Infoscience

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Juicer: A Weighted Finite-State Transducer speech decoder

A major component in the development of any speech recognition system is the decoder. As task complexities and, consequently, system complexities have continued to increase the decoding problem has become an increasingly significant component in the overall speech recognition system development effort, with efficient decoder design contributing to significantly improve the trade-off between decoding time and search errors. In this paper we present the ``Juicer'' (from trans ducer) large vocabulary continuous speech recognition (LVCSR) decoder based on weighted finite-State transducer (WFST). We begin with a discussion of the need for open source, state-of-the-art decoding software in LVCSR research and how this lead to the development of Juicer, followed by a brief overview of decoding techniques and major issues in decoder design. We present Juicer and its major features, emphasising its potential not only as a critical component in the development of LVCSR systems, but also as an important research tool in itself, being based around the flexible WFST paradigm. We also provide results of benchmarking tests that have been carried out to date, demonstrating that in many respects Juicer, while still in its early development, is already achieving state-of-the-art. These benchmarking tests serve to not only demonstrate the utility of Juicer in its present state, but are also being used to guide future development, hence, we conclude with a brief discussion of some of the extensions that are currently under way or being considered for Juicer.

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