Analysis and Tuning of a Voice Assistant System for Dysfluent Speech

06/18/2021 ∙ by Vikramjit Mitra, et al. ∙ 0

Dysfluencies and variations in speech pronunciation can severely degrade speech recognition performance, and for many individuals with moderate-to-severe speech disorders, voice operated systems do not work. Current speech recognition systems are trained primarily with data from fluent speakers and as a consequence do not generalize well to speech with dysfluencies such as sound or word repetitions, sound prolongations, or audible blocks. The focus of this work is on quantitative analysis of a consumer speech recognition system on individuals who stutter and production-oriented approaches for improving performance for common voice assistant tasks (i.e., "what is the weather?"). At baseline, this system introduces a significant number of insertion and substitution errors resulting in intended speech Word Error Rates (isWER) that are 13.64% worse (absolute) for individuals with fluency disorders. We show that by simply tuning the decoding parameters in an existing hybrid speech recognition system one can improve isWER by 24% (relative) for individuals with fluency disorders. Tuning these parameters translates to 3.6% better domain recognition and 1.7% better intent recognition relative to the default setup for the 18 study participants across all stuttering severities.

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