Artificial child`s voice `created`

A team from Media LT says it`s developing Norway`s first synthesised childlike voice.

London: Scientists claim to be working on a unique project to create an artificial child`s voice.

A team from Media LT, a company developing tools to assist disabled persons, and Lingit, a software company, says it`s developing Norway`s first synthesised childlike voice -- the research, in fact, involves converting the master voice into a comprehensible kid`s voice.

"We start with what is known as a master voice, which is the product of three or four adult speakers recording several thousands of phrases. Then we record a single child reading a smaller number of phrases aloud.

"We use this recording to modify the master voice, making it sound like a child`s voice," said team member Torbjorn Nordgard at Lingit, who is also a professor of linguistics at the University of Nordland.

The phrases recorded by the child have been selected to include a number of the most essential sounds found in Norwegian, according to a release by the Research Council of Norway.

"The master voice still carries the intonation, ie, a phrase`s melody. The result sounds rather like a child with unusual elocution skills, but it`s still much better than the voice of an adult," said Nordgard.

Everything is now in place to start testing trial versions of the child`s voice. "We hope to have a beta version in place this summer," said team member Magne Lunde.

PTI

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