025 Speech Synthesis for the ESL Presenter

Flickr Image. Author: fatboyke (Luc)

Do you feel that speaking English is like driving your car on the left side of the road when you are used to driving it on the right? Is your spoken English bad because you are slowed down by  researchers from your own country who insist you speak to them in your own language? Do you want to slow down the aging process that is taking you downhill so that you can master English before your very own neurons tell you it’s too late? Does the road towards fluent spoken English seem endless and tortuous without a native English teacher by your side?Are you slowed down by the online dictionaries that speak one word when you want a full sentence? Can text-to-speech effectively replace a real English (or French) voice?

The ESL scientist who presents will definitely enjoy this podcast as it reveals the secrets of the incredible progress made in the naturalness in computer speech, as explained by one of its long time researcher and developer, Dr Kim Silverman of Apple Computer. But it does not stop there. Dr Silverman also explains how to use speech synthesis to improve the quality of your oral presentation. Don’t miss this podcast if you are an ESL scientist!

By Jean-Luc Lebrun

 

023 Speech synthesis and the presenter

Image source Flickr / Author: Yandle

Rarely do we think about speech synthesis (written text spoken by a computer voice) when it comes to presentations. After all, the presenter is the host. But what if the host had a soar throat, or had an English accent to pronounced that the audience is likely to give up and leave the room shortly after the start of the presentation… The applications of text-to-speech do not stop there. Many presenters actually write their whole speech ahead of time in the note section of their PowerPoint or Keynote slides. Having the computer voice speak out these notes allows you to discover that certain sentences read fine as printed  text, but no longer sound fine when spoken. It’s time to make these sentences a little less formal. And while you are at it, see how long the computer voice takes to read your speech – and check that you do not exceed the allotted time!  We interview, Dr Kim Silverman, the Apple scientist who is responsible for one of the best American voices in computer speech today, Alex.  A self-presenting presentation is mentioned is here.

By Jean-luc Lebrun