Filler Word Detection and Classification: A Dataset and Benchmark

23rd Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH 2022)

Publication date: September 18, 2022

Ge Zhu, Juan-Pablo Caceres, Justin Salamon

Filler words such as ‘uh’ or ‘um’ are sounds or words people use to signal they are pausing to think. Finding and removing filler words from recordings is a common and tedious task in media editing. Automatically detecting and classifying filler words could greatly aid in this task, but few studies have been published on this problem to date. A key reason is the absence of a dataset with annotated filler words for model training and evaluation. In this work, we present a novel speech dataset, PodcastFillers, with 35K annotated filler words and 50K annotations of other sounds that commonly occur in podcasts such as breaths, laughter, and word repetitions. We propose a pipeline that leverages VAD and ASR to detect filler candidates and a classifier to distinguish between filler word types. We evaluate our proposed pipeline on PodcastFillers, compare to several baselines, and present a detailed ablation study. In particular, we evaluate the importance of using ASR and how it compares to a transcription-free approach resembling keyword spotting. We show that our pipeline obtains state-of-the-art results, and that leveraging ASR strongly outperforms a keyword spotting approach. We make PodcastFillers publicly available, in the hope that our work serves as a benchmark for future research.

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Research Areas:  Adobe Research iconAI & Machine Learning Adobe Research iconAudio