With the rise of deep learning and intelligent vehicles, the smart assistant has become an essential in-car component to facilitate driving and provide extra functionalities. In-car smart assistants should be able to process general as well as car-related commands and perform corresponding actions, which eases driving and improves safety. However, there is a data scarcity issue for low resource languages, hindering the development of research and applications. In this paper, we introduce a new dataset, Cantonese In-car Audio-Visual Speech Recognition (CI-AVSR), for in-car command recognition in the Cantonese language with both video and audio data. It consists of 4,984 samples (8.3 hours) of 200 in-car commands recorded by 30 native Cantonese speakers. Furthermore, we augment our dataset using common in-car background noises to simulate real environments, producing a dataset 10 times larger than the collected one. We provide detailed statistics of both the clean and the augmented versions of our dataset. Moreover, we implement two multimodal baselines to demonstrate the validity of CI-AVSR. Experiment results show that leveraging the visual signal improves the overall performance of the model. Although our best model can achieve a considerable quality on the clean test set, the speech recognition quality on the noisy data is still inferior and remains an extremely challenging task for real in-car speech recognition systems. The dataset and code will be released at https://github.com/HLTCHKUST/CI-AVSR.
Code-switching is a speech phenomenon occurring when a speaker switches language during a conversation. Despite the spontaneous nature of code-switching in conversational spoken language, most existing works collect code-switching data from read speech instead of spontaneous speech. ASCEND (A Spontaneous Chinese-English Dataset) is a high-quality Mandarin Chinese-English code-switching corpus built on spontaneous multi-turn conversational dialogue sources collected in Hong Kong. We report ASCEND’s design and procedure for collecting the speech data, including annotations. ASCEND consists of 10.62 hours of clean speech, collected from 23 bilingual speakers of Chinese and English. Furthermore, we conduct baseline experiments using pre-trained wav2vec 2.0 models, achieving a best performance of 22.69% character error rate and 27.05% mixed error rate.
Large pre-trained language models (LMs) have demonstrated the ability to obtain good performance on downstream tasks with limited examples in cross-lingual settings. However, this was mostly studied for relatively resource-rich languages, where at least enough unlabeled data is available to be included in pre-training a multilingual language model. In this paper, we explore the problem of cross-lingual transfer in unseen languages, where no unlabeled data is available for pre-training a model. We use a downstream sentiment analysis task across 12 languages, including 8 unseen languages, to analyze the effectiveness of several few-shot learning strategies across the three major types of model architectures and their learning dynamics. We also compare strategies for selecting languages for transfer and contrast findings across languages seen in pre-training compared to those that are not. Our findings contribute to the body of knowledge on cross-lingual models for low-resource settings that is paramount to increasing coverage, diversity, and equity in access to NLP technology. We show that, in few-shot learning, linguistically similar and geographically similar languages are useful for cross-lingual adaptation, but taking the context from a mixture of random source languages is surprisingly more effective. We also compare different model architectures and show that the encoder-only model, XLM-R, gives the best downstream task performance.