W3C Extends Speech Framework to Asian Languages

W3C recently opened its India office, in order to accelerate the  development of local web and has now announced extending SSML to Asian languages.

The Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML 1.1) Recommendation provides control over voice selection as well as speech characteristics such as pronunciation, volume, and pitch. SSML is part of W3C’s Speech Interface Framework for building voice applications, which also includes the widely deployed VoiceXML and the Pronunciation Lexicon (for providing speech engines guidance on proper pronunciation).

"With SSML 1.1 there is an intentional focus on Asian language support, including Chinese languages, Japanese, Thai, Urdu, and others, to provide a wide deployment potential – source

New features included in 1.1 are

  • Improved lexicon activation control
  • Better linkage with PLS lexicons
  • Introduction of a Pronunciation Alphabet Registry to allow use of standardized pinyin, jyutping, and other language-specific pronunciation alphabets in addition to the IPA default
  • New <w> element for marking word boundaries
  • Improved author control of behavior upon xml:lang/voice selection mismatch
  • Clearer separation between xml:lang (document text content) and voice selection

SSML 1.1 Supports

  • Token/word boundaries
  • Phonetic alphabets
  • Tones
  • Part of Speech support
  • Text w/multiple languages (separate control of xml:lang and voice)
  • Subword annotation (partial)
  • Syllable-level markup (partial)

VoiceXML Competition : VoicePHP

Also see: Indian Domain Names Approved by ICANN

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