In November 2017, The Language Technology Unit received a small grant from the Welsh Government’s Technology and the Welsh Language Fund, to work with the NHS as partners on a project to allow patients on the brink of losing their voice to bank their voice and then generate a personal digital synthetic voice. This had never before been availabe for Welsh speakers, and is a great step forward for Welsh speaking patients.
More information about this service can be found here including details for sofware developers about the package’s source code.
Here is a short video that shows you how to register for the service
There has been quite a favourable initial response on the social websites :
Or the ability to create your own naturally sounding Welsh language synthetic voices…
Ar part of our work on the Macsen project, we’ve created tools that will enable you to create naturally sounding Welsh language synthetic voices. The tools make it easy for you to prepare recordings scripts, record an individual’s voice, and with its knowledge of Welsh language pronunciation, build for you a Welsh language synthetic voice that sounds very similar to the recorded individual.
Here are examples of the voices of two members of the techiaith team having been synthesized with the new tools:
The team had the opportunity to demonstrate these tools at a recent SeneddLab 2017 event where a new voice was created within one hour, named ‘RoboLlywydd’ and used to speak the answers to questions about the National Assembly for Wales. Although the ‘RoboLlywydd’ name was just for fun, it showed that it’s possible to create and use many different individual voices within your own personal digital assistants. The following video talks more about this (especially after the fifth and a half minute):
We used an already open source system called MaryTTS which can now be used to create Welsh voices using the resources at the following GitHub repository:
Since its launch in March, a few coders and companies have been using the cloud based Welsh language text-to-speech API service.
Very often however, developers from companies in particular wish to utilise Welsh language text-to-speech available offline and in Microsoft Windows based environments. We also get from time to time e-mails from text-to-speech developers of other lesser resourced languages asking for help on using their own voices in Microsoft Windows.
Our Welsh language text-to-speech voice is possible thanks to the superb Festival Speech Synthesis System. However, Festival, as its developers openly admit, does not support Microsoft Windows very well at all.
We think that Festival and its Welsh voice should be possible in Microsoft Windows. Therefore, we’ve published the speech data that makes Festival talk Welsh on GitHub as well as hack on the side to create a Visual Studio Solution project that makes Festival run natively on Windows with a very basic COM and .NET interface.
Without these resources there are very few, if any, options for Welsh or any Festival voice to be usable on Windows. We hope that these contributions are of great help and can be improved upon with the aid of Welsh language and international open source communities.
Text to speech technologies are now commonly used in mobile apps, websites and desktop applications to improve user experience and understanding. Today we are pleased to launch an API service that will make it possible for anybody to insert Welsh text to speech technologies into their websites and software.
Using the open source Festival Speech Synthesis System, and a Welsh language speech model we previously created our new web API makes it easy to automatically convert any Welsh text into audio in realtime. This cloud service needs no setup on the user’s side making it instantly widely accessible and available to all.
Below, you can find an example of how this voice could be inserted into this page, with only one line of code!
You can get started with the API today by signing up to our API Centre and creating your API key.
To learn more see our Speech Technologies pages.