Speech Technology Magazine

 

Acapela Creates a Custom Voice for Norway's Transit System

Norwegian Jernbaneverket informs its passengers with its own exclusive voice, created by Acapela Transport.
Posted Feb 25, 2016
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Jernbaneverket, the Norwegian government agency for railway services, is informing its passengers with a custom text-to-speech program based on one of its employee's voice. Acapela Transport was involved in the internal casting, selection process, recordings, and creation of the tailor-made voice.

The custom voice will guide rail passengers in Norwegian while an English voice from the Acapela catalog will be available for international travelers.

"The creation of this custom voice has been a great challenge and achievement for Acapela Transport. The speaker's voice, which was selected following an internal casting of Jernbaneverket's employees, embodies a personal touch of the Norwegian National Rail Administration," said Lars-Erik Larsson, CEO of Acapela Group, in a statement.

In addition to regular Voice Factory development at Acapela, a specific evaluation process and transport-domain recordings were made using Acapela Transport's dedicated tools to restitute station names and passenger information for an enhanced user-experience.

In partnership with Funkwerk, which won a bid to supply a modern nationwide passenger information system to Jernbaneverket in 2014, 338 train stations will soon be using the Acapela voices to deliver real-time passenger information.

Jernbaneverket was actively involved in the quality process throughout the project. A specific lexicon tool has been provided by Acapela Transport to enable Jernbaneverket to add pronunciations of new station names and words, in both languages.

"Acapela Transport accompanied us the full way, step by step from the casting up to the recordings of the Jernbaneverket-specific corpus. Pleasant voices are now deployed to inform our passengers with highly accurate audio restitution, resulting in, we hope, a pleasant traveling experience," said Victor Hansen, head of customer and traffic information at Jernbaneverket, in a statement.


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