Multilingual Speech Emotion Recognition using pretrained models powered by Self-Supervised Learning

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: Society is based on communication, for which speech is the most prevalent medium. In day to day interactions we talk to each other, but it is not only the words spoken that matters, but the emotional delivery as well. Extracting emotion from speech has therefore become a topic of research in the area of speech tasks. This area as a whole has in recent years adopted a Self- Supervised Learning approach for learning speech representations from raw speech audio, without the need for any supplementary labelling. These speech representations can be leveraged for solving tasks limited by the availability of annotated data, be it for low-resource language, or a general lack of data for the task itself. This thesis aims to evaluate the performances of a set of pre-trained speech models by fine-tuning them in different multilingual environments, and evaluating their performance thereafter. The model presented in this paper is based on wav2vec 2.0 and manages to correctly classify 86.58% of samples over eight different languages and four emotional classes when trained on those same languages. Experiments were conducted to garner how well a model trained on seven languages would perform on the one left out, which showed that there is quite a large margin of similarity in how different cultures express vocal emotions, and further investigations showed that as little as just a few minutes of in-domain data is able to increase the performance substantially. This shows promising results even for niche languages, as the amount of available data may not be as large of a hurdle as one might think. With that said, increasing the amount of data from minutes to hours does still garner substantial improvements, albeit to a lesser degree. 

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