qfrency south fricaN voices
text-to-speech in SA languages
WINNER OF THE ICT ACHIEVERS AWARD 2016 FOR ACCESSIBILITY EXCELLENCE
The Qfrency Voices are SA’s first range of high-quality, computer synthesised voices with local accents and local languages.
Benefits of Automated Speech
Automated speech is more flexible, saves time & money over human recordings
Improves public understanding of instructions and information
Increases customer satisfaction & loyalty with use of home language
Allows use of your preferred language for assistive technologies such as speech replacement (AAC), screen-reading, spell checking & educational tools
Wide range of other applications for research, commerce, banking and government
Text-to-Speech (TTS) is the conversion of digital text into a computer synthesised spoken message. Originally developed to help people with a visual impairment, computers could ‘read aloud’ any text that was typed.
Synthesised speech is now widely used in technology, business, government, academic and disability applications – examples include Sat Nav systems telling you where to go; talking smartphones telling you about the weather; or low-vision software reading the contents of your screen to you. For people who cannot speak, computer generated speech can also become their way of communicating.
The uses are many and varied. Anybody using computer generated speech for any purpose, will now be able to have messages produced by this affordable software, in local South African languages, including English with a South African accent. No longer will you need to spend a lot of money and time on human recordings of hundreds of messages, or rely on internationally accented speech synthesis. Local really is lekker.
How does it work?
Speech synthesis is usually created by collecting a huge database of recorded speech in a certain language. Narrators would read from a variety of texts, in order to have a full and varied collection of sounds, aiming to include every possible sound from that language in the database.
Those recordings are then ‘sliced’ up into tiny sound pieces, which represent vowels, phonemes, consonants etc. and the way they vary in different contexts. A sophisticated analysis then takes place, matching those sounds to written words. Once a voice is created, it knows how to pronounce the words and sounds from that particular language, and can read text aloud in a natural sounding way.
When computers, smartphones, answering systems etc. speak to us, they are simply using a synthesised voice to read a portion of text aloud.
The SA Voices are available in male and female options for most languages. You can download a free 7 day trial and listen to a voice sample on the shop pages.
There are 16 voices currently available:
• Afrikaans male and female (Kobus and Maryna)
• English male and female (Tim and Candice)
• isiXhosa male and female (Vuyo and Zoleka)
• isiZulu male and female (Sifiso and Lindiwe)
• Sepedi male and female (Tshepo and Mmapitsi)
• isiNdebele male (Banele)
• Tshivenda male (Rabelane)
• Sesotho female (Kamohelo)
• Setswana female (Lethabo)
• SiSwati female (Temaswati)
• Xitsonga female (Sasekani)
Voices are available for Windows 7, 8 and 10 devices, for use with SAPI 5 speech compatible software. Also compatible with Windows 8 and 10 Ease of Access ‘Narrator’ tool for screen reading capability. Licenses are available to purchase in our shop.
Voices for Android devices are available on the Goggle Play Store. These can be utilised by any app which offers 'read-aloud' functionality. Select your SA voice in the device speech settings once it is installed.
iOS and Others
There is a Software Development Kit (SDK) and API for integrating the voices into your bespoke projects. Please contact us for further information.
For more information, please take a look at our
Frequently Asked Questions