Automatic Speech Recognition in Somali
Abstract: The field of speech recognition during the last decade has left the research stage and found its way into the public market, and today, speech recognition software is ubiquitous around us. An automatic speech recognizer understands human speech and represents it as text. Most of the current speech recognition software employs variants of deep neural networks. Before the deep learning era, the hybrid of hidden Markov model and Gaussian mixture model (HMM-GMM) was a popular statistical model to solve speech recognition. In this thesis, automatic speech recognition using HMM-GMM was trained on Somali data which consisted of voice recording and its transcription. HMM-GMM is a hybrid system in which the framework is composed of an acoustic model and a language model. The acoustic model represents the time-variant aspect of the speech signal, and the language model determines how probable is the observed sequence of words. This thesis begins with background about speech recognition. Literature survey covers some of the work that has been done in this field. This thesis evaluates how different language models and discounting methods affect the performance of speech recognition systems. Also, log scores were calculated for the top 5 predicted sentences and confidence measures of pre-dicted sentences. The model was trained on 4.5 hrs of voiced data and its corresponding transcription. It was evaluated on 3 mins of testing data. The performance of the trained model on the test set was good, given that the data was devoid of any background noise and lack of variability. The performance of the model is measured using word error rate(WER) and sentence error rate (SER). The performance of the implemented model is also compared with the results of other research work. This thesis also discusses why log and confidence score of the sentence might not be a good way to measure the performance of the resulting model. It also discusses the shortcoming of the HMM-GMM model, how the existing model can be improved, and different alternatives to solve the problem.
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