Cascade versus Direct Speech Translation: Do the Differences Still Make a Difference?

06/02/2021 ∙ by Luisa Bentivogli, et al. ∙ 7

Five years after the first published proofs of concept, direct approaches to speech translation (ST) are now competing with traditional cascade solutions. In light of this steady progress, can we claim that the performance gap between the two is closed? Starting from this question, we present a systematic comparison between state-of-the-art systems representative of the two paradigms. Focusing on three language directions (English-German/Italian/Spanish), we conduct automatic and manual evaluations, exploiting high-quality professional post-edits and annotations. Our multi-faceted analysis on one of the few publicly available ST benchmarks attests for the first time that: i) the gap between the two paradigms is now closed, and ii) the subtle differences observed in their behavior are not sufficient for humans neither to distinguish them nor to prefer one over the other.



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