Eva Szekely


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Augmented Prompt Selection for Evaluation of Spontaneous Speech Synthesis
Eva Szekely | Jens Edlund | Joakim Gustafson
Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

By definition, spontaneous speech is unscripted and created on the fly by the speaker. It is dramatically different from read speech, where the words are authored as text before they are spoken. Spontaneous speech is emergent and transient, whereas text read out loud is pre-planned. For this reason, it is unsuitable to evaluate the usability and appropriateness of spontaneous speech synthesis by having it read out written texts sampled from for example newspapers or books. Instead, we need to use transcriptions of speech as the target - something that is much less readily available. In this paper, we introduce Starmap, a tool allowing developers to select a varied, representative set of utterances from a spoken genre, to be used for evaluation of TTS for a given domain. The selection can be done from any speech recording, without the need for transcription. The tool uses interactive visualisation of prosodic features with t-SNE, along with a tree-based algorithm to guide the user through thousands of utterances and ensure coverage of a variety of prompts. A listening test has shown that with a selection of genre-specific utterances, it is possible to show significant differences across genres between two synthetic voices built from spontaneous speech.