A Short Introduction to Text-to-Speech Synthesis

Speech Generating Devices (SGD) or Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCA) are portable electronic devices that allow people using them to create a message and produce speech. These methods of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) are used as a communication system for people with little or no speech. They can assist both language comprehension and expression, helping to enable communication access for all.

website to download and listen to sample voices of different speech synthesisers.

Selecting a Speech Generating Device / Voice Output Communication Aid
The communication goals of the person using the assistive technology will determine the features required. For people with complex communication needs considering high cost devices, trialling the most appropriate communication aid in the person's environments where they will use the device prior to purchase is beneficial and may be required by government funding agencies. Trials allow time to identify suitability and whether additional equipment or alternatives may need to be considered.


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Software programs can be used to create light technology / non-electronic systems and to produce resources to extend the effectiveness of electronic voice output devices. There are also communication software that convert computers and tablets into Speech Generating Devices.


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Vocalizer Expressive version 1 voices are available for use with JAWS 15, JAWS 16, JAWS 17 and MAGic 13.1. These voices offer many benefits including pitch adjustment, improved performance, especially in the areas of latency and speech quality, as well as support for a variety of languages. Each voice can be downloaded as high premium or premium. The high premium voices are large files, but offer the highest quality speech. The premium voices offer very good speech quality and a smaller file size. Both high premium and premium versions of a voice can be installed on the same computer so they can be compared.

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These voices are available at no charge. The RealSpeak Solo voices can be installed into main memory or on a CompactFlash® card. If you intend to install more than one voice, it is recommended that you install them onto a CompactFlash card, as each voice requires at least 10 megabytes of storage space. Additional Eloquence languages are always installed to main memory, and each language will occupy between 1.5 and 2 MB of space. Once a voice is installed, you can open the Voice Settings dialog box, move to the Secondary page, and configure it as your secondary voice, which is active when you use INSERT+S, L on the QX or S CHORD, L on the BX to toggle between the primary and secondary voice. For more information on configuring the secondary voice, refer to the PAC Mate Omni documentation.

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Software programs can be used to create light technology / non-electronic systems and to produce resources to extend the effectiveness of electronic voice output devices. There are also communication software that convert computers and tablets into Speech Generating Devices.

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Selecting a Speech Generating Device / Voice Output Communication Aid
The communication goals of the person using the assistive technology will determine the features required. For people with complex communication needs considering high cost devices, trialling the most appropriate communication aid in the person's environments where they will use the device prior to purchase is beneficial and may be required by government funding agencies. Trials allow time to identify suitability and whether additional equipment or alternatives may need to be considered.