Spoken language understanding (SLU) tasks involve mapping from speech signals to semantic labels. Given the complexity of such tasks, good performance is expected to require large labeled datasets, which are difficult to collect for each new task and domain. However, recent advances in self-supervised speech representations have made it feasible to consider learning SLU models with limited labeled data. In this work, we focus on low-resource spoken named entity recognition (NER) and address the question: Beyond self-supervised pre-training, how can we use external speech and/or text data that are not annotated for the task? We consider self-training, knowledge distillation, and transfer learning for end-to-end (E2E) and pipeline (speech recognition followed by text NER) approaches. We find that several of these approaches improve performance in resource-constrained settings beyond the benefits from pre-trained representations. Compared to prior work, we find relative improvements in F1 of up to 16%. While the best baseline model is a pipeline approach, the best performance using external data is ultimately achieved by an E2E model. We provide detailed comparisons and analyses, developing insights on, for example, the effects of leveraging external data on (i) different categories of NER errors and (ii) the switch in performance trends between pipeline and E2E models.
We present the results and the findings of the Second VarDial Evaluation Campaign on Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects. The campaign was organized as part of the fifth edition of the VarDial workshop, collocated with COLING’2018. This year, the campaign included five shared tasks, including two task re-runs – Arabic Dialect Identification (ADI) and German Dialect Identification (GDI) –, and three new tasks – Morphosyntactic Tagging of Tweets (MTT), Discriminating between Dutch and Flemish in Subtitles (DFS), and Indo-Aryan Language Identification (ILI). A total of 24 teams submitted runs across the five shared tasks, and contributed 22 system description papers, which were included in the VarDial workshop proceedings and are referred to in this report.