Franco, H., Bratt, H., Rossier, R., Rao Gadde, V., Shriberg, E., Abrash, V., & Precoda, K. (2010). EduSpeak®: A speech recognition and pronunciation scoring toolkit for computer-aided language learning applications. Language Testing, 27(3), 401-418.
SRI International’s EduSpeak® system is a software development toolkit that enables developers of interactive language education software to use state-of-the-art speech recognition and pronunciation scoring technology. Automatic pronunciation scoring allows the computer to provide feedback on the overall quality of pronunciation and to point to specific production problems. We review our approach to pronunciation scoring, where our aim is to estimate the grade that a human expert would assign to the pronunciation quality of a paragraph or a phrase. Using databases of nonnative speech and corresponding human ratings at the sentence level, we evaluate different machine scores that can be used as predictor variables to estimate pronunciation quality. For more specific feedback on pronunciation, the EduSpeak toolkit supports a phone-level mispronunciation detection functionality that automatically flags specific phone segments that have been mispronounced. Phone-level information makes it possible to provide the student with feedback about specific pronunciation mistakes. Two approaches to mispronunciation detection were evaluated in a phonetically transcribed database of 130,000 phones uttered in continuous speech sentences by 206 nonnative speakers. Results show that classification error of the best system, for the phones that can be reliably transcribed, is only slightly higher than the average pairwise disagreement between the human transcribers.