Finding Consensus Among Words: Lattice-based Word Error Minimization


Mangu, L., Brill, E., & Stolcke, A. (1999, September). Finding consensus among words: lattice-based word error minimization. In Eurospeech.


We describe a new algorithm for finding the hypothesis in a recognition lattice that is expected to minimize the word error rate (WER). Our approach thus overcomes the mismatch between the word-based performance metric and the standard MAP scoring paradigm that is sentence-based, and that can lead to sub-optimal recognition results. To this end we first find a complete alignment of all words in the recognition lattice, identifying mutually supporting and competing word hypotheses. Finally, a new sentence hypothesis is formed by concatenating the words with maximal posterior probabilities. Experimentally, this approach leads to a significant WER reduction in a large vocabulary recognition task.

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