Text to speech (TTS) technology has come a long way in recent years, and it has played a vital role in making information accessible to people with visual impairments, learning disabilities, and other disabilities. However, for TTS technology to be truly inclusive, it must go beyond simply converting text to speech. In this blog, we will explore some of the key elements of inclusiveness in text to speech.
1. Accurate Pronunciation and Intonation
One of the most critical elements of inclusiveness in TTS is accurate pronunciation and intonation. TTS must be able to accurately pronounce words and phrases from different languages, dialects, and accents, and convey the appropriate intonation and stress for the message to be conveyed effectively. For example, a TTS system that pronounces words differently from how they are commonly spoken can be confusing and frustrating for the listener.
2. Multiple Voices
Another key element of inclusiveness in TTS is the availability of multiple voices. Different people have different preferences when it comes to the sound of the voice they listen to, and TTS systems should offer a variety of voices to choose from. Additionally, TTS systems should also offer voices that are gender-neutral or non-binary, to avoid excluding individuals who do not identify with the traditional male or female gender binary.
3. Speed Control
Another essential aspect of inclusiveness in TTS is the ability to control the speed at which the text is read out loud. People have different reading speeds and preferences, and TTS systems must offer the flexibility to adjust the speed of the audio output to match the individual’s pace. For example, some individuals may need more time to process information and may prefer a slower reading speed, while others may prefer a faster reading speed.
4. Emphasis on Punctuation and Formatting
Inclusiveness in TTS also requires that the system places emphasis on punctuation and formatting. This ensures that the meaning of the text is conveyed accurately, and the listener can understand the intended emphasis and pauses. For example, a TTS system that does not distinguish between a question and a statement can be confusing for the listener.
5. Compatibility with Assistive Technology
Finally, inclusiveness in TTS requires compatibility with assistive technology. TTS should work seamlessly with screen readers, refreshable braille displays, and other assistive technologies to ensure that individuals with visual impairments and other disabilities can access information effectively. Additionally, TTS should be designed with accessibility in mind, ensuring that it is compatible with different platforms, devices, and operating systems.
In conclusion, inclusiveness in text to speech is crucial to ensuring that individuals with disabilities and diverse backgrounds can access information effectively. TTS must go beyond simply converting text to speech and should incorporate accurate pronunciation, multiple voices, speed control, emphasis on punctuation and formatting, and compatibility with assistive technology. As technology continues to evolve, it is essential to ensure that inclusiveness remains a central focus, ensuring that everyone can access information and participate fully in society.