Google Research

Developing an Open-Source Corpus of Yoruba Speech

Proc. of Interspeech 2020, ISCA, Shanghai, China, October 25-29, 2020. (to appear)

Abstract

This paper introduces an open-source speech dataset for Yoruba - one of the largest low-resource West African languages spoken by at least 22 million people. Yoruba is one of the official languages of Nigeria, Benin and Togo, and is spoken in other neighboring African countries and beyond. The corpus consists of over four hours of 48 kHz recordings from 36 male and female volunteers and the corresponding transcriptions that include disfluency annotation. The transcriptions have full diacritization, which is vital for pronunciation and lexical disambiguation. The annotated speech dataset described in this paper is primarily intended for use in text-to-speech systems, serve as adaptation data in automatic speech recognition and speech-to-speech translation, and provide insights in West African corpus linguistics. We demonstrate the use of this corpus in a simple statistical parametric speech synthesis (SPSS) scenario evaluating it against the related languages from the CMU Wilderness dataset and the Yoruba Lagos-NWU corpus.

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