|International award for the speech synthesis technology|
Following last year's success, the speech synthesis system developed by a team from INNOETICS and the Institute for Language and Speech Processing ("Athena" Research Center) was ranked first at Blizzard Challenge 2014 on all 6 languages!
Blizzard Challenge is a unique international competition organized by the Speech Synthesis Special Interest Group (SynSIG) of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA). It has been devised in order to better understand and compare research techniques in building corpus-based speech synthesizers on the same data. The basic challenge is to take the released speech databases, build synthetic voices from the data and synthesize prescribed sets of test sentences. The sentences from each synthesizer are then evaluated through extensive listening tests.
Since 2005 when it was first organized, the Blizzard Challenge has offered a unique insight into the progress in text-to-speech synthesis over the last decade. It has focused on different languages including English, Mandarin and various Indian languages and has attracted R&D groups and consortia working on text-to-speech throughout the world.
The focus of the Blizzard Challenge 2014 was on 6 Indian languages: Hindi, Assamese, Gujarati, Rajasthani, Telugu and Tamil.
The systems presented by the INNOETICS/ILSP team have been ranked at the TOP position in users’ preference in all 6 languages, obtaining significantly higher scores than any other participating system. This is a follow-up on last year's performance, where the team also got the first place in 2 out of the 3 tasks that involved building speech synthesizers for English and for four Indian languages.
These results demonstrate a clear technological edge in the core text-to-speech technology and in the voice building capabilities which can rapidly deliver top-class synthetic voices.
The outcomes of the Blizzard Challenge 2014 competition have been presented at the Blizzard Challenge 2014 Workshop, a satellite event of INTERSPEECH 2014 that took place in Singapore on Friday 19th September 2014.