Google Research

TOWARD DOMAIN-INVARIANT SPEECH RECOGNITION VIA LARGE SCALE TRAINING

Abstract

Current state-of-the-art automatic speech recognition systems are trained to work in specific ‘domains’, defined based on factors like application, sampling rate and codec. When such recognizers are used in conditions that do not match the training domain, performance significantly drops. In this paper, we explore the idea of building a single domain-invariant model that works well for varied use-cases. We do this by combining large scale training data from multiple application domains. Our final system is trained using 162,000 hours of speech. Additionally, each utterance is artificially distorted during training to simulate effects like background noise, codec distortion, and sampling rates. Our results show that, even at such a scale, a model thus trained works almost as well as those fine-tuned to specific subsets: A single model can be trained to be robust to multiple application domains, and other variations like codecs and noise. Such models also generalize better to unseen conditions and allow for rapid adaptation to new domains – we show that by using as little as 10 hours of data for adapting a domain-invariant model to a new domain, we can match performance of a domain-specific model trained from scratch using roughly 70 times as much data. We also highlight some of the limitations of such models and areas that need addressing in future work.

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