Abstract : Optimum soft decoding of sources compressed with variable length codes and quasi-arithmetic codes, transmitted over noisy channels, can be performed on a bit/symbol trellis. However, the number of states of the trellis is a quadratic function of the sequence length leading to a decoding complexity which is not tractable for practical applications. The decoding complexity can be significantly reduced by using an aggregated state model, while still achieving close to optimum performance in terms of bit error rate and frame error rate. However, symbol a posteriori probabilities can not be directly derived on these models and the symbol error rate (SER) may not be minimized. This paper describes a two-step decoding algorithm that achieves close to optimal decoding performance in terms of SER on aggregated state models. A performance and complexity analysis of the proposed algorithm is given.