Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
XML PDF e-pub
PDF e-Pub

Section: Application Domains

Annotation and Processing of Spoken Documents and Audio Archives

A first type of annotation consists in transcribing a spoken document in order to get the corresponding sequences of words, with possibly some complementary information, such as the structure (punctuation) or the modality (affirmation/question) of the utterances to make the reading and understanding easier. Typical applications of the automatic transcription of radio or TV shows, or of any other spoken document, include making possible their access by deaf people, as well as by text-based indexing tools.

A second type of annotation is related to speech-text alignment, which aims at determining the starting and ending times of the words, and possibly of the sounds (phonemes). This is of interest in several cases as for example, for annotating speech corpora for linguistic studies, and for synchronizing lip movements with speech sounds, for example for avatar-based communications. Although good results are currently achieved on clean data, automatic speech-text alignment needs to be improved for properly processing noisy spontaneous speech data and needs to be extended to handle overlapping speech.

Large audio archives are important for some communities of users, e.g., linguists, ethnologists or researchers in digital humanities in general. In France, a notorious example is the "Archives du CNRS — Musée de l'homme", gathering about 50,000 recordings dating back to the early 1900s. When dealing with very old recordings, the practitioner is often faced with the problem of noise. This stems out of the fact that a lot of interesting material from a scientific point of view is very old or has been recorded in very adverse noisy conditions, so that the resulting audio is poor. The work on source separation can lead to the design of semi automatic denoising and enhancement features, that would allow these researchers to significantly enhance their investigation capabilities, even without expert knowledge in sound engineering.

Finally, there is also a need for speech signal processing techniques in the field of multimedia content creation and rendering. Relevant techniques include speech and music separation, speech equalization, prosody modification, and speaker conversion.