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Apr 12, 2001
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nuance_lion_voices.jpg



Last month, we noted that Apple had integrated a number of new text-to-speech voices from Nuance in OS X Lion. While the voices themselves were not yet able to be installed in the Lion developer preview, samples available online demonstrated the significantly improved quality over existing voice options in Snow Leopard.

Several users working with the latest OS X Lion developer preview version released earlier this week following the WWDC keynote have reported, however, that the voices can now be installed.

Apple has been reported to have been working on a deal with Nuance to include some of the company's speech recognition technology in iOS 5 and in its new North Carolina data center. And while no Nuance-related announcements were made at WWDC earlier this week, sources have indicated that such integration may still be coming.

Apple and Nuance have a bit of an existing relationship via Siri, a company focused on virtual personal assistant software that was acquired by Apple last year. That application has been powered by Nuance technology, and integration of Nuance voices into Lion may signal an increased collaboration between the two companies.

Article Link: Nuance Text-to-Speech Voices Now Active in OS X Lion Beta
 

Peteman100

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2011
311
0
Berkeley, CA
I've never really been sold on the usefulness of text-to-speech functionality. What are scenarios where it would bring some advantage? Maybe I just havent seen it implemented in a good way.
 
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xUKHCx

Administrator emeritus
Jan 15, 2006
12,583
7
The Kop
I've never really been sold on the usefulness of text-to-speech functionality. What are scenarios where it would bring some advantage? Maybe I just havent seen it implemented in a good way.

I have used it to proof read documents to me, it is really quite a good way to spot mistakes or odd turns of phrase.

Also very useful for those with limited eyesight.
 
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DaveDaveDave

macrumors member
Nov 17, 2006
96
0
I've never really been sold on the usefulness of text-to-speech functionality. What are scenarios where it would bring some advantage? Maybe I just havent seen it implemented in a good way.

I hear it works pretty nicely for the blind ;) YMMV of course :p
 
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rezzo

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2006
165
14
Chile
What are the names of the new voices (from Nuance)? any to recommend in english?
 
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lazyrighteye

macrumors 68020
Jan 16, 2002
2,121
973
Denver, CO
I've never really been sold on the usefulness of text-to-speech functionality. What are scenarios where it would bring some advantage? Maybe I just havent seen it implemented in a good way.

I'm a new father. So now on weekends, my hands (and eyes) are pretty tied up with lil' man. Where I used to sit and read on those mornings, I now use TTS to read to me whilst my hands/eyes are needed elsewhere. And it's actually pretty nice. Completely usable. Sure, improved voices (more natural?) are welcomed. But overall, I find it an effective use of TTS.

Curious to hear others' uses...

I have used it to proof read documents to me, it is really quite a good way to spot mistakes or odd turns of phrase.

Hmm, interesting. :)


Thanks, Doc, for the merge.
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
I've never really been sold on the usefulness of text-to-speech functionality. What are scenarios where it would bring some advantage? Maybe I just havent seen it implemented in a good way.

Some major uses, from most important to least important:

* Prank calls

* Hearing the actual error dialog from the next room, instead of just hearing a chime and wondering what’s wrong until you can break away and go check (I love this ability)

* Vision-impaired users

* Any app that gives instructions while you do something: driving directions, obviously, but also reading a recipe or set of steps

* Pretending you are on Star Trek

* Hearing pronunciation for a language you do not speak

* Pretending you have human contact in your life

* Enabling it on a friend’s machine to scare them

* Making little voice clips for home-made games, videos, songs or ringtones (I’ve done that, usually with a cheap mic, but I think OS X may have a way—screen recorder?—to dump straight to audio file without third-party tools)

* Showing off

* Hearing something you’ve written for proofing (never thought of that until someone just posted it!)
 
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IzzyJG99

macrumors 6502
Oct 26, 2007
336
6
Some major uses, from most important to least important:
* Pretending you are on Star Trek

That's basically why everyone I know who uses voice to text or text to voice on their computers....cause they want to be like Star Trek. I have one friend who just got an iPhone 4 and he no longer makes phone calls like normal people. Yanno with numbers and buttons. He holds down that home button and says "Call..." and then he makes some stupid Jean Luc Picard joke....it's embarassing.
 
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milo

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2003
6,888
518
I've never really been sold on the usefulness of text-to-speech functionality. What are scenarios where it would bring some advantage? Maybe I just havent seen it implemented in a good way.

What about the ability to listen to long text documents while you're driving the car? Seems like improved versions of this functionality could inspire new apps specifically for hands free navigation of content like RSS and other news.
 
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Solowalker

macrumors regular
Feb 13, 2008
114
0
There's also the Service that can send text as speech to iTunes as a track (not on my Mac so I can't give the exact verbiage or screenshot). This can make all kinds of uses such as those mentioned already even more useful because you can sync them to your iDevice and not need your Mac to play them. Especially useful for making your own audiobook or new program.
 
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Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,349
619
The Cool Part of CA, USA
I've never really been sold on the usefulness of text-to-speech functionality. What are scenarios where it would bring some advantage? Maybe I just havent seen it implemented in a good way.
I have a throat disorder and couldn't speak for about a year and a half, during which time my MBP and the built-in text-to-speech doing a Stephen Hawking impression was the only way I could functionally communicate without someone looking over my shoulder and reading what I was typing, which doesn't work at all with a group of people. I only wish these voices had been built-in at the time; I didn't have the money to pay for the better voices, and that was before even the current best built-in voices, so I really did sound like Stephen Hawking.

And then of course there's the famous scientist himself, who has been relying on the same technology to communicate with the world for years.
 
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L-U-R-C-H

macrumors regular
Mar 3, 2007
179
153
Des Moines, Iowa
So that when you're driving, instead of trying to type a text message, you can just talk and it'll turn what you say into text. Fewer accidents that way. :cool:
 
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RonD69

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2008
83
7
Sms

What about the ability to listen to long text documents while you're driving the car? Seems like improved versions of this functionality could inspire new apps specifically for hands free navigation of content like RSS and other news.

In states where texting is illegal while driving, an enhancement would be to have incoming text message converted to voice. And then respond to the text message by dictating into the phone or a bluetooth mic and have that converted to text to send out. This doesn't need to be another app; it can be incorporated into the Messages app.
 
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blow45

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2011
1,576
0
kindle's text to speech is pretty good, makes for a good listen to books, but os x's native one is pretty sub far for sure.
 
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Analog Kid

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2003
5,721
4,429
First, I think the reason we didn't see more speech stuff in the keynote is because those features of iOS 5 won't be available on current hardware.

So, can I use the German voices to speak English with an accent? That would be awesome!

As to the debate about the value of text-to-speech, I think people are too caught up in the "text" part-- this isn't about selecting a bunch of text and choosing "speak selection". That ability is critically important as an assistive technology, but there are many other uses that the majority of users could reap from this that require better voices to make tolerable.

Nagromme had a good list, but it has the potential to change how we interact with our devices. I'd like my computers to be able to tell me who an incoming email is from so I don't need to go and look. It would be nice if my computer could nicely remind me of an upcoming appointment. There are a number of applications I'd like to be able to interact with by voice, ranging from iTunes, to home automation, to office applications.

Most of this requires both speech recognition and voice feedback, and one of the main reasons I don't even try the existing voice capabilities is that I find the computer voices really unpleasant to listen to. Apple needs to make improvements on both ends of the system in my opinion.
 
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AustiSo

macrumors newbie
Jul 16, 2010
5
0
Greater Boston
In regards to iOS

I noticed a somewhat better sounding computer voice using VoiceOver on my iPhone 4 after installing iOS 5. I don't need to use it for anything other than I'm lazy and don't like to find my contacts or I'm driving and I don't want to look down to find someone's name to call.

It pronounces words better and sounds somewhat better. Also, it can even simulate punctuation better such as when I just say a name and it has multiple numbers, and it asks me which one to use.

Looking forward to see what else VoiceOver can do in the near future and in the future of both iOS and OS X.
 
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cocacolakid

macrumors 65816
Dec 18, 2010
1,108
20
Chicago
I've never really been sold on the usefulness of text-to-speech functionality. What are scenarios where it would bring some advantage? Maybe I just havent seen it implemented in a good way.

Blind/Vision Impaired.
Free audiobooks of your eBooks!
Imagine having your own personal news anchor read you the daily news articles while you do other things, like make a meal, etc.
Proofreading, as someone else said, would be invaluable.
 
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wackymacky

macrumors 68000
Sep 20, 2007
1,536
47
38°39′20″N 27°13′10″W
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

Apart from the blind I though that this was just a feature you fired up once or twice after you installed a new OS for fun, then left it to gather dust.
 
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Force10

macrumors newbie
Aug 21, 2010
29
16
I have used it to proof read documents to me, it is really quite a good way to spot mistakes or odd turns of phrase.

Also very useful for those with limited eyesight.

Same for me on the proof reading but the existing voices are very irritating after a while. looking forward to the updates.
 
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Panu

macrumors regular
Mar 31, 2005
102
0
Virginia suburbs of DC
Don't have a use for this?

No one is required to use all the features of the operating system, just like you are not required to watch all the television shows on your cable. Those features increase the number of people who can use the operating system, which increases its market share, which increases the variety of software that is available to you. You benefit from this feature even if you never use it.
 
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