Direct Punjabi to English Speech Translation using Discrete Units


Prabhjot Kaur1, L. Andrew M. Bush2 and Weisong Shi3, 1Wayne State University, USA, 2Utah State University, USA, 3University of Delaware, USA


Speech-to-speech translation is yet to reach the same level of coverage as text-to-text translation systems. The current speech technology is highly limited in its coverage of over 7000 languages spoken worldwide, leaving more than half of the population deprived of such technology and shared experiences. With voice-assisted technology (such as social robots and speech-to-text apps) and auditory content (such as podcasts and lectures) on the rise, ensuring that the technology is available for all is more important than ever. Speech translation can play a vital role in mitigating technological disparity and creating a more inclusive society. With a motive to contribute towards speech translation research for low-resource languages, our work presents a direct speech-to-speech translation model for one of the Indic languages called Punjabi to English. Additionally, we explore the performance of using a discrete representation of speech called discrete acoustic units as input to the Transformer-based translation model. The model, abbreviated as Unit-to-Unit Translation (U2UT), takes a sequence of discrete units of the source language (the language being translated from) and outputs a sequence of discrete units of the target language (the language being translated to). Our results show that the U2UT model performs better than the Speechto-Unit Translation (S2UT) model by a 3.69 BLEU score.


Direct speech-to-speech translation; Natural Language Processing (NLP), Deep Learning, Transformer.