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What Is Talking Computer Software?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2016
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Talking computer software is a type of program that is able to provide output information for a user in the form of audible, spoken words. These programs can be utilized for a number of reasons, including text-to-talk programs that allow a user to type in words and hear them repeated as spoken voice. There are also desktop and computer control programs that can create an interactive experience for users through spoken input and output. Talking computer software is often utilized to make computer use easier and more effective for those who may have special needs, including people with limited eyesight.

Regardless of the purpose of a particular talking computer software program, the function of such software is often the same. These programs are developed with a wealth of voice information, usually pre-recorded words and sounds, which can be assembled by the computer as a string of words or sentences for audio output. This database of voice information is then used by the program to generate speech. Some types of talking computer software are able to generate speech more organically, through computerized voices that do not strictly sound like people but are able to generate a certain amount of inflection and speech variation.

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One of the most common uses of talking computer software is in the development of text-to-talk programs that are able to generate audio output based on user input. This type of program allows someone to type words into a dialogue box or other input region, which are then spoken aloud by the computer program. Someone who is mute or otherwise limited vocally, for example, can use this program to type out text that is spoken by the computer. Other talking computer software can be used by individuals who are blind or have visual impairments, to have information on websites or other computer applications spoken aloud.

There are also developments being made in talking computer software to create more interactive forms of software applications. A talking desktop program, for example, can be used to turn a computer into a virtual assistant with spoken and oratory interfaces. Speech recognition software can be used with this type of talking computer software to allow someone to talk to a program in order to activate different processes, and the program can then talk back in response. This type of software is still being developed, but the potential is there for far more interactive and complete user experiences with software and hardware.

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runner101
Post 6

Recently I had a vocal cord polyp removed, and I was supposed to rest my voice for a few days to let my vocal cord heal.

Vocal rest was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

One of the things I tried to play with to "talk" when I wasn't supposed to talk was a text to speech app on my friend's Ipad.

While it was funny when I typed and spoke funny statements that were made even funnier by the timing and pronunciation of the talking Ipad app, it would have been hard to take part in more serious conversations.

Also I usually ended up having to show the person I

was talking to the text secondary to it being difficult to understand or not being loud enough in a crowd (and by crowd I mean 6 people).

As far as taking part in serious conversations it was better to write what I wanted to say because my handwriting conveyed some of the emotion that went with the statement.

gravois
Post 5

I feel like computer voices always sound awkward, so awkward that they are almost hard to understand. The rhythm of the speech is always off. It sounds like words being pulled out of a hat rather than coming out of a throat.

The voice is also usually weird. Either it is too computery sounding or it has some kind of strange accent. I'm not sure why software developers seem to struggle with this so much, but if we are ever going to pay attention to the things that computers say they are going to have to get better at designing their voices.

jonrss
Post 4

I could see there being lots of applications for talking computer software when people are trying to use languages. being able to hear the way another language sounds, especially when it is paired with images and situations which gives it context, is crucial for gaining fluency in any language. It you can hear the inflections, cadences and tones of a new language it sticks in your brain so much deeper than just seeing it on a page.

whiteplane
Post 3

I think we may be reaching the point where talking computer software will be irrelevant. I suppose it probably has some applications, but you watch sci-fi movies and you get the sense that all computers will talk. They are probably off the mark.

Think about how you use the internet. You probably have multiple tabs open, maybe in multiple windows. You are probably running several programs at once. There is lots of information going in and out of your computer at once and there are lots of great tools for managing this stream. I think if a voice was involved, no matter what it said, it would probably just be a distraction. Whatever it was telling you you could figure out on your own faster.

cupcake15
Post 2

@GreenWeaver- That sounds like a great idea. I have tried using dictation software with my computer, but I can never seem to get it to work the right way. Sometimes it skips words that I have said and other times it types a word that sounds like what I said but it is not the right word.

The problem with this type of software lies in the articulation of the word. Sometimes the computer takes a while to get used to your speech patterns. You have to over enunciate the word in order for the computer to get it right. If you pronounce the word car as ca, the computer might type call instead of car. I know that there are people that swear by this software which is why I tried it, but for me it didn’t work well.

GreenWeaver
Post 1

I think that this type of software program is great for kids in an educational setting. For example, my daughter uses spelling software in which she has to verbally tell the computer what her spelling words are and then the computer asks her to spell the words.

This way she gets to study for her spelling test on her own. She has to type the spelling words whenever the computer says the word. I have also used this type of software for my kids when they were learning to read.

I have software that would highlight the sound of a word in different games that would allow my kids a chance to learn the phonetic sound. After a

while the software would offer sentences and then paragraphs.

If they forgot how to read a word they could click on it and the computer would sound out the word for them. They really loved it and it was a fun way for them to have their phonics lessons reinforced like that.

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