Children sound like children thanks to a tweak in text to speech
For an app that’s used by people who need help speaking, the text-to-speech app Proloquo2Go sure is a mouthful. Tongue twistery names aside, the app has been updated with a new set of voices – kid’s voices. Until recently, the only voice choices for children using the app were those of adults, which can make a sometimes awkward situation even more awkward.
From the New York Times:
Sound engineering can manipulate adult voices, adding filters that adjust for the higher pitch of a child’s voice, for example. But without a baseline recording, the voices to date have lacked the natural sound of a child’s voice. With little competitive pressure to replicate children’s voices, most companies decided children could get by with the altered adult voices.
The update of Proloquo2Go, which came out Wednesday, now comes with two real children’s voices – Josh or Ella. It can be tough for adults to come in and record the vast library a text to speech library needs in order to translate sentences, so imagine what it must have been like for “Josh” and “Ella” whose voices are aimed at kids 6-14. Recording software gives everybody a little break from reading the entire dictionary, as the Times points out:
… audio engineers collected several thousand phrases and hundreds of words. From this bank of words, the application can synthesize any word in the English language. For example the word “impressive” is stitched together from the words impossible, president and detective.
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