SVOX Debuts First Polyglot Text-to-Speech System

By Michelle Robart November 03, 2008
Zurich, Switzerland-based SVOX, a global provider of text-to-speech output solutions for the automotive and mobile industries, today revealed its next-generation, first truly polyglot Text-to-Speech system.
According to the company, Dutch, European French, German, Italian and European Spanish are the first SVOX voices able to speak American English like a native speaker. This means that the SVOX German voice is able to pronounce an English word in an otherwise German sentence. SVOX plans to include other language combinations in the near future.
SVOX CTO, Marcel Riedi, explained the main difference between the new, truly polyglot SVOX TTS and similar solutions.
"In other current systems, foreign sounds that do not exist in the target language are mapped to the closest available sounds. Since most languages have a number of unique sounds, such mapping results in unnatural and sometimes plainly wrong pronunciation of foreign words,” said Ridei.
“In a truly polyglot TTS system, the target language is enriched with additional sounds from other languages, making foreign words sound natural. It is really like when a person learns to speak another language with an exceptional level of proficiency,” Riedi added.
SVOX polyglot TTS was created to meet the rising market demand for a solution that will allow users to translate languages in daily situations.
It provides navigation instructions in countries with more than one language (for example Canada or the U.S.), and music track selection or POI reading. For all such applications older TTS systems are often just not good enough.
"It is increasingly evident that the market acceptance for older, non-polyglot generation of TTS systems is falling rapidly, driven by consumers who are less and less willing to tolerate unnatural, funny or incorrect pronunciation of foreign words," said Martin Reber, COO. "Discussions with customers support our view that for the growing number of fundamental use cases, non-polyglot TTS is simply not good enough."
The company will be kicking off the SVOX Forum 2008 in Zurich, Switzerland, November 12 - November 14.

The traditional annual event will bring together automotive and mobile experts active in the area of embedded speech and human-machine interfaces.
With a main focus on speech-enabled HMIs for automotive and mobile industries, the theme of this year’s Forum is “The Ultimate User Experience.” Other domains that will be covered include navigation, location-based services and dynamic mobile content.
Daniel Vine, senior systems engineer of Denso, one of the SVOX Forum 08 speakers, hopes that one day, in-car communication, navigation and entertainment devices will be able to seamlessly connect and be controllable via a unified interface that can be used by anyone.
“The goal is to enhance user experience by increasing safety, reducing cognitive load and enhancing productivity. As VUIs allow more flexible user input, my vision is that speech technology will play an increasingly central role in controlling in-car navigation, phone and other connected devices,” Vane explained.

Michelle Robart is a contributing editor for IoTevolutionworld. To read more of Michelle's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

IoTevolutionworld Editor

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