Skip to Main Content
Discusses how speech synthesis, the production of intelligible speech from computer data, is no longer a novelty. Text-to-speech products with unlimited vocabulary are available as automated readers for the blind, and in the next two years they will be incorporated into telephone-based inquiry systems that will give users access to data bases from any phone. Though these devices do not yet have fully natural-sounding speech, their quality is improving rapidly. Speech chips with limited vocabulary are already at a quality level comparable to that of tape recorders. They can create phrases from 200 or 300 preselected words and are rapidly moving into all applications where taped messages might be used. Such progress is based on the transformation of relatively slow and elaborate laboratory algorithms into fast and cheap commercial ones.