Context-aware Transformer transducer for speech recognition

2021
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End-to-end (E2E) automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems often have difficulty recognizing uncommon words, that appear infrequently in the training data. One promising method, to improve the recognition accuracy on such rare words, is to latch onto personalized/contextual information at inference. In this work, we present a novel context-aware transformer transducer (CATT) network that improves the state-of-the-art transformer-based ASR system by taking advantage of such contextual signals. Specifically, we propose a multi-head attention-based context-biasing network, which is jointly trained with the rest of the ASR sub-networks. We explore different techniques to encode contextual data and to create the final attention context vectors. We also leverage both BLSTM and pretrained BERT based models to encode contextual data and guide the network training. Using an in-house far-field dataset, we show that CATT, using a BERT-based context encoder, improves the word error rate of the baseline transformer transducer and outperforms an existing deep contextual model by 24.2% and 19.4% respectively.
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