Date:18 December 2014
If Stephen Hawking wanted to speak Zulu he could if he uses the CSIR’s home-baked Qfrency Text-To-Speech engine. Instead he chose an Intel system for his communications overhaul earlier in December.
The Qfrency system can read and say anything in South Africa’s 11 official languages and is compatible with a wide range of devices. The real magic, however, is that with all eleven language packs installed, Qfrency can mix language within a sentence.
How is this going to benefit you the consumer? Well, if you can consider having your important SMSes read out to you in your mother tongue as a benefit then you’ll profit quite handsomely. There’s also new scope for getting school children onto the multilingual bus through developing Qfrency-enabled educational apps for use on tablets.
See this Qfrency video for some insight into the system and click here to demo the TTS engine in one of the two available flagship voices (English or Afrikaans).
Elsewhere in the world of speech synthesis Skype is launching real time voice translation. Now imagine if Microsoft could get into bed with the CSIR and deliver this service in our 11 languages? What a future that would be. Watch the preview video for Skype Translator here.