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JSALT 2015 -- Week 5 Informal Seminar
with Helen Meng

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Thursday, Aug. 6:

Development of Automatic Speech Recognition and Synthesis Technologies to Support Chinese Learners of English - the CUHK Experience

Helen Meng

This talk presents an ongoing research initiative in the development of speech technologies that strives to raise the efficacy of computer-aided pronunciation training, especially for Chinese learners of English. Our approach is grounded on the theory of language transfer and involves a systematic phonological comparison between the primary language (L1 being Chinese) and secondary language (L2 being English) to predict possible segmental and suprasegmental realizations that constitute mispronunciations in L2 English. The predictions are validated based on a specially designed corpus that consists of several hundred hours of L2 English speech. The speech data supports the development of automatic speech recognition technologies that can detect and diagnose mispronunciations. The diagnosis aims to support the design of pedagogical and remedial instructions, which involves text-to-speech synthesis technologies for corrective feedback generation in audiovisual forms. This talk offers an overview of the technologies, related experimental results and ongoing work as well as future plans.


Helen Meng received all her degrees (S.B., S.M. and Ph.D.) in electrical engineering from MIT.  She is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  She is also the Founding Director of the Microsoft-CUHK Joint Laboratory for Human-Centric Computing and Interface Technologies, which has been recognized as a Ministry of Education of China (MoE) Key Laboratory since 2008.  In 2013, she helped establish the CUHK Big Data Decision Analytics Research Center and serves as its Founding Director.  She also served as Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Engineering from 2006 to 2010.  She is the former Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech and Language Processing, a member of the IEEE Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee, and is elected into the IEEE Board of Governors in 2014.  Helen’s professional services include membership in the Steering Committee on eHealth Record Sharing of the HKSAR Government, Council membership of Hong Kong Productivity Council and Open University of Hong Kong, as well as former memberships in the HKSAR Government’s Digital 21 Strategy Advisory Committee and Research Grants Council.  Professor Meng received the MoE Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Award in Technological Advancements in 2009. In previous years, she has also received the Exemplary Teaching Award, Young Researcher Award, as well as Service Award from the CUHK Faculty of Engineering. Helen is elected Distinguished Lecturer of the ISCA (International Speech Communication Association) in 2015.  She is also a Fellow of the Hong Kong Computer Society, Hong Kong Institute of Engineers and also IEEE.

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