Abstract

In the deep neural network (DNN), the hidden layers can be considered as increasingly complex feature transformations and the final softmax layer as a log-linear classifier making use of the most abstract features computed in the hidden layers. While the loglinear classifier should be different for different languages, the feature transformations can be shared across languages. In this paper we propose a shared-hidden-layer multilingual DNN (SHLMDNN), in which the hidden layers are made common across many languages while the softmax layers are made language dependent. We demonstrate that the SHL-MDNN can reduce errors by 3-5%, relatively, for all the languages decodable with the SHLMDNN, over the monolingual DNNs trained using only the language specific data. Further, we show that the learned hidden layers sharing across languages can be transferred to improve recognition accuracy of new languages, with relative error reductions ranging from 6% to 28% against DNNs trained without exploiting the transferred hidden layers. It is particularly interesting that the error reduction can be achieved for the target language that is in different families of the languages used to learn the hidden layers.

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