Voice Banking Technology
Supporting staff and students to achieve their full potential since 1968.
Welcome to our weekly CENMAC blog post.
Voice Banking Technology | by guest blogger Lynda Tomarelli
In this week’s blog post, CENMAC would like to draw your attention to voice banking technology and have invited guest blogger Lynda Tomarelli (Speech and Language Therapist from SpeakUnique) to describe the options available via their recently launched service.
SpeakUnique create personalised synthetic voices for use in communication aids, for people who have lost or will lose their speech due to a medical condition. For many communication aid users, the limited choice of pre–installed synthetic voices don’t reflect their identity, the accents of their friends and family or allow them to have their own individual voice. Recognising the importance of empowering communication aid users to live independent, fulfilled lives, we launched our new service in June 2020 allowing any English speakers, anywhere in the world to create their own voice through our voice banking service.
Voice banking is a term given to the process of recording your voice and using this recording to generate a personalised synthetic voice. This synthetic voice can then be used on a device, where it converts text to speech, allowing an individual to communicate with a voice that is identifiably their own.
Following years of research with the University of Edinburgh, we realised there was an unmet need for people to create a synthetic voice quickly and simply, and to also have an offering for people with impaired or unintelligible speech. We believe voice banking should be an option for everyone so that no matter the person’s speech needs, they can communicate in a voice they identify with.
Depending on the individuals’ speech needs, we offer three distinct voice banking services.
Our Voice Design service was created for those with no intelligible speech. We work collaboratively with these individuals to design a bespoke voice, which matches their desired accent, age and gender. They can nominate one or two family members or friends to be their voice donors, so these donors go through the recording process, and we use these recordings to design the synthetic voice. It will not sound like either donor, but will be a truly bespoke blend of voices. It is also possible for us to use high quality recordings to design a voice, provided the recordings are of the individual speaking alone, such as voice memos.
Voice Build is for those who have a medical diagnosis, but whose speech is not yet affected. Using just a 30 minute recording, completed through our website, we can create a synthetic replica of a voice.
For people whose speech is already affected by a medical condition, for example if they have slowness or slurring in their speech, we offer Voice Repair. We can repair these symptoms, so that the synthetic voice sounds like the individual, before their speech was affected.
To record a Voice Build or a Voice Repair, you’ll need an internet connection, a laptop or PC and a microphone that plugs into your computer. You will read aloud between 150 and 300 sentences, but recordings can be completed in smaller chunks if that’s easier.
You can listen to samples of our voices on our website here: www.speakunique.co.uk/our-voice-bank-services/listen-to-voice-samples
Our voices can be accessed through our SpeakUnique app, which is compatible with iOS and Android devices, through searching on the App Store or on Google Play. SpeakUnique voices can also be downloaded and used on Windows devices.
… we recognise that people who have speech difficulties, or those with no speech, should not be excluded from having a voice they identify with.
Voice banking is a term given to the process of recording your voice and using this recording to generate a personalised synthetic voice
SpeakUnique are pleased to offer high quality synthetic voices, created from short recordings, completed on our user-friendly website which offers tutorial videos and tips to make creating a voice easily accessible.
With our state of the art technology, developed within our multidisciplinary team, we recognise that people who have speech difficulties, or those with no speech, should not be excluded from having a voice they identify with. We are delighted that SpeakUnique voices are available to everyone, whatever their speech needs.
SpeakUnique would love to hear from you! Please send any enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to Lynda and the team at SpeakUnique. We hope you have enjoyed this feature.
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We are delighted that SpeakUnique voices are available to everyone, whatever their speech needs.