Katrin Tomanek

Katrin Tomanek

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    Preview abstract Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems, despite significant advances in recent years, still have much room for improvement particularly in the recognition of disordered speech. Even so, erroneous transcripts from ASR models can help people with disordered speech be better understood, especially if the transcription doesn’t significantly change the intended meaning. Evaluating the efficacy of ASR for this use case requires a methodology for measuring the impact of transcription errors on the intended meaning and comprehensibility. Human evaluation is the gold standard for this, but it can be laborious, slow, and expensive. In this work, we tune and evaluate large language models for this task and find them to be a much better proxy for human evaluators than other metrics commonly used. We further present a case-study using the presented approach to assess the quality of personalized ASR models to make model deployment decisions and correctly set user expectations for model quality as part of our trusted tester program. View details
    SpeakFaster Observer: Long-Term Instrumentation of Eye-Gaze Typing for Measuring AAC Communication
    Richard Jonathan Noel Cave
    Bob MacDonald
    Jon Campbell
    Blair Casey
    Emily Kornman
    Daniel Vance
    Jay Beavers
    CHI23 Case Studies of HCI in Practice(2023) (to appear)
    Preview abstract Accelerating communication for users with severe motor and speech impairments, in particular for eye-gaze Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device users, is a long-standing area of research. However, observation of such users' communication over extended durations has been limited. This case study presents the real-world experience of developing and field-testing a tool for observing and curating the gaze typing-based communication of a consented eye-gaze AAC user with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) from the perspective of researchers at the intersection of HCI and artificial intelligence (AI). With the intent to observe and accelerate eye-gaze typed communication, we designed a tool and a protocol called the SpeakFaster Observer to measure everyday conversational text entry by the consenting gaze-typing user, as well as several consenting conversation partners of the AAC user. We detail the design of the Observer software and data curation protocol, along with considerations for privacy protection. The deployment of the data protocol from November 2021 to April 2022 yielded a rich dataset of gaze-based AAC text entry in everyday context, consisting of 130+ hours of gaze keypresses and 5.5k+ curated speech utterances from the AAC user and the conversation partners. We present the key statistics of the data, including the speed (8.1±3.9 words per minute) and keypress saving rate (-0.18±0.87) of gaze typing, patterns of of utterance repetition and reuse, as well as the temporal dynamics of conversation turn-taking in gaze-based communication. We share our findings and also open source our data collections tools for furthering research in this domain. View details
    Preview abstract Although personalized automatic speech recognition (ASR) models have recently been improved to recognize even severely impaired speech, model performance may degrade over time for persons with degenerating speech. The aims of this study were to (1) analyze the change of performance of ASR over time in individuals with degrading speech, and (2) explore mitigation strategies to optimize recognition throughout disease progression. Speech was recorded by four individuals with degrading speech due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Word error rates (WER) across recording sessions were computed for three ASR models: Unadapted Speaker Independent (U-SI), Adapted Speaker Independent (A-SI), and Adapted Speaker Dependent (A-SD or personalized). The performance of all models degraded significantly over time as speech became more impaired, but the A-SD model improved markedly when updated with recordings from the severe stages of speech progression. Recording additional utterances early in the disease before significant speech degradation did not improve the performance of A-SD models. This emphasizes the importance of continuous recording (and model retraining) when providing personalized models for individuals with progressive speech impairments. View details
    Characterizing Dysarthria Diversity for Automatic Speech Recognition: A Tutorial From the Clinical Perspective
    Hannah P. Rowe
    Sarah E. Gutz
    Marc F. Maffei
    Jordan R. Green
    Frontiers in Computer Science, 4/2022(2022)
    Preview abstract Despite significant advancements in automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, even the best performing ASR systems are inadequate for speakers with impaired speech. This inadequacy may be, in part, due to the challenges associated with acquiring a sufficiently diverse training sample of disordered speech. Speakers with dysarthria, which refers to a group of divergent speech disorders secondary to neurologic injury, exhibit highly variable speech patterns both within and across individuals. This diversity is currently poorly characterized and, consequently, difficult to adequately represent in disordered speech ASR corpora. In this article, we consider the variable expressions of dysarthria within the context of established clinical taxonomies (e.g., Darley, Aronson, and Brown dysarthria subtypes). We also briefly consider past and recent efforts to capture this diversity quantitatively using speech analytics. Understanding dysarthria diversity from the clinical perspective and how this diversity may impact ASR performance could aid in (1) optimizing data collection strategies for minimizing bias; (2) ensuring representative ASR training sets; and (3) improving generalization of ASR for difficult-to-recognize speakers. Our overarching goal is to facilitate the development of robust ASR systems for dysarthric speech using clinical knowledge. View details
    Preview abstract This study investigates the performance of personalized automatic speech recognition (ASR) for recognizing disordered speech using small amounts of per-speaker adaptation data. We trained personalized models for 195 individuals with different types and severities of speech impairment with training sets ranging in size from <1 minute to 18-20 minutes of speech data. Word error rate (WER) thresholds were selected to determine success rates (the percentage of personalized models reaching the target WER) in different application scenarios. For the home automation scenario, 79% of speakers reached the target WER with 18-20 minutes of speech; but even with only 3-4 minutes of speech, 63% of speakers reached the target WER. Further evaluation found similar improvement on test sets with out-of-domain, unprompted phrases. Our results demonstrate that with only a few minutes of recordings, individuals with disordered speech could benefit from personalized ASR. View details
    Assessing ASR Model Quality on Disordered Speech using BERTScore
    Qisheng Li
    Katie Seaver
    Richard Jonathan Noel Cave
    Proc. 1st Workshop on Speech for Social Good (S4SG)(2022), pp. 26-30 (to appear)
    Preview abstract Word Error Rate (WER) is the primary metric used to assess automatic speech recognition (ASR) model quality. It has been shown that ASR models tend to have much higher WER on speakers with speech impairments than typical English speakers. It is hard to determine if models can be be useful at such high error rates. This study investigates the use of BERTScore, an evaluation metric for text generation, to provide a more informative measure of ASR model quality and usefulness. Both BERTScore and WER were compared to prediction errors manually annotated by Speech Language Pathologists for error type and assessment. BERTScore was found to be more correlated with human assessment of error type and assessment. BERTScore was specifically more robust to orthographic changes (contraction and normalization errors) where meaning was preserved. Furthermore, BERTScore was a better fit of error assessment than WER, as measured using an ordinal logistic regression and the Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC). Overall, our findings suggest that BERTScore can complement WER when assessing ASR model performance from a practical perspective, especially for accessibility applications where models are useful even at lower accuracy than for typical speech. View details
    Context-Aware Abbreviation Expansion Using Large Language Models
    Ajit Narayanan
    Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, 2022(2022) (to appear)
    Preview abstract Motivated by the need for accelerating text entry in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for people with severe motor impairments, we propose a paradigm in which phrases are abbreviated aggressively as primarily word-initial letters. Our approach is to expand the abbreviations into full-phrase options by leveraging conversation context with the power of pretrained large language models (LLMs). Through zero-shot, few-shot, and fine-tuning experiments on four public conversation datasets, we show that for replies to the initial turn of a dialog, an LLM with 64B parameters is able to exactly expand over 70% of phrases with abbreviation length up to 10, leading to an effective keystroke saving rate of up to about 77% on these exact expansions. Including a small amount of context in the form of a single conversation turn more than doubles abbreviation expansion accuracies compared to having no context, an effect that is more pronounced for longer phrases. Additionally, the robustness of models against typo noise can be enhanced through fine-tuning on noisy data. View details
    Preview abstract Objective. This study aimed to (1) evaluate the performance of personalized Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) models on disordered speech samples representing a wide range of etiologies and speech severities, and (2) compare the accuracy of these models to that of speaker-independent ASR models developed on and for typical speech as well as expert human listeners. Methods. 432 individuals with self-reported disordered speech recorded at least 300 short phrases using a web-based application. Word error rates (WER) were computed using three different ASR models and expert human transcribers. Metadata were collected to evaluate the potential impact of participant, atypical speech, and technical factors on recognition accuracy. Results. The accuracy of personalized models for recognizing disordered speech was high (WER: 4.6%), and significantly better than speaker-independent models (WER: 31%). Personalized models also outperformed human transcribers (WER gain: 9%) with relative gains in accuracy as high as 80%. The most significant gain in recognition performance was for the most severely affected speakers. Low SNR and fewer training utterances adversely affected recognition even for speakers with mild speech impairments. Conclusions. Personalized ASR models have significant potential for improving communication for persons with impaired speech. View details
    Preview abstract Automatic classification of disordered speech can provide an objective tool for identifying the presence and severity of a speech impairment. Classification approaches can also help identify hard-to-recognize speech samples to teach ASR systems about the variable manifestations of impaired speech. Here, we develop and compare different deep learning techniques to classify the intelligibility of disordered speech on selected phrases. We collected samples from a diverse set of 661 speakers with a variety of self-reported disorders speaking 29 words or phrases, which were rated by speech-language pathologists for their overall intelligibility using a five-point Likert scale. We then evaluated classifiers developed using 3 approaches: (1) a convolutional neural network (CNN) trained for the task, (2) classifiers trained on non-semantic speech representations from CNNs that used an unsupervised objective [1], and (3) classifiers trained on the acoustic (encoder) embeddings from an ASR system trained on typical speech [2]. We find that the ASR encoder’s embeddings considerably outperform the other two on detecting and classifying disordered speech. Further analysis shows that the ASR embeddings cluster speech by the spoken phrase, while the non-semantic embeddings cluster speech by speaker. Also, longer phrases are more indicative of intelligibility deficits than single words. View details
    Preview abstract Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems are often optimized to work best for speakers with canonical speech patterns. Unfortunately, these systems perform poorly when tested on atypical speech and heavily accented speech. It has previously been shown that personalization through model fine-tuning substantially improves performance. However, maintaining such large models per speaker is costly and difficult to scale. We show that by adding a relatively small number of extra parameters to the encoder layers via so-called residual adapter, we can achieve similar adaptation gains compared to model fine-tuning, while only updating a tiny fraction (less than 0.5%) of the model parameters. We demonstrate this on two speech adaptation tasks (atypical and accented speech) and for two state-of-the-art ASR architectures. View details