On Building Spoken Language Understanding Systems for Low Resourced Languages

by   Akshat Gupta, et al.

Spoken dialog systems are slowly becoming and integral part of the human experience due to their various advantages over textual interfaces. Spoken language understanding (SLU) systems are fundamental building blocks of spoken dialog systems. But creating SLU systems for low resourced languages is still a challenge. In a large number of low resourced language, we don't have access to enough data to build automatic speech recognition (ASR) technologies, which are fundamental to any SLU system. Also, ASR based SLU systems do not generalize to unwritten languages. In this paper, we present a series of experiments to explore extremely low-resourced settings where we perform intent classification with systems trained on as low as one data-point per intent and with only one speaker in the dataset. We also work in a low-resourced setting where we do not use language specific ASR systems to transcribe input speech, which compounds the challenge of building SLU systems to simulate a true low-resourced setting. We test our system on Belgian Dutch (Flemish) and English and find that using phonetic transcriptions to make intent classification systems in such low-resourced setting performs significantly better than using speech features. Specifically, when using a phonetic transcription based system over a feature based system, we see average improvements of 12.37 four-class classification problems respectively, when averaged over 49 different experimental settings.


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