Speech synthesis has come on a long way since the days of this device :)
Feedback sent to Cepstral, and their amazing voice lawrence :
How much time and labour does it take to create a new voice roughly ?
What price would you be talking, to generate a voice like Lawrence ?
I think lawrence is very good but still has a little non neutral bias in there, if you ever come to create a truly neutral clear english voice, I’d be interested to try out. Also strange in testing the demo, that millie is capable of pronouncing the word “barn” but lawrence is not.
These pronunciation errata can obviously be corrected through misspelling the word until the speech voice gets it right, I guess a way of leveraging these pronunciation corrections, would be a pronunciation correction interface bring-able up on screen by hotkey, that would in realtime send a pronunciation corrective word translation back to a central database at cepstral to then be shared via update with all users ? such that all share the benefits of community labour towards improving the pronunciation dictionary of the voices.
Great work why do Apple not licence the voices from you ? As the system speech synthesis voices have not reached the phase of being bearable to listen to, in comparison to the Audio version of a book say. And also I dont think speech synthesis technology can ever reach its potential unlees the best quality voices are guarantee-ably usable from with any of the mainstream operating systems. Much like say Helvetica as a font, can be relied upon to be available on almost any computer.
When like photo-real photoshop composites, people cannot tell the difference between a voice artist reading the book in audio form and the speech synthesis voice of that same artist reading it, then I guess speech synthesis will truly have arrived as a medium. this ideal is probably like chasing a rainbow in terms of complexity involved with speech timing patterns but hopefully one day. Good luck with your endeavour’s.
An extended response to a comment I made about this article in the “femail” ! section of the dailymail, written by two “mail colleagues” (see we can all wordplay … wretch) perhaps responding in a lack lustre way, to defend a fellow columnist Liz Jones.
Hmm people, who bring the gains of a city existence & buy up the tranquility of wilder places, & are then distressed that those who live their, can’t identify with them ? I guess it doesn’t require a great deal of imagination to be a journalist, and the imagination, that it does require, by the lazy will be spent on presenting the inflammatory or the rosehip hip itch down the back, kneejerk kind of journalism designed to offend for the sake of sales. Liz Jones failing to see that such types as herself are rarely liked by locals, is an almost darling lack of foresight. In Most situations in the world people who live in one location to exploit an economic boon, and then move to another location where that financial gain from the first location can yield an even better situation, are rarely approved of, except in cultures like america, not everyone … lives their lives to maximally exploit every situation to their own advantage.
The natives on both sides of this equation, ie those who do not trade situations purely for their own advantage, tend to dislike the fickle lack of loyalty displayed by those who do. Not many country people can identify with those who have a gardener, or who deliberatly slip in the amount they pay for wine, or who title a book “how i lost a husband and found rural bliss” as though its a fair exchange or even something that can be tastefully weighed against each other ? Bringing in 850 bales all by yourself ? or is the unwritten labour & help of others complicit in most personal triumphs ? ego & money generally brings isolation, and that coterie of people that is often found around rich people, rarely express their true feelings to such a person, and as most human creatures, are fully capable of being civil to such types who employ them, whilst at the same time holding some a high level of contempt, in the back of their mind.
And I think to most peoples minds employing people by using their labour cannot as yet, be tallied as a form of charitable distribution, and nor do such people who are employed rarely feel obliged or grateful for it, in a tug forelock sense of the word any longer thank god. Also no doubt students you help into jobs must generally succeed on talent, once you have helped with the social grease of obtaining them an interview, unless the world is so unjust, to indicate as we all suspect that really its about who we know, who they know and the third pride-less element of whose ass were good at kissing in a feudal sense.
Likewise phoning in distress from an exotic destination, about something which is genuinely upsetting, to a collection of ones labourers and a “femail” police officer (I know its gratuitous but hey the dailymail started it lol) tends to engender less sympathy, than being their in person on the scene, As those of certain classes still look down on those whose work lifestyle involves trans-atlantic travel. No doubt the police will have failed to highlight, exactly how low their chances are of finding the culprit/culprits concerned. Certainly any person has a right to be worried about it, but your emotions on this matter seem as robust as the offense you seem to have caused to some of the wider community you have joined, but I think you are wise to not let such intimidatory behaviour get to you.
Living happily in an area, is sometimes not just about having the money to buy a place, its also more often than not, about having an ability to identify with the people youv’e chosen to live amongst, as under the modern structures of culture today, poor people still seek the stability of tribalism, though coming from the isolatory bankrupt culture of London, I can understand your perception of money as being the prime requisite, yet most people actually rather despise it, for it seems to have bartered the common sense of identity away from people, for a shallow enslavement to some bland form of endless economically obsessed consumerism, at the cost of the things people eventually realise later in life they really need. And the supposed economic benefit of the last 40 years seems to have actually resulted in an greater disparity between the rich and the poor, such great divisions will never be healthy in any culture. You will probably find that those who have taken a disliking to you in that community, are probably divided into two groups.
Group A: The hunting shooting classes who wished that you had courted their approval upon arrival, as most rich arrivals did 40 years before.
Group B: The local born and bred who cannot afford the basics of a home in the area you have chosen to live (quite likely in the employ of the feudally landed from Group A), due to the “London Types” disenfranchising them, whether real or imaginary in your observance of the situation.
As for your assertion that perhaps if you were a posh young man, this wouldn’t have happened, I think that almost has the feint whiff of feminist paranoia, my perception would be this scenario is probably more about disparity of wealth and the disenfrachised in your local vicinity showing their displeasure, or perhaps your views on the hunting lifestyle, has won you some hotblooded gun wielding detractors, The scatter pattern looks close range to me, did the police search for pellets nearby ?
Truth is people are generally not keen on seeing others around them who have obtained a lifestyle thats is say ten times in scale their own small lifetime aspirations they perceive no chance in attaining. It is this disparity of situation, which causes most afront to the emotions of others, and truly peoples time and labour should not be worth such dramatically different amounts of reward, that such disparity can occur in the first place. That “American dream” of extreme wealth and making it, so rarely attempts to publicise the vast casualty’s of such agregious social propaganda.
Though mainly in the culture today it is the governments lack of penaliseation over multiple house ownership, and the monopoly-esque buy to let scenario that left unchecked has rocketed house prices to unearthly levels, that has seen so many driven to dis-enfranchisement and the extreme polarisation of people viewpoints in culture today. This is further tarnished by a lack of foresight from people whos perspective of power is fundamentally over-privileged, and cripples them from seeing things from the outsiders perspective, unless it is to empathise with the foreign poor we import to increase housing and services pressure even further on the native poor.