An amazing project is looking for people who talk with an Orcadian accent to help deliver automated voices to those with impaired speech. Synthetic voices can be produced with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), however, many users feel that their identity becomes lost when they have such a limited choice of voices to choose from.
The ultimate aim of the project is to have a bank of voices where people can record their own voice before it becomes too impaired. Recording the reading of 400 sentences can allow a voice bank to be made. From this the donor voice is mixed with the recording to produce a closer fit with the original voice. This gives a base from which the synthetic voice can be generated.
With 1200 donor voices already recorded the project has made excellent progress, however, many more are needed. To become a voice donor you must be:
- 16 or over
- a native speaker of English
- and not have any reading or speech difficulties.
To volunteer or to find out more about becoming a voice donor contact ‘The Voice Bank Research Project’ http://www.speakunique.org/#contact
This multidisciplinary project is a team effort, with clinical researchers from the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research working with speech scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Speech Technology Research.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame