[OSM-talk] handling street names in speech

Lester Caine lester at lsces.uk
Wed Jul 17 08:12:32 UTC 2019

On 17/07/2019 08:29, Jo wrote:
> Unfortunately TTS is not perfect and it never will be, for one thing 
> because it's often difficult to decide with TTS (which language) to use 
> for each word in a name string.

For many years I used a TTS engine called Rhetorical on a caller 
management system we supplied. It was used to allow calling people by 
name rather than ticket number ... we will ignore the privacy debate ... 
there was a general consensus that at that time the personal style was 
better. The nice thing about Rhetorical was that even without any help 
it did a better job pronouncing foreign surnames and some of the staff 
did ;) It also had a very good mechanism for adding improvements to 
words when there was any particularly obvious mispronunciation. In 
addition selection of a different 'output language' worked well, 
possibly because the company involved was based in Scotland, and the 
clarity of Scottish pronunciation worked well. We had already had to 
re-work the older 'English' segmented announcements using a Scottish 
voice because of complaints ... but perhaps the main point here is that 
this was providing THE SAME English text!

Rhetorical was bought up by an American company and essentially dropped, 
but I think CereProc is using the same engine and a large range of 
'voices' are available on Android ... if only OSMAnd could access them :(

Text to Speech rendering is exactly the same problem as tile rendering 
and adding tagging for particular processes will always be wrong. The 
real problem is that there is no mechanism to add corrections in a 
secondary system in much the same way as there is no translation system 
for the key English elements of the data. Even IPA strings depend on the 
context and accent that is being vocalised!

Lester Caine - G8HFL
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