Feature exploration for almost zero-resource ASR-free keyword spotting using a multilingual bottleneck extractor and correspondence autoencoders

Raghav Menon, Herman Kamper, Ewald van der Westhuizen, John Quinn, Thomas Niesler

We compare features for dynamic time warping (DTW) when used to bootstrap keyword spotting (KWS) in an almost zero-resource setting. Such quickly-deployable systems aim to support United Nations (UN) humanitarian relief efforts in parts of Africa with severely under-resourced languages. Our objective is to identify acoustic features that provide acceptable KWS performance in such environments. As supervised resource, we restrict ourselves to a small, easily acquired and independently compiled set of isolated keywords. For feature extraction, a multilingual bottleneck feature (BNF) extractor, trained on well-resourced out-of-domain languages, is integrated with a correspondence autoencoder (CAE) trained on extremely sparse in-domain data. On their own, BNFs and CAE features are shown to achieve a more than 2% absolute performance improvement over baseline MFCCs. However, by using BNFs as input to the CAE, even better performance is achieved, with a more than 11% absolute improvement in ROC AUC over MFCCs and more than twice as many top-10 retrievals for two evaluated languages, English and Luganda. We conclude that integrating BNFs with the CAE allows both large out-of-domain and sparse in-domain resources to be exploited for improved ASR-free keyword spotting.

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