Using multiple ASR hypotheses to boost i18n NLU performance
Current voice assistants typically use the best hypothesis yielded by their Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) module as input to their Natural Language Understanding (NLU) module, thereby losing helpful information that might be stored in lower-ranked ASR hypotheses. We explore the change in performance of NLU associated tasks when utilizing fivebest ASR hypotheses when compared to status quo for two language datasets, German and Portuguese. To harvest information from the ASR five-best, we leverage extractive summarization and joint extractive-abstractive summarization models for Domain Classification (DC) experiments while using a sequence-tosequence model with a pointer generator network for Intent Classification (IC) and Named Entity Recognition (NER) multi-task experiments. For the DC full test set, we observe significant improvements of up to 7.2% and 15.5% in micro-averaged F1 scores, for German and Portuguese, respectively. In cases where the best ASR hypothesis was not an exact match to the transcribed utterance (mismatched test set), we see improvements of up to 6.7% and 8.8% micro-averaged F1 scores, for German and Portuguese, respectively. For IC and NER multi-task experiments, when evaluating on the mismatched test set, we see improvements across all domains in German and in 17 out of 19 domains in Portuguese (improvements based on change in SeMER scores). Our results suggest that the use of multiple ASR hypotheses, as opposed to one, can lead to significant performance improvements in the DC task for these non-English datasets. In addition, it could lead to significant improvement in the performance of IC and NER tasks in cases where the ASR model makes mistakes.