Esther Klabbers

Also published as: E. Klabbers


Text-to-Speech for Under-Resourced Languages: Phoneme Mapping and Source Language Selection in Transfer Learning
Phat Do | Matt Coler | Jelske Dijkstra | Esther Klabbers
Proceedings of the 1st Annual Meeting of the ELRA/ISCA Special Interest Group on Under-Resourced Languages

We propose a new approach for phoneme mapping in cross-lingual transfer learning for text-to-speech (TTS) in under-resourced languages (URLs), using phonological features from the PHOIBLE database and a language-independent mapping rule. This approach was validated through our experiment, in which we pre-trained acoustic models in Dutch, Finnish, French, Japanese, and Spanish, and fine-tuned them with 30 minutes of Frisian training data. The experiment showed an improvement in both naturalness and pronunciation accuracy in the synthesized Frisian speech when our mapping approach was used. Since this improvement also depended on the source language, we then experimented on finding a good criterion for selecting source languages. As an alternative to the traditionally used language family criterion, we tested a novel idea of using Angular Similarity of Phoneme Frequencies (ASPF), which measures the similarity between the phoneme systems of two languages. ASPF was empirically confirmed to be more effective than language family as a criterion for source language selection, and also to affect the phoneme mapping’s effectiveness. Thus, a combination of our phoneme mapping approach and the ASPF measure can be beneficially adopted by other studies involving multilingual or cross-lingual TTS for URLs.


BLISS: An Agent for Collecting Spoken Dialogue Data about Health and Well-being
Jelte van Waterschoot | Iris Hendrickx | Arif Khan | Esther Klabbers | Marcel de Korte | Helmer Strik | Catia Cucchiarini | Mariët Theune
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

An important objective in health-technology is the ability to gather information about people’s well-being. Structured interviews can be used to obtain this information, but are time-consuming and not scalable. Questionnaires provide an alternative way to extract such information, though typically lack depth. In this paper, we present our first prototype of the BLISS agent, an artificial intelligent agent which intends to automatically discover what makes people happy and healthy. The goal of Behaviour-based Language-Interactive Speaking Systems (BLISS) is to understand the motivations behind people’s happiness by conducting a personalized spoken dialogue based on a happiness model. We built our first prototype of the model to collect 55 spoken dialogues, in which the BLISS agent asked questions to users about their happiness and well-being. Apart from a description of the BLISS architecture, we also provide details about our dataset, which contains over 120 activities and 100 motivations and is made available for usage.


System Demonstration GoalGetter: Generation of Spoken Soccer Reports
Mariet Theune | Esther Klabbers
Natural Language Generation


Computing prosodic properties in a data-to-speech system
M. Theune | E. Klabbers | J. Odijk | J.R. de Pijper
Concept to Speech Generation Systems