In contrast to Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) approaches, Sequence-To-Sequence (S2S) models for Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) suffer from errors such as skipped or repeated words which often occur at the end of a sequence. In this paper, to combine the best of both approaches, we propose to use the CTC-Prefix-Score during S2S decoding. Hereby, during beam search, paths that are invalid according to the CTC confidence matrix are penalised. Our network architecture is composed of a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) as visual backbone, bidirectional Long-Short-Term-Memory-Cells (LSTMs) as encoder, and a decoder which is a Transformer with inserted mutual attention layers. The CTC confidences are computed on the encoder while the Transformer is only used for character-wise S2S decoding. We evaluate this setup on three HTR data sets: IAM, Rimes, and StAZH. On IAM, we achieve a competitive Character Error Rate (CER) of 2.95% when pretraining our model on synthetic data and including a character-based language model for contemporary English. Compared to other state-of-the-art approaches, our model requires about 10–20 times less parameters. Access our shared implementations via this link to GitHub.
Authors: Christoph Wick (PLANET AI GmbH), Jochen Zöllner (PLANET AI GmbH, University of Rostock), Tobias Grüning (PLANET AI GmbH)
Series: DAS 2022 – 15th IAPR International Workshop on Document Analysis Systems