Cross Lingual Transfer Learning for Zero-Resource Domain Adaptation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We propose a method for zero-resource domain adaptation of DNN acoustic models, for use in low-resource situations where the only in-language training data available may be poorly matched to the intended target domain. Our method uses a multi-lingual model in which several DNN layers are shared between languages. This architecture enables domain adaptation transforms learned for one well-resourced language to be applied to an entirely different low resource language. First, to develop the technique we use English as a well-resourced language and take Spanish to mimic a low-resource language. Experiments in domain adaptation between the conversational telephone speech (CTS) domain and broadcast news (BN) domain demonstrate a 29% relative WER improvement on Spanish BN test data by using only English adaptation data. Second, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the method for low-resource languages with a poor match to the well-resourced language. Even in this scenario, the proposed method achieves relative WER improvements of 18-27% by using solely English data for domain adaptation. Compared to other related approaches based on multi-task and multi-condition training, the proposed method is able to better exploit well-resource language data for improved acoustic modelling of the low-resource target domain.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication ICASSP 2020 - 2020 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP)
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5090-6631-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-5090-6632-2
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2020
Event2020 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 4 May 20208 May 2020
Conference number: 45

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1520-6149
ISSN (Electronic)2379-190X


Conference2020 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing
Abbreviated titleICASSP 2020


  • acoustic modelling
  • domain adaptation
  • multilingual speech recognition

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