July 29, 2010

Suggestions for optimal use of the Text to speech engine

Captivate 4 introduced text to speech (TTS) technology in Rapid eLearning authoring. Given the adoption and feedback, in Captivate 5 we’ve introduced more voices. Tweaking these voices seem to be one of the most discussed topics on our forums. There were a couple of blog posts last year on tweaking the Captivate 4 voices (VTML tags, User dictionary). These continue to be applicable in Captivate 5 for the NeoSpeech voices. Our other partner, Loquendo, also offers the ability to insert commands in the input text to modify the way words are pronounced. In the next week, we will have a few posts detailing this. But prior to that, here are some best practices to follow when using text-to-speech:

The TTS process exploits only a subset of the complex knowledge base on which a human reader implicitly relies. While it can access grammatical and phonetic knowledge, the artificial system does not come to a true comprehension of the text, lacking the necessary semantic and pragmatic skills. This is why the system cannot deal with ambiguous or misspelled text, nor give different emotional colors to its voices according to text semantics. The system tries to pronounce exactly what is written, applying the standard orthographic conventions for interpreting characters, symbols, numbers, word sentence delimiters and punctuation. The cues to a proper intonation are mainly punctuation marks and syntactic relationships between words.

This means that the best synthesis results will be obtained with well-formed sentences, correct and standard orthography, unambiguous contexts and rich and appropriate punctuation. If you are able to prepare or select in advance the texts that will be fed into the TTS system, then the main rule to follow is: “Write texts according to the standard orthographic and grammatical rules of the language”

Loquendo suggests that you keep to the following simple guidelines:

  • Spell words carefully (using the correct character set for the language)
  • Use capital letters when grammatically appropriate and apply standard conventions for representing numbers and abbreviations
  • Separate words according to the standard orthographic conventions (insert blanks between words and after punctuation marks, when appropriate)
  • Avoid ambiguities
  • Write short sentences with correct syntactic structure
  • Insert punctuation marks frequently and carefully
Posted by Shameer Ayyappan5:22 PM
  • richard

    Can adobe captivate 5 create an electronic flash cards ? E.G flash cards to teach English speakers a second language which includes interactive: sounds, pictures, questions and answers, matching and crossword games.

  • shraddha

    plz help me!

    I want to bypass the process of manual recording for all the text captions.
    I found the option where slide notes can be made audible.but how to go about making Caption text audible?

    I have to use SWF of the captivate file which ultimately be linked to an LMS

    TIA

    • http://blogs.adobe.com/captivate/ Allen Partridge

      Shradda, right now this function can only be done by recording via the notes to tts option and then moving / re-associating the audio recordings with the text caption. Here’s the process.
      1. Add the text of the caption to the notes on the slide.
      2. Enable TTS on the notes.
      3. Press the TTS button.
      4. Select a voice in the TTS dialog and chose generate voice.
      5. now save and go back to the slide.
      6. click on slide audio and delete the audio.
      7. Select a text caption.
      8. Select Add audio: Then chose library: Now chose the recording you just deleted from the slide (TTS) it is still available in the library.
      Repeat as needed.

  • Cheryl

    What if I have voices like Simon, already purchased from Loquendo. Does this still work?

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