There is no greater fun than playing around with Text-to-Speech on the AT&T Labs website.
Text-to-Speech has great advantages for aiding the communication needs of the disabled: Those without voice are given one; those who cannot see can hear text. Text-to-Speech can also be used in the everyday world of the ordinary consumer. I have visited the AT&T Labs website to have phrases like “Janna is calling!” made into .WAV files.
I then save the files and upload them to a service like Coolservice.dk so I can then easily download the files to my cellular phone. Once I have the sound files on my BlackBerry, I can then create special “ringtones” that will play a certain sound file when a particular person calls. Here’s what I hear on my BlackBerry when Janna calls me from her BlackBerry:
That phrase is spoken over and over by “Crystal” when Janna calls and it is an eerie feeling. Here are some more Text-to-Speech examples I created on the AT&T Labs site using different “voices.” The sentence each voice speaks is: “Welcome to David W. Boles’ Urban Semiotic!”
I wanted to test the system with a long and fairly unique and complex phrase to challenge the Text-to-Speech system and it worked! Listen in to the results by clicking on the following links to the sound files and see if you can understand what is being spoken from the text:
How do you feel about the “accents” applied to the speech? Are the voices stereotypical or are they appropriately representative and culturally authentic?