Tutorial at ISCSLP 2010

Simon and I will give a tutorial at ISCSLP 2010 held in Taiwan on 29th November.


New and emerging applications of speech synthesis

Until recently, text-to-speech was often just an 'optional extra' which allowed text to be read out loud. But now, thanks to statistical and machine learning approaches, speech synthesis can mean more than just the reading out of text in a predefined voice. New research areas and more interesting applications are emerging.

In this tutorial, after a quick overview of the basic approaches to statistical speech synthesis including speaker adaptation, we consider some of these new applications of speech synthesis. We look behind each application at the underlying techniques used and describe the scientific advances that have made them possible. The applications we will examine include personalised speech-to-speech translation, 'robust speech synthesis' (the making thousands of different voices automatically from imperfect data), clinical applications such as voice reconstruction of patients who have disordered speech, and articulatory-controllable statistical speech synthesis.

The really interesting problems still to be solved in speech synthesis go beyond simply improving 'quality' or 'naturalness' (typically measured using Mean Opinion Scores). The key problem of personalised speech-to-speech translation is to reproduce or transfer speaker characteristics across languages. The aim of robust speech synthesis is to create good quality synthetic speech from noisy and imperfect data. The core problems in voice reconstruction centre around retaining or reconstructing the original characteristics of patients, given only samples of their disordered speech.

We illustrate our multidisciplinary approach to speech synthesis, bringing in techniques and knowledge from ASR, speech enhancement and speech production in order to develop the techniques required for these new applications. We will conclude by attempting to predict some future directions of speech synthesis.

See you in Taiwan!