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Remember the demo of the Kindle 2's male digi-voice (which can be sped up or slowed) which can read any document on one's Kindle 2 on demand? It was originally heard at Minute-9 of the video clip at http://www.geek.com/articles/gadgets/jeff-bezos-introduction-to-the-kindle-2-2009029/

The Kindle 2's text-to-speech technology is courtesy of Nuance.com

Well, an Amazon forum member, Bufo Calvin. posted that under the Nuance.com section for U.S. English,
"Tom" (a recently enhanced text speaker) seems to be the voice being used for the new Kindle.
Others agreed.

Here's Nuance's Tom: direct to your speakers

ftp://ftp.scansoft.com/products/realspeak/Tomfreshdemo.wav

(I must add that I love the ending !)

AND here's Tom again, but sped up - still mildly normal speed
http://andrys.com/tomfreshdemo-8percent-faster.wav

And then with a slightly manic quality
http://andrys.com/tomfreshdemo-20percent-faster.wav

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Here are all demo voices for several languages: http://www.nuance.com/realspeak/languages/

"Donna" seems to be the latest female U.S. English voice
but gets only one sentence.

As a Cantonese speaker (though limited, since I was born here), I think the Cantonese one is pretty good, but the relative tones have to be very precise for best understanding.
 

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that's pretty cool... he sounds so much better than that lady in my hubby's gps!! She's kinda creepy and mispronounces street names all the time!
 

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I have a Tom Tom GPS and I was able to change the voice from a woman to a man.  You can get celebrity voices too so you can have, say, John Cleese tell you where to go. . . .but you have to pay extra for them so I passed. . . . .sometimes the pronunciations are a little weird, but mostly just funny.

Ann
 

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Good sleuthing! Thanks for the links.
 

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I also enjoy listening to some of the pronunciations.  ::)
 

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Good find. I prefer the woman voices of the digiman voices. Don't really know why. I'm amazed at this technology anymore, even the mispronounced words are still intelligible.
 

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If you have ever listed to a National Weather Service radio broadcast, many sound the same as "Tom". Probably same source company/trademark.

I don't think I could listen to a whole book in this manner.
 

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J. Steinbeck said:
If you have ever listed to a NWS radio broadcast, many sound the same as "Tom". Probably same source company/trademark.

I don't think I could listen to a whole book in this manner.
I could not listen to an entire book either but I think it is a great feature if you have a 30 or 45 minute commute one way or feel too tired to read and would like to listen.
 

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The way I see it, the text to speech feature is good for anything without dialogue. I'll be using it a lot for newspapers, magazines, and nonfiction books, but I can't imagine using it on anything with characters.
 

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Raiden333 said:
The way I see it, the text to speech feature is good for anything without dialogue. I'll be using it a lot for newspapers, magazines, and nonfiction books, but I can't imagine using it on anything with characters.
That's a great idea. I hadn't thought of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Raiden333 said:
The way I see it, the text to speech feature is good for anything without dialogue. I'll be using it a lot for newspapers, magazines, and nonfiction books, but I can't imagine using it on anything with characters.
And if we need some amusement, we could ask it to read a romance novel!

The part that is unique is that it reads anything on the Kindle, including personal or business documents. And I agree -- since I do read a lot of news feeds on the Kindle -- that it'd be best for that kind of thing. This will be useful if you can't be sitting there reading but you want to get on with the book while doing chores. Your last-page read is updated with that as well.

I did computer and network support (freelance) for a Berkeley speech technologies firm in the 90s.
When I called one night I got the answering svc, and I mentioned to the boss the next day that the guy at the answering service sounded very weird. :) That was my intro to this kind of speech. I'm surprised he didn't fire me on the spot for being so clueless.

It's amazing that with 'Tom,' they build in an affect of enthusiasm, and some sound-combinations are faster than the rest of the word combos, but appropriately so. But I agree I couldn't listen to it for long. His laugh at the end was so funny though.

Re GPS voices: I have the Garmin Nuvi 360, and the female voice is better to hear consonants with in freeway traffic. The male voice, Jack, is somewhat calming though. "Jill" on my GPS unit sounds so harried when I miss a turn and she has to then say "ReCALCulating" - in an annoyed way! But 'her' speech is VERY natural. More natural than Tom's. I think it's probably because many stock phrases are pre-recorded as a set of words, but there's still less of the unnatural sounding Rrrr sound.

They also have Australian English speakers and British ones. But it can be odd enough to hear an upcoming street pronounced in a way that I'd never recognize it...
 

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I have the Nuvi 260, and am impressed with its choice of voices and pronunciations.

But this Nuance demo is definitely an improvement over that. I love it when he clears his throat!

I think this would make a good story for the blog. Will work on that today if I find a window of time. Thanks, AAHF!
 

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I would love my reader to have a New Zealand accent, like Jermaine or Bret
 

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Wow, I'm amazed at how great it sounds.  It is so advanced compared to the stupid voice/callerID that I have on my phone, you can't understand that at all.  I think it will be fun to try. 

But I don't like Samantha, she sounds kind of mean, she scared me.
 

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artsandhistoryfan said:
Re GPS voices: I have the Garmin Nuvi 360, and the female voice is better to hear consonants with in freeway traffic. The male voice, Jack, is somewhat calming though. "Jill" on my GPS unit sounds so harried when I miss a turn and she has to then say "ReCALCulating" - in an annoyed way! But 'her' speech is VERY natural. More natural than Tom's. I think it's probably because many stock phrases are pre-recorded as a set of words, but there's still less of the unnatural sounding Rrrr sound.

They also have Australian English speakers and British ones. But it can be odd enough to hear an upcoming street pronounced in a way that I'd never recognize it...
We use the Australian voice on our Garmin GPS and there's some fun pronunciations. I wish I could remember what they were, but we had some really funny ones when we were in Orlando.
 

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luvmy4brats said:
We use the Australian voice on our Garmin GPS and there's some fun pronunciations. I wish I could remember what they were, but we had some really funny ones when we were in Orlando.
The woman's voice in a gps that we used with a rental car would say, "Recalculating," when we made a wrong move. It sounded so condescending. We had a good laugh over it.
 
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