Conference paper

Joint modeling of accents and acoustics for multi-accent speech recognition

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The performance of automatic speech recognition systems degrades with increasing mismatch between the training and testing scenarios. Differences in speaker accents are a significant source of such mismatch. The traditional approach to deal with multiple accents involves pooling data from several accents during training and building a single model in multi-task fashion, where tasks correspond to individual accents. In this paper, we explore an alternate model where we jointly learn an accent classifier and a multi-task acoustic model. Experiments on the American English Wall Street Journal and British English Cambridge corpora demonstrate that our joint model outperforms the strong multi-task acoustic model baseline. We obtain a 5.94% relative improvement in word error rate on British English, and 9.47% relative improvement on American English. This illustrates that jointly modeling with accent information improves acoustic model performance.