Saturday, February 16, 2008

New TTS (Text To Speech) Technology : Linguatec Voice Reader for the Home and Voice Reader Studio for Office and Professional Use : A Software Review

The first two paragraphs of the posting below - for purposes of demonstration - are available here as a high quality Voice Reader mp3 audio file (about 600 KB). Our voice settings in that mp3 are: 90 for speech speed, 85 for tone pitch, 50 for volume and 160 kBit/s for quality. Such settings can be changed by the program reviewed below to suit user preference at the time that the mp3 file is converted from text to audio. This entire posting at the lowest selectable level of 16 kBit/s (which takes up much less broadband) can be heard here (also only about 600 KB).

Germany’s leading supplier of language technology applications for the office is a company called Linguatec. Their product offering includes professional translation software as well as TTS technology. TTS stands for Text to Speech.

A new TTS program that we recently acquired is Linguatec's Voice Reader software, which ranks as the number one voice output program on the market for converting text to audio.

The graphic below marks the software package cover showing the selectable avatar speaker.


Voice Reader is available for purchase in two different versions.

Voice Reader Home (priced at an affordable €49) is a smaller version designed for personal use, for example, for adding audio to Internet websites or for podcasting.

Voice Reader Studio (priced at a competitive €499), is a fully professional office and business recording studio application suited for content management systems, creation of advertising materials, teaching documents, instructive materials for education and elearning, sound recording for the blind, business presentations, recorded announcements, audio magazines, talking books, webinars, and, of course, audio materials for commercial websites and podcasts.

As written at the Voice Reader website:

"We are particularly proud of the fact that Brockhaus multimedial premium [the knowledge authority in Germany] is completely soundtracked with Voice Reader Studio. All 260,000 lexicon articles, a total of 2,200 hours of knowledge that can be listened to (in German)."

Voice Reader Home is available in the following languages: American English, British English, French, Canadian French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and Czech.

Voice Reader Studio is available in the following languages: American English, British English, French (including Canadian French), German, Italian, Spanish (including Mexican Spanish).

Voice Reader Home has the following basic text-to-speech features:
  • Read-out function.
  • Text export in audio files (wav and mp3 formats).
  • Supported applications: Word, Outloook, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat, iTunes.
  • Female voices.
  • Two avatars.
  • Setting options for volume, pitch, speed, hall and echo.
Voice Reader Studio has the following expanded professional text-to-speech features:
  • Read-out function.
  • Text export in audio files (wav and mp3 formats).
  • Supported applications: Word, Outloook, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat, iTunes.
  • Female voices.
  • Male voices (only for American English and British English versions).
  • Creating speaker profiles.
  • Four avatars for American and British English versions, otherwise three avatars.
  • Setting options for volume, pitch, speed, hall and echo.
  • Sound effects and background music, e.g. applause or original sound tracks (mono).
  • Editor for improving pronunciation.
  • Simple dialog management including pause control.
  • Speech melody adjusted to lexical or syntactical level.
  • Stop list of words and punctuation marks that are left unpronounced.
  • Sound quality setting between 16 KBit/s and 160 KBit/s.
  • Circulation to a large listenership.
Voice Reader allows the user to convert text into audio at the click of a button, producing files that, in the Studio version, are synthetically spoken by a computerized male or female voice of the user's selection.

Numerous Voice Reader audio samples are available online. Try them out to see the outstanding quality of speech that can now be achieved by speech avatars.

Cool Research Tools and New Open-Access Law Libraries

Hat tip to Instapundit, linking to TaxProf Blog writing on, of all things, open-access law libraries, with his own hat tip to David Lat and Above the Law on Some Cool New Research Tools ('A'nd they're free, too!), like Public Library of Law, PreCYdent, and eDelaware.

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