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We are very proud of our children’s voice. They help kids around the world to communicate, play and learn.
Children that have difficulties communicating, speaking or learning can finally express their thoughts, needs and desires with a voice they like and that may change their daily lives. Acapela’s children’s voices voice-empower tablets, smartphones and smart toys, helping to facilitate communication, interactivity and engagement.
AAC solutions combined with tablets have revolutionized the industry, allowing the development of innovative approaches to help people with specific needs achieve greater autonomy. The voice synthesis developed by Acapela gives users the means to better interact with the world around them.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) solutions have, for decades, given a voice to children who cannot speak. However, until recently, children with communication difficulties only had access to adult text to speech voices to express their thoughts, needs and desires.
A child communicating with an AAC device deserves the right to speak with a voice that reflects his or her age. So, in 2012, Acapela, together with AssistiveWare (the leader in AAC applications for iOS) took up the challenge to develop genuine text to speech children’s voices, for the first time ever. And since that date, we have kept creating new children’s voices to give even more young users a voice.
In 2012, we proudly unveiled the world’s first genuine, natural-sounding, children’s voices, in British English, providing a voice to over 74,000 children and teens in England who cannot speak for themselves.
The challenge was to find, coach and record kids, to get the essence of their original tone and capture all the specific vocal characteristics of a young voice. No artifices or effects, with, as a result, a fresh, authentic and naturally young tone that kids will adopt without hesitating.
Identifying the right voice talents and reviewing voice samples took a number of months.
Then, the demanding steps usually used for the creation of an adult professional voice were adapted to a child’s habits and behaviour.
When recording an adult, recordings have to be homogeneous throughout the sessions, from one day to the next. It is clearly impossible to ask the same of children. Our R&D team had to rethink and adapt the process for young speakers. The development of the children’s voices has required tremendous dedication and specialized work from our experts.
Specific recordings of children’s typical exclamations and sounds have also be done to create an even more natural and spontaneous audio result.
Once the recordings have been done, the raw material needs to be processed and then repeatedly tested to make sure words are pronounced correctly and sound natural.
Creating the first two voices took more than 2,500 hours of research, recording, processing and development. To learn more about this process, watch the short video, “Text to speech, how does it work?”.
This ground-breaking project has been enormously fulfilling and reflects our long time leadership in this field.
We will continue to add new children’s voices to our portfolio and so help change the way kids with disabilities can benefit from voice technologies. Our children’s voices are used daily by thousands of children throughout the world and that is the best proof there is that we are on the right track.
Here is a list of players that are already using Acapela’s children’s voices in their products.