Speaker characterization has always been conditioned by the length of the evaluated utterances. Despite performing well with large amounts of audio, significant degradations in performance are obtained when short utterances are considered. In this work we present an analysis of the short utterance problem providing an alternative point of view. From our perspective the performance in the evaluation of short utterances is highly influenced by the phonetic similarity between enrollment and test utterances. Both enrollment and test should contain similar phonemes to properly discriminate, being degraded otherwise. In this study we also interpret short utterances as incomplete long utterances where some acoustic units are either unbalanced or just missing. These missing units are responsible for the speaker representations to be unreliable. These unreliable representations are biased with respect to the reference counterparts, obtained from long utterances. These undesired shifts increase the intra-speaker variability, causing a significant loss of performance. According to our experiments, short utterances (3–60 s) can perform as accurate as if long utterances were involved by just reassuring the phonetic distributions. This analysis is determined by the current embedding extraction approach, based on the accumulation of local short-time information. Thus it is applicable to most of the state-of-the-art embeddings, including traditional i-vectors and Deep Neural Network (DNN) xvectors.
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