16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Dresden, Germany
September 6-10, 2015

Articulatory-Based Conversion of Foreign Accents with Deep Neural Networks

Sandesh Aryal, Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna

Texas A&M University, USA

We present an articulatory-based method for real-time accent conversion using deep neural networks (DNN). The approach consists of two steps. First, we train a DNN articulatory synthesizer for the non-native speaker that estimates acoustics from contextualized articulatory gestures. Then we drive the DNN with articulatory gestures from a reference native speaker — mapped to the nonnative articulatory space via a Procrustes transform. We evaluate the accent-conversion performance of the DNN through a series of listening tests of intelligibility, voice identity and nonnative accentedness. Compared to a baseline method based on Gaussian mixture models, the DNN accent conversions were found to be 31% more intelligible, and were perceived more native-like in 68% of the cases. The DNN also succeeded in preserving the voice identity of the nonnative speaker.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Aryal, Sandesh / Gutierrez-Osuna, Ricardo (2015): "Articulatory-based conversion of foreign accents with deep neural networks", In INTERSPEECH-2015, 3385-3389.