Papercup Technologies Research

Ctrl-P: Temporal Control of Prosodic Variation for Speech Synthesis

Authors: Devang S Ram Mohan*, Vivian Hu*, Tian Huey Teh*, Alexandra Torresquintero, Christopher Wallis, Marlene Staib, Lorenzo Foglianti, Jiameng Gao, Simon King. (*: equal contribution)

Abstract: Text does not fully specify the spoken form, so text-to-speech models must be able to learn from speech data that vary in ways not explained by the corresponding text. One way to reduce the amount of unexplained variation in training data is to provide acoustic information as an additional learning signal. When generating speech, modifying this acoustic information enables multiple distinct renditions of a text to be produced.

Since much of the unexplained variation is in the prosody, we propose a model that generates speech explicitly conditioned on the three primary acoustic correlates of prosody: F0, energy and duration. The model is flexible about how the values of these features are specified: they can be externally provided, or predicted from text, or predicted then subsequently modified.

Compared to a model that employs a variational auto-encoder to learn unsupervised latent features, our model provides more interpretable, temporally-precise, and disentangled control. When automatically predicting the acoustic features from text, it generates speech that is more natural than that from a Tacotron 2 model with reference encoder. Subsequent human-in-the-loop modification of the predicted acoustic features can significantly further increase naturalness.


Incremental Text to Speech for Neural Sequence-to-Sequence Models using Reinforcement Learning

Authors: Devang S Ram Mohan, Raphael Lenain, Lorenzo Foglianti, Tian Huey Teh, Marlene Staib, Alexandra Torresquintero, Jiameng Gao

Abstract: Modern approaches to text to speech require the entire input character sequence to be processed before any audio is synthesised. This latency limits the suitability of such models for time-sensitive tasks like simultaneous interpretation. Interleaving the action of reading a character with that of synthesising audio reduces this latency. However, the order of this sequence of interleaved actions varies across sentences, which raises the question of how the actions should be chosen. We propose a reinforcement learning based framework to train an agent to make this decision. We compare our performance against that of deterministic, rule-based systems. Our results demonstrate that our agent successfully balances the trade-off between the latency of audio generation and the quality of synthesised audio. More broadly, we show that neural sequence-to-sequence models can be adapted to run in an incremental manner.


Phonological Features for 0-shot Multilingual Speech Synthesis

Authors: Marlene Staib, Tian Huey Teh, Alexandra Torresquintero, Devang S Ram Mohan, Lorenzo Foglianti, Raphael Lenain, Jiameng Gao

Abstract: Code-switching ━ the intra-utterance use of multiple languages ━ is prevalent across the world. Within text-to-speech (TTS), multilingual models have been found to enable code-switching [1,2,3]. By modifying the linguistic input to sequence-to-sequence TTS, we show that code-switching is possible for languages unseen during training, even within monolingual models. We use a small set of phonological features derived from the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), such as vowel height and frontness, consonant place and manner. This allows the model topology to stay unchanged for different languages, and enables new, previously unseen feature combinations to be interpreted by the model. We show that this allows us to generate intelligible, code-switched speech in a new language at test time, including the approximation of sounds never seen in training.


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