September 22, 2010
SSML’s VoiceXML Now to Support Asian Languages
By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The World Wide Web Consortium, according to Dr. Dobb’s World of Software Development, has “extended speech on the Web with support for Asian languages and multi-lingual voice applications.” This would be the Speech Synthesis Markup Language which has been extended to Asian languages.
“Recommendation provides control over voice selection as well as speech characteristics such as pronunciation, volume, and pitch,” the good Dr. Dobb reports, adding that “SSML is part ofW3C’s ( News – Alert) Speech Interface Framework for building voice applications, which also includes the widely deployed VoiceXML and the Pronunciation Lexicon (for providing speech engines guidance on proper pronunciation).”
Dan Burnett, co-chair of the Voice Browser Working Group and Director of Speech Technologies and Standards at Voxeo (News – Alert), said with SSML 1.1 “there is an intentional focus on Asian language support, including Chinese languages, Japanese, Thai, Urdu, and others, to provide a wide deployment potential. With SSML 1.0 we already had strong traction in North America and western Europe, so this focus makes SSML 1.1 incredibly strong globally. We are really pleased to have many collaborators in China, in particular, focusing on SSML improvements and iterations.”
Dr. Dobb says the multi-lingal enhancements in this version of SSML “result from discussions at W3C Workshops held in China, Greece, and India. SSML 1.1 also provides application designers greater control over voice selection and handling of content in unexpected languages.”
Estimates suggest that around 85 percent of IVR systems deployed in North America and Western Europe use VoiceXML (News – Alert) and SSML. That being the case, Dr. Dobb says the new version of SSML “will open significant new markets, thanks to the improved support for non-Western European languages.”
A number of North American and European vendors of text-to-speech products have indicated they expect to support SSML 1.1 within the coming year, Dr. Dobb says.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Juliana Kenny http://www.tmcnet.com/tmcnet/columnists/columnist.aspx?id=100384