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Incremental Blockwise Beam Search for Simultaneous Speech Translation with Controllable Quality-Latency Tradeoff

Peter Polák, Brian Yan, Shinji Watanabe, Alex Waibel, Ondřej Bojar

Blockwise self-attentional encoder models have recently emerged as one promising end-to-end approach to simultaneous speech translation. These models employ a blockwise beam search with hypothesis reliability scoring to determine when to wait for more input speech before translating further. However, this method maintains multiple hypotheses until the entire speech input is consumed -- this scheme cannot directly show a single incremental translation to users. Further, this method lacks mechanisms for controlling the quality vs. latency tradeoff. We propose a modified incremental blockwise beam search incorporating local agreement or hold-n policies for quality-latency control. We apply our framework to models trained for online or offline translation and demonstrate that both types can be effectively used in online mode.
Experimental results on MuST-C show 0.6-3.6 BLEU improvement without changing latency or 0.8-1.4 s latency improvement without changing quality.

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