Joel Harband heads Tuval Software Industries, based in Israel. Their best known product is Speech-Over Studio, a PowerPoint add-in that enables PowerPoint slides to incorporate narrations using automated voices.
Geetesh: Tell us more about the new features and improvements in Speech-Over 2.5.
Joel: Sure. First, I’d like to remind readers of Speech-Over’s mission: To use narration and animation in PowerPoint to achieve the impact of a live presentation. This boosts the effectivity of PowerPoint-based e-learning, training and web presentations in a easy and economical way.
Speech-Over lets users build effective narrations from individual narration clips, combining general orientation topics, like introduction and summary, with specific content topics linked to screen objects. PowerPoint animations synchronized with the narration clips are added to illustrate and clarify the narration.
Speech-Over uses articulate text-to-speech (TTS) voices to add and maintain professional narration easily.
The new features in Speech-Over 2.5 are designed to raise efficiency when the software is used by teams of authors. The features include the ability to refresh all narration clips in the presentation after changes in preferences, including the slide notes generated in the notes pane, and an improved voice preview function in the narration clip editor that allows skipping sentences during the preview and stopping it in the middle.
Geetesh: Can you tell us more about the TTS voices, what they are, and how one can get more of them?
Joel: Text to speech (TTS) is the automated synthesis of speech from text. The heart of the system is the text-to-speech engine, a sophisticated piece of software that parses the text input, analyzes its grammar, sentence structure, punctuation and capitalization, and activates voice simulations to produce a vocal rendering of the text.
The data for individual voices are provided in separate files called “voices”. The TTS engine can work with any of the voices interchangeably.
Advances in TTS technology have replaced the old robotic computer voices with new, amazingly realistic ones.
Synthesized from real voices, these remarkable TTS voices can read books aloud beautifully without a mistake, guided only by grammar, sentence structure and punctuation. People use them to learn and review while driving.
The exciting news is that these articulate TTS voices have been harnessed by Speech-Over to empower users to add professional narration in presentations easily.
Speech-Over, which has an embedded text-to-speech engine, accepts user narration text and launches TTS voices from within PowerPoint to record professional narrations from the text alone.
Change the narration text as often as you need and these tireless voices record new versions quickly and faithfully without complaint.
TTS voices are separate computer applications which, once installed, are recognized by Speech-Over. They are available in male and female gender, in all major languages, and in various regional dialects.
Basic quality Microsoft voices Mike and Mary are included free. For much better results, premium TTS voices are available from voice vendors such as AT&T and NeoSpeech at affordable prices. Speech-Over uses SAPI 5 standard TTS voices.