Speaker diarization : "who spoke when"

Wang, David I-Chung (2012) Speaker diarization : "who spoke when". PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Speaker diarization is the process of annotating an input audio with information that attributes temporal regions of the audio signal to their respective sources, which may include both speech and non-speech events. For speech regions, the diarization system also specifies the locations of speaker boundaries and assign relative speaker labels to each homogeneous segment of speech. In short, speaker diarization systems effectively answer the question of ‘who spoke when’.

There are several important applications for speaker diarization technology, such as facilitating speaker indexing systems to allow users to directly access the relevant segments of interest within a given audio, and assisting with other downstream processes such as summarizing and parsing. When combined with automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems, the metadata extracted from a speaker diarization system can provide complementary information for ASR transcripts including the location of speaker turns and relative speaker segment labels, making the transcripts more readable. Speaker diarization output can also be used to localize the instances of specific speakers to pool data for model adaptation, which in turn boosts transcription accuracies. Speaker diarization therefore plays an important role as a preliminary step in automatic transcription of audio data.

The aim of this work is to improve the usefulness and practicality of speaker diarization technology, through the reduction of diarization error rates. In particular, this research is focused on the segmentation and clustering stages within a diarization system. Although particular emphasis is placed on the broadcast news audio domain and systems developed throughout this work are also trained and tested on broadcast news data, the techniques proposed in this dissertation are also applicable to other domains including telephone conversations and meetings audio.

Three main research themes were pursued: heuristic rules for speaker segmentation, modelling uncertainty in speaker model estimates, and modelling uncertainty in eigenvoice speaker modelling.

The use of heuristic approaches for the speaker segmentation task was first investigated, with emphasis placed on minimizing missed boundary detections. A set of heuristic rules was proposed, to govern the detection and heuristic selection of candidate speaker segment boundaries. A second pass, using the same heuristic algorithm with a smaller window, was also proposed with the aim of improving detection of boundaries around short speaker segments. Compared to single threshold based methods, the proposed heuristic approach was shown to provide improved segmentation performance, leading to a reduction in the overall diarization error rate.

Methods to model the uncertainty in speaker model estimates were developed, to address the difficulties associated with making segmentation and clustering decisions with limited data in the speaker segments. The Bayes factor, derived specifically for multivariate Gaussian speaker modelling, was introduced to account for the uncertainty of the speaker model estimates. The use of the Bayes factor also enabled the incorporation of prior information regarding the audio to aid segmentation and clustering decisions.

The idea of modelling uncertainty in speaker model estimates was also extended to the eigenvoice speaker modelling framework for the speaker clustering task. Building on the application of Bayesian approaches to the speaker diarization problem, the proposed approach takes into account the uncertainty associated with the explicit estimation of the speaker factors. The proposed decision criteria, based on Bayesian theory, was shown to generally outperform their non- Bayesian counterparts.

Impact and interest:

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500 since deposited on 02 May 2013
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ID Code: 59624
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Sridharan, Subramanian, Mason, Michael W., & Vogt, Robert J.
Keywords: speaker diarization, speaker segmentation, speaker clustering, Bayes factors, eigenvoice modelling, joint factor analysis, distance measures
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 02 May 2013 03:18
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015 05:20

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