How about computer generated voice?

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Post by AnanasEmperor » March 3rd, 2017, 7:49 am

Hi everyone,
I am an old but only occasional listener of LV books. By profession I am an IT guy.

Reason for creating account is because I wanted to get feedback on forum from you guys and community about my idea to make computer read some books that no one has read yet. I believe those books would be some not so popular works. Nowadays, computer voice is not that bad as it has been few years ago and anything is better than nothing right? You could expect voice very similar to Cortana's voice in Windows 10 (I use "Microsoft Zira Desktop voice" for which I believe is free to use). I also hand edit text to some level in editor I've built to adjust it before voice generation.

So did you have this before here on LibriVox or do you already have this in game? And more importantly what do you think how much people would be interested to listen such works?


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Post by Carolin » March 3rd, 2017, 7:53 am

hi and welcome to librivox!

there are a lot of computer generated audiobooks online, see here for example:

im not sure whether this is something for librivox though.

ill move your topic over to suggestions, comments, news, and discussion as soon as you have seen this to keep things in their proper places :)

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Post by AnanasEmperor » March 3rd, 2017, 7:55 am

Thanks! You can move it...

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Post by tovarisch » March 3rd, 2017, 8:21 am

I have not listened to a book read by a computer. Yet. At least to my knowledge. :)

Readings that I tend to enjoy are those in which the narrator is (at least to some degree) a "voice actor", i.e. changes the intonation (and pitch) when reading direct speech from different characters. Of course, just like any other acting, voice acting can be successful or not... Measuring the population at large by my own yardstick I do voice-act in my readings too.

Some texts can certainly be read by a computer without any detriment. Books of fiction aren't those, methinks.
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Post by VfkaBT » March 3rd, 2017, 11:19 am

Internet Archive has a built-in reader on all of its digital books. It reads in a computer-generated female voice on my pc. Quality is best on sans-serif typeface.
My previous LV work: Bellona Times

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Post by Timothy Ferguson » March 23rd, 2017, 9:59 pm

We have Clearview machines at my work which offer this, along with choice of gender and accent.

It's good...but it's not what LV offers. I still prefer a human voice, generally. The problem is that, so far, the automated voices can't perform to the text, so they are entirely unmoved by what's happening in the story. It's fine for most non-fiction, although listening to one of them read a newspaper inclines you to think they are a sociopath, because a murder, a birth and an advert are all of equal interest to the voice.
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Post by Peter Why » March 24th, 2017, 12:57 am

There's also the fact that many (most?) of the LibriVox readers are reading for their own pleasure, not primarily for the pleasure of, or as a service to, any listeners.

You could set up a group of volunteers with a similar structure to LibriVox, though, with the prime aim to create a pool of computer-generated readings. There must be quite a few people who don't feel able to read and record books (or who would want to), who would be happy to work on them in this way. It would be a very useful project ... and, thinking more widely, the more people recording and listening to PD works, the greater the potential political pressure against the extension of copyright laws.

There is a possibility, which would need to be discussed openly, that this could be handled as an aspect of LibriVox, but speaking for myself, I prefer to see this as a site for human-read works only.

Last edited by Peter Why on March 24th, 2017, 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by smike » March 24th, 2017, 1:04 am

I prefer a human voice and only refer to a computer generated voice if the book is not available as a recording. Kindle text to speech has a whole range of voices and accents which make this choice bearable.

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Post by StarFire » March 24th, 2017, 10:47 am

I kind of feel like part of LibriVox's goal is to record books by people for people.
and I agree with what everyone else has said, at this point in time the human voice is much better at reading books in an interesting way than any computer out there.

If you have a correction for me give it gently -- I'm young and I learn fast.

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I read to escape reality."

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