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Speaker adaptation using constrained estimation of Gaussian mixtures

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3 Author(s)
Digalakis, V.V. ; SRI Int., Menlo Park, CA, USA ; Rtischev, D. ; Neumeyer, L.G.

A trend in automatic speech recognition systems is the use of continuous mixture-density hidden Markov models (HMMs). Despite the good recognition performance that these systems achieve on average in large vocabulary applications, there is a large variability in performance across speakers. Performance degrades dramatically when the user is radically different from the training population. A popular technique that can improve the performance and robustness of a speech recognition system is adapting speech models to the speaker, and more generally to the channel and the task. In continuous mixture-density HMMs the number of component densities is typically very large, and it may not be feasible to acquire a sufficient amount of adaptation data for robust maximum-likelihood estimates. To solve this problem, the authors propose a constrained estimation technique for Gaussian mixture densities. The algorithm is evaluated on the large-vocabulary Wall Street Journal corpus for both native and nonnative speakers of American English. For nonnative speakers, the recognition error rate is approximately halved with only a small amount of adaptation data, and it approaches the speaker-independent accuracy achieved for native speakers. For native speakers, the recognition performance after adaptation improves to the accuracy of speaker-dependent systems that use six times as much training data

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Speech and Audio Processing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 5 )