphemic ASR still has problems with low-frequency words that do not follow the standard spelling conventions seen in training, such as entity names. In this work, we present a novel method to train a statistical grapheme-to-grapheme (G2G) model on text-to-speech data that can rewrite an arbitrary character sequence into more phonetically consistent forms. We show that using G2G to provide alternative pronunciations during decoding reduces Word Error Rate by 3% to 11% relative over a strong graphemic baseline and bridges the gap on rare name recognition with an equivalent phonetic setup. Unlike many previously proposed methods, our method does not require any change to the acoustic model training procedure. This work reaffirms the efficacy of grapheme-based modeling and shows that specialized linguistic knowledge, when available, can be leveraged to improve graphemic ASR.

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