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Adaptation Techniques in Automatic Speech Recognition. Tor Andr é Myrvoll Telektronikk 99(2), Issue on Spoken Language Technology in Telecommunications, 2003. Goal and Objective. Make ASR robust to speaker and environmental variability.

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Adaptation Techniques in Automatic Speech Recognition

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Adaptation Techniques in Automatic Speech Recognition

Tor André Myrvoll

Telektronikk 99(2), Issue on Spoken Language Technology in Telecommunications, 2003.

Goal and Objective

  • Make ASR robust to speaker and environmental variability.

  • Model adaptation: Automatically adapt a HMM using limited but representative new data to improve performance.

  • Train ASRs for applications w/ insufficient data.

What Do We Have/Adapt?

  • A HMM based ASR trained in the usual manner.

  • The output probability is parameterized by GMMs.

  • No improvement when adapting state transition probabilities and mixture weights.

  • Difficult to estimate  robustly.

  • Mixture means can be adapted “optimally” and proven useful.

Adaptation Principles

  • Main Assumption: Original model is “good enough”, model adaptation can’t be re-training!

Offline Vs. Online

  • If possible offline (performance uncompromised by computational reasons).

  • Decode the adaptation speech data based on current model.

  • Use this to estimate the “speaker-dependent” model’s statistics.

Online Adaptation Using Prior Evolution.

  • Present posterior is the next prior.

MAP Adaptation

  • HMMs have no sufficient statistics => can’t use conjugate prior-posterior pairs. Find posterior via EM.

  • Find prior empirically (multi-modal, first model estimated using ML training).


  • All phonemes in every context don’t occur in adaptation data; Need to store correlations between variables.

  • EMAP only considers correlation between mean vectors under jointly Gaussian assumption.

  • For large model sizes, share means across models.

Transformation Based Model Adaptation

  • ML

  • MAP

  • Estimate a transform T parameterized by .

Bias, Affine and Nonlinear Transformations

  • ML estimation of bias.

  • Affine transformation.

  • Nonlinear transformation ( may be a neural network).


  • Apply separate transformations to different parts of the model (HEAdapt in HTK).


  • Model the mismatch between the SI model (x) and the test environment.

  • No mismatch

  • Mismatch

  •  and  estimated by usual ML methods on adaptation data.

Adaptive Training

  • Gender dependent model selection

  • VTLN (in HTK using WARPFREQ)

Speaker Adaptive Training

  • Assumption: There exists a compact model (c),which relates to all speaker-dependent model via an affine transformation T (~MLLR). The model and the transformation are found using EM.

Cluster Adaptive Training

  • Group speakers in training set into clusters. Now find the cluster closest to the test speaker.

  • Use Canonical Models


  • Similar to Cluster Adaptive Training.

  • Concatenate means from ‘R’ speaker dependent model. Perform PCA on the resulting vector. Store K << R eigenvoice vectors.

  • Form a vector of means from the SI model too.

  • Given a new speaker, the mean is a linear combination of SI vector and eigenvoice vector.


  • 2 major approaches: MAP (&EMAP) and MLLR.

  • MAP needs more data (use of a simple prior) than MLLR. MAP --> SD model.

  • Adaptive training is gaining popularity.

  • For mobile applications, complexity and memory are major concerns.

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