As we have all suspected the market for text to speech is now a choice between Nuance and Acapela with eSpeak and Festival offering a very limited choice of languages. The licences for using options offered by the operating systems such as Microsoft and Apple do not allow us to use these for a browser based toolkit.
So we have been trialling the voice with Google translate but that only works for 1000 characters and is liable to disappear as a service. We discussed the issue with a Google employee who was not very hopeful that we would be able to pursue this idea further although we would still like to keep this door open.
We also want to continue to see if we can discover any researchers still working on an open source free TTS for Arabic speech, but in the meantime we have been discussing the use of the Acapela Voice As A Service system that also works well as a plug-in for the new ATKit.
The web site for the English version of ATBar using the ATKit system of plug-ins is ready for testing and final checks for the Arabic version will be set in place with plugins once agreements have occurred regarding the TTS, as all other sections are complete. We are still looking for suitable dyslexic type errors to improve the present dictionary and have begun the research on both the word prediction and speech recognition.
Finally we have set up a ATKit plugin Google Group for further collaboration in the hope that this can become a truly open innovative process and a case study for the REALISE market place which has just received sponsorship from Devices for Dignity who are interested in seeing how case studies such as the ATKit develop in the future.