While Acapela Transport is working on Västtraffik upcoming custom voice for passenger information, Charlotta – Computational Linguist at Acapela Group – has been interviewed by Pling about this specific project and her job to create a custom voice. Learn more about behind the scenes at Acapela.
Västtrafik is the agency responsible for public transport services involving buses, ferries, trains, and the Göteborg tramway in the area of Västra Götaland, Sweden.
Read the original article in Swedish by Thomas Drakenfors.
Read the English version by Acapela.
Excerpt : Västtrafik bus announcements to be made by a synthetic voice
Charlotta makes sure that the bus stops of the Swedish public transport company Västtrafik will be pronounced correctly […] In an office in Solna (Sweden) the computational linguist Charlotta Jagt works at her computer. She checks thousands of names of bus stops in western Sweden.
The background is that after many years with an analogue human speaker making the calls, Västtrafik will now shift to a synthesized computer voice. The shift will be made this fall and the reason is that is faster to create announcements for new names with the computer. With the old method it took months to produce a single new prompt. With the new voice it can be done in one day.
Before the speaker was selected, the public had the possibility to listen to three candidates on Västtrafik’s website, and select their favourite. Almost 18 000 persons took this opportunity to vote. Even SVT (Swedish public service television) got involved and organized their own election to find the voice that the people of western Sweden would like to hear making the bus announcements. But it was the voting at Västtrafik that decided. The winner was alternative three, with slightly over 40% of the votes, and this is the female voice on which the future voice of Västtrafik announcements will be based.
The winning voice can be heard here: http://vasttrafik.svaradirekt.se/undersokning/Avslutad.aspx