Speech-T: Transducer for Text to Speech and Beyond

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Authors

Jiawei Chen, Xu Tan, Yichong Leng, Jin Xu, Guihua Wen, Tao Qin, Tie-Yan Liu

Abstract

Neural Transducer (e.g., RNN-T) has been widely used in automatic speech recognition (ASR) due to its capabilities of efficiently modeling monotonic alignments between input and output sequences and naturally supporting streaming inputs. Considering that monotonic alignments are also critical to text to speech (TTS) synthesis and streaming TTS is also an important application scenario, in this work, we explore the possibility of applying Transducer to TTS and more. However, it is challenging because it is difficult to trade off the emission (continuous mel-spectrogram prediction) probability and transition (ASR Transducer predicts blank token to indicate transition to next input) probability when calculating the output probability lattice in Transducer, and it is not easy to learn the alignments between text and speech through the output probability lattice. We propose SpeechTransducer (Speech-T for short), a Transformer based Transducer model that 1) uses a new forward algorithm to separate the transition prediction from the continuous mel-spectrogram prediction when calculating the output probability lattice, and uses a diagonal constraint in the probability lattice to help the alignment learning; 2) supports both full-sentence or streaming TTS by adjusting the look-ahead context; and 3) further supports both TTS and ASR together for the first time, which enjoys several advantages including fewer parameters as well as streaming synthesis and recognition in a single model. Experiments on LJSpeech datasets demonstrate that Speech-T 1) is more robust than the attention based autoregressive TTS model due to its inherent monotonic alignments between text and speech; 2) naturally supports streaming TTS with good voice quality; and 3) enjoys the benefit of joint modeling TTS and ASR in a single network.