Distil-Whisper: Robust Knowledge Distillation via Large-Scale Pseudo Labelling

Published on Nov 1, 2023
· Featured in Daily Papers on Nov 2, 2023


As the size of pre-trained speech recognition models increases, running these large models in low-latency or resource-constrained environments becomes challenging. In this work, we leverage pseudo-labelling to assemble a large-scale open-source dataset which we use to distill the Whisper model into a smaller variant, called Distil-Whisper. Using a simple word error rate (WER) heuristic, we select only the highest quality pseudo-labels for training. The distilled model is 5.8 times faster with 51% fewer parameters, while performing to within 1% WER on out-of-distribution test data in a zero-shot transfer setting. Distil-Whisper maintains the robustness of the Whisper model to difficult acoustic conditions, while being less prone to hallucination errors on long-form audio. Distil-Whisper is designed to be paired with Whisper for speculative decoding, yielding a 2 times speed-up while mathematically ensuring the same outputs as the original model. To facilitate further research in this domain, we make our training code, inference code and models publicly accessible.


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