Yes / No / Maybe

This concept caught my eyes when I was browsing through a web 2.0 zine, called Webware (part of CNET setup).

From the Deaf perspective, I felt this would be a really useful event organising tool where hearing people are expected to be in attendance i.e. for work, having your own business, ringing around for a quote, your own wedding – if from a hearing family! It takes away the pain of calling around by phone, via Typetalk, when you want a simple answer.

The concept is based around:

  • Recording a message
  • Create a phone list
  • Choose options (set time to send message and to RSVP by using their phonepad)
  • Send
  • Make a cuppa tea

The problem is how do you record the message. Rather than using your own voice, we can take advantage of the text-to-speech softwares which are out there, such as NaturalSoft or ChipSpeaking, and plop the microphone in front of the speakers (if you haven’t chucked them out!).

On ChipSpeaking website, the blurb said it is designed for the “vocally disabled” – that’s us, innit! Yay! It is an American site that have not been updated for some time but there is a pretty good reason for that – the creator passed away 6 years ago. I have no idea what the quality of speech is like as I am not in the position to judge – for all I knows, it could be in Deep South Texas drawl……

Naturalsoft offer a choice of male/female voices from around the world. There is a blog about getting free Text-to-Speech software if you want to research further.

…….then upload the voice file – I hope! I am waiting for a response from Phonevite whether it is possibly to upload voice recording to be used for calling people. I will update later.

Unfortunately, this website only serves the US of A. It would be a fantastic if we can have similiar setup for the UK.

Update: Got this nice email from the Chipspeaking team:

Hi Tony,

Deepest thanks for your email. Great that we can be of help.

On the text-to-speech software, I’m sorry that we don’t have that yet (will mention it to Kalvin, the CTO). However, you might want to try this home-made/bootleg solution (not tested). If you have already have a text-to-speech software on your PC (I think MS Word might have a feature too… not sure though… I just found this site that talks about it, but again not sure how it works http://www.gmayor.com/word_text_to_speech.htm), you could then try playing the speech on your PC with the Phonevite Web Recorder recording, and see if the recorder captures the read text (You might need the help of someone to verify). Would you let us know if/after you try it?

Also, could you quote you on a new testimonials page that we’ll have. If yes, would you mind letting us know the City and State you are from? We’d quote you as Tony B., City, ST or something like that, or anonymous.

Thanks a lot,

John & the Phonevite Team

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