The role of voice donors
One of the key elements of the voicebank project is the creation of a catalogue of healthy voices with a wide variety of accents and voice identities. This voice catalogue plays a central role in the building process of the synthetic voice clones for patients and in the voice repair process. The recordings of voice donors started in June 2011 and more than 500 donors were recorded by December 2012, with this number increasing continuously. The voice catalogue already offers wide coverage of the regional accents across the UK, allowing the creation of synthetic voices that match the different age, gender and accents of patients.
The recordings take place in a soundproof room in order to ensure a very high quality of collected speech data. Each donor is asked to read out a text script and is recorded for about one hour. The text material used for the recordings differs from one speaker to the other in order to optimise phonetic coverage. The voice recording and donor's personal information are kept securely on an NHS approved system, in Edinburgh University. Only the core members of the research team are able to access the donor's personal data.