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May 04, 2009

ACS Picks Cepstral's Alternate Voices from Text for Virtual Reality Chat

By Vivek Naik, TMCnet Contributor

Cepstral, a company that provides Text To Speech (TTS) technology from its hosted Software as a Solution (SaaS (News - Alert)) VoiceForge Platform, has announced its partnership with Anshe Chung Studios Limited (ACS) which develops, distributes and sells virtual goods in 3D online environments.

As per this partnership, Cepstral (News - Alert) said it will be providing its entire range of differently sounding English language voices, which are translated from the text user’s type during chat sessions, to enable ACS (News - Alert) virtual members to use speech intonations of their choice.
TMCnet had earlier reported that SaaS customers can benefit from the freedom to use and pay for only select components of their choice from software suites, feel their way around the applications, get professionally trained and gain expertise before adding modules either in multiples or with other functions. This makes it possible to gain tighter control and stay in budget.
"Cepstral's VoiceForge service provides real-time surrogate voices for users," said Guntram Graef, CEO of ACS. “Their expansive voice variety is consistent with our mission to provide users with quality digital goods and online personality. Their elegant hosted solution made it a snap to integrate with our products.”
One use case scenario for this is a person that knows and understands but chooses not to speak English because either they are shy, have permanent or temporary speech impairment, want to disguise their voice because they are famous or cannot speak English.
In these scenarios, users can sign up as members on ACS’s online 3D virtual world and select a digital, graphical representation of, and then selects an English voice combination from VoiceForge.
The accents provided with the voices have exotic sounding classifications such as Evil-Genius (News - Alert), Dallas, Top-Hat, Belle, Vixen, and are as varied as Classic Young Adults, American, British, Male, or Female. The effects maybe be ‘none’ or are as funky and bizarre as Dizzy Droid, Liquid Love, Old Robot, PVC Pipe, Spacetime Echo, and Split Personality.
Also, the pitch and speed of the voices have seven variations to choose from and the total number of voice combinations available is at almost 50,000 and counting.
"ACS approached us to provide this capability to their users,” said Craig Campbell (News - Alert), CEO, Cepstral. “They recognize that in a Virtual World, many users don't want to use their real world voice when chatting. VoiceForge allows the user to match a voice to their avatar. A proper lady avatar can use the Southern Belle voice, while a more whimsical avatar might use the French-Fry voice."

Vivek Naik is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Vivek's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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