The VERBMOBIL Project
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In the first 4 year phase (1993-1996) the main task of our part was the
creation of a new database of spontaneously spoken German.
Also involved in this task are the
Institut für Phonetik und
digitale Sprachverarbeitung (IPDS) in Kiel as well as the
Institut für Kommunikation und Phonetik (IKP) in Bonn.
The desired corpus contains recorded dialogs between two german speakers
within a certain task. The task was the scheduling of several
business appointments (meetings, dinner, business trip, etc.). After
An example for such a dialogue can be found here.
Up to date information about the latest VERBMOBIL CDROMs can be found
The recordings of the dialogs are done in all of the three participating
institutes and additional recordings are provided by University of
Karlsruhe. The recordings are
collected in Munich and disseminated on CDROM.
orthographic transcription ('transliteration') of each dialog is
created by phonetically skilled listeners, including noise classification and
all effects of spontanuous speech (e.g. hesitations, interupts, ...).
A handbook of data collection and transliteration in TP14 of
VERBMOBIL was produced by
The new version of the conventions for transliteration can be found here.
first pahes 9 CDROMs, each containing about
500 MB data were distributed. From a total of 1954 appointments 763 were
recorded at our site.
The corresponding transliterations are
distributed on the official VERBMOBIL ftp server in Saarbrücken.
Furthermore some special recordings were done in Munich and Bonn:
This database and the corresponding transliteration are the basis for
the development of the speech recognizer and the research of dialog
handling, semantics and syntax of spontaneous speech within the VERBMOBIL
- mixed language dialogs (German - English)
- field recordings (at the BMBF in Bonn)
- recordings in 'Denglish' (native Germans speaking English).
- special recordings in new extended tasks ('Travel Planning')
Automatic Speech Verification
As a second task a full automatic segmentation
system on the basis of Hidden Markov Models was developed. In a first
alpha version the system showed the expected errors, where speech recognition
systems typically tend to fail. These results were made available to other
partners with the aim to improve weak points of standard speech recognition
The alpha version
was distributed to several Verbmobil partners
for automatic segmentation tasks (mainly for speech synthesis). A source
code version was exported to the
Institut für Kommunikation und
Phonetik (IKP) in Bonn.
The next step of this task will be the development of a
segmentation algorithm which uses a rule based system to recognize the most
common word variations in German. This includes the development of a
graph-oriented representation for variations of whole utterances and
Viterbi-search for such structures. Another point of interest is the
re-evaluation of the output by a rule-based system which incorporates
expert knowledge about transcription by hand.
The VERBMOBIL Project