March 20, 2009

Customizing Text to Speech Pronounciations

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Adobe Captivate 4 has come up with a new feature “Text To Speech” which is really a key feature for any rapid authoring tool. It includes a male voice and a female voice which provides a nice natural speech. But have you ever encountered a situation where, your Speech Agent does not pronounce the word as you want it to? We have a solution.

‘Text To Speech Dictionary’ is the functionality you should look for. Today we provide you a basic demo of how to make Text to Speech alter the pronunciations.

Actually its very simple. If you have installed Text to Speech Utility and Captivate 4, then a tool called ‘Text to Speech Dictionary’ is available at \Program Files\adobe\Adobe Captivate 4\VT\\M16\bin. Reach the location and look for “UserDicEng.exe”

Double click the EXE and it will launch ‘English User Dictionary Editor”. Now follow the below steps in order to change the pronunciation of any particular word.

1. Click File Open and point it to the dictionary file. It is located at -
\Program Files\adobe\Adobe Captivate 4\VT\\M16\data-common\userdict\
2. This directory will store the word you enter along with its new pronunciation
3. Click “Add word” and enter the ‘original word’. e.g ‘Jimmy’
4. Now enter the ‘target word’, i.e. the corrected pronunciation using the alphabets or the Pronunciation Symbol.
5. At any point of time, you can click ‘Read Word’ and listen to your pronunciation of the new word (target word). If not satisfied, you can edit the target word and listen to it once again.
6. Once the word is ready with the new pronunciation, just click ‘File Save’ and the new word along with its pronunciation is saved. It will be used by the particular speech Agent inside Captivate.

To use the the new pronunciation inside Captivate, just use the ‘original word’ and convert ‘text to speech’. The newly created pronunciation will be used and audio file will be created. A captivate movie describing these steps is attached below (turn up your speaker volume).

Do try this functionality which allows you to create much more personalized and natural speeches. Please share your experiences and observations with us.

 

var addthis_pub=”shameerayyappan”;

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);

document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src=’” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

try {

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-7747520-1″);

pageTracker._trackPageview();

} catch(err) {}

Posted by Mukul Vinay Lele6:58 PM
  • Tim Lucas

    As I have a full licence of Cp4 is there any reason I get a message about ‘This version is for demo purposes only…” and then something about ‘…obtaining a commercial licence…”Nice feature to know about…Tim

  • Steve Howard

    This is great!What I’d also like to do is change timing and inflection. It would be wonderful if we could add tags to the text that is to be converted to speech, so that extra pauses, add emphasis, or raised inflection for a question and other more natural effects could be added to the generated audio.e.g.Do you think that John’s oldest son is a painter?I figure that if I add new custome words to the dictionary, I could fake it, but it would be great if we could use html-style tagging.Steve

  • http://blogs.adobe.com/captivate Shameer Ayyappan

    Hi Tim,I guess you are referring to the message heard when trying ‘read’ing this in the dictionary. If so, that’s something we overlooked and need to fix.Regards,Shameer AyyappanAdobe Captivate & eLearning Suite

  • http://www.sctc.edu James Falkofske

    I am having a similar problem in which our campus purchased the full Captivate 4 package, and I am getting messages from the voice UserDicEng.exe and the vt_eng.exe programs that “demonstration only” and “your license has expired.” Since I use the phrase “learning content” a lot – I don’t want it pronounced “content – as in peaceful and relaxed.” (grin)

  • http://www.twitter.com/jem3315 Melissa

    Any updates on the “read” feature? I keep getting the “your license has expired” message when I click on “read”.

  • Mukul

    Hi James,Although the message ‘your license has expired’ appears in the UserDicEng.exe, still you can create your pronunciations. Once the pronunciation is saved, you can use it inside Captivate without having the ‘your license has expired’ message. Thus the license message appears only in the UserDicEng.exe and you can still use your modified words inside Captivate. Please try it.Regards,Mukul

  • Joe Harthcock

    I echo this — any word on an update? I understand that we can still use the functionality — but, we use a lot of specialized vocab (so, this is an excellent feature!!!). As such, we have to sit through the “expired” message A LOT.

  • Michae Laudone

    I’m sorry to see the Steve’s message hasn’t received an answer yet all of the licensing ones have.There ought to be a way to have the voice emphasise words with a tag. I think making special words in the dictionary is not very user friendly, but at least it is a way.Cheers,

  • Michae Laudone

    Okay, now I get all the licencing questions…yeah, I’ve paid for this thing, I shouldn’t get these nastygrams from the programme.

  • Joe

    Not having luck. I’ve added a word to Paul’s dictionary, tweaked the pronunciation to the way I like and saved the file. But, when I use the word in Captivate and “convert text to speech”, it persists in not using my tweaked pronunciation.Has anyone had any luck with modifying pronunciations?

  • Mukul

    Hi Joe,Just make sure you do few things correctly -1. Once new word is saved in the dictionary, please close Captivate 4 completely and launch again.2. If the word is created in ‘Paul’ dictionary, please use the same Speech Agent inside Captivate. Word added for one speech agent cannot be used by another speech agent.Regards,Mukul

  • Joe

    OK — I got it to work. Previously, I had Captivate open, tweaked a word, restarted Captivate — all to no avail.What I just did was tweak the work WHILE CAPTIVATE WAS CLOSED. Then, I opened Captivate, put in the tweaked word, converted to speech and…Ta-Da! It worked!Still, I HATE having to listed to Kate and Paul tell me (erroneously) that I don’t have a valid version of the application!!!.

  • Russ Engoran

    Not sure what I am doing wrong, but I still cannot get Captivate to do any text-to-speech conversion differently.I have tried all sorts of combinations of editing the dictionary with captivate both open and closed with no luck.Even if I modify an entry that already exists in the user dictionary, captivate will not pick up any changes.Please help.

  • Mike

    I found that I had to change the user dictionary for both Kate and Paul for it to work with Paul.

  • Anne Barrett

    I am having the same issue as Russ. I’ve also tried all the combinations of Captivate open/closed when editing the dictionary, to no avail. Kate simply will not change the way she pronounces my word. Any ideas?

  • Jess

    I am having a real issue with Adobe Captivate and the Text-to-Speech function. It randomly copies text from one slide and puts it on other slides. I’ve deleted the wrong text from the timeline, from the text-to-speech window. I even wiped out my entire library of audio clips just to get rid of the stinking text. I delete EVERYTHING. Then I save. Then I close down the program and start again. When I go into speech management, the text is still there. This is really driving me crazy. I can’t get any work done and my boss is getting frustrated. Anybody know how to fix this persistent glitch? Help please!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kenneth

    Cool feature. I like it.One issue that I can see cropping up is that if Subject Matter Experts, like me, do the initial Captivate captures, fill in the slide notes, and edit the pronunciations dictionary, but then pass our projects on to the Documentation team Captivate experts to do the finishing work, then the SMEs must remember to also pass along their edited dictionary in case the Text needed to be changed. If these Finishers already have their own edited dictionary, there should probably be a merge tool.Also, it seems kind of a pain that I have to edit and send pronunciation dictionaries for each voice.Still, I like it so far. Also, I too vote for a way to indicate pauses (less than a comma and more than a comma) and inflections.

  • Mark

    Looks like you do have to change the pronunciation for both Paul and Kate. Thanks for the suggestion.Anyone know when a patch will be out for the annoying license prompts?

  • Jen

    Adobe just posted a fix for the errors with the licence. The post is at:http://blogs.adobe.com/rjacquez/2009/07/licensing_error_fix_in_adobe_c.html

  • Laftonio

    Hi! i’m new to captivate. i would like to use these feature but i need in spanish. Is there any dictionary or voice specially for spanish?Thanks

  • Lawrence Pierce

    I downloaded the updated user dictionary apps and ran one of them for Kate. There was no message regarding licensing, so all seemed to be going well. However, after attempting to add a single word and saving, I found that upon the next run of the dictionary editor, it stated that “such words are skipped” and my new word does not appear in the dictionary after all. By the way, the word is “keyframe” and I entered it as “key frame” in the target box for pronunciation.

  • MFriend

    I had the same problem as Lawrence Pierce, but after deleting the words I had added to the dictionary using the “case-insensitive” option, the dictionary now loads properly. It seems, in my iteration of the English User Dictionary Editor, that the case-insensitive option is not working properly.

  • http://www.thelearnspanish.com Learn to Speak Spanish

    This post is great. Thank you for this post. I like these type of people who share knowledge with others, free of charge too ;)

  • Gail

    What file (or files) do you need to copy to pass your edited dictionary on to other people? Thanks!

  • Bruce Ullman

    How about some instruction on how to use the pronunciation symbols and a way to change the accent to another syllable? Could use underlining or capitalization.

  • Bruce Ullman

    How can you use Text-to-Speech to change the accent (emphasis) from one syllable to another? For example, the acronym OSHA always come out “oh SHAH” when it should be “OH shah.”

  • Jesse

    I know people haven’t posted in here in like 7 months time, but for anyone wanting to know how to change the accent, after you’ve created the pronounciation of the word, open the userdic_eng.csv file in Excel, and you’ll see a few collums (i’m using Captivate 5) there is an example in there which says “V OY1 S W EH2 R [CI]” which is for “voiceware”.

    The numbers in here are the accents.

    0 = no accent
    1 = primary accent
    2 = secondary accent

    That’s really all i know, but i played around with it and it seems to work.

    The one i made says “Centrelink” which i changed to “S EH0 N T AH0 L IH0 NG K [CI]”

    Notice all the 0’s… you’d change these numbers to accent the part you want it, so “EH1″ would put an accent on the E in cEnterlink…

    I think this only works is you use the pronounciation option rather than the alphabetical option in the UserDicEng.exe

    I hope this helps people!

    • Kmatson0003

      Thanks so much for sharing Jesse!!

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