Loquendo Releases New Versions of Speech Engine, SDK, TTS

Loquendo released new versions of its speech engine and software developers kit (SDK), along with new versions of its text-to-speech (TTS) engine in ten languages: U.S. English, U.K. English, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, French, Italian, Swedish, and Dutch.

“This release includes all major session development activity done in last semester of last year,” says Paolo Coppo, vice president of marketing and business development at Loquendo. “There has been improvement in all major languages. These improvements are fine tuning in general of the languages that were already at a good level—but you never finish improving [them].”

Among the new TTS features is a mechanism for creating and managing user lexicons that includes a more powerful syntax for the definition of regular expressions, support for XML format, rule prioritization, and the ability to include any specific lexicon within a user-defined reading style. Lexicons can be rapidly activated, deactivated, and modified.

Coppo says the updates to the handling of lexicon files—essentially sets of rules that govern how the text is converted into phonemes—is an effort to prepare for the Pronunciation Lexicon Specification (PLS) standard soon to be approved by the World Wide Web Consortium.

“In order to align with that, we’ve been expanding on the basic mechanism to be able to write lexicons more efficiently and with a syntax that is more powerful,” he says. 

The release also features a set of commands and control tags that prompt designers for definitions of how Loquendo TTS reads text, data, navigation commands, Web pages, emails, and SMS.

According to Loquendo, the new commands are convenient for developers adopting TTS in applications for the automotive, banking, and finance verticals because they include the option to select a TTS reading mode for a specific context of use.  And this, the company asserts, means that even the most complex messages will be read correctly.

On the architectural side, the release includes a new Java client library that allows for remote access to TTS in distributed applications and simplifies development of applications for the Web.

Because Loquendo is still in the process of finalizing its roadmap for product development, Coppo couldn’t reveal too much about the company’s immediate plans.

“We are working on expansion of the language portfolio,” he says. “And [planning to] evolve according to the evolution of operating systems."

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