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Old 26th August 2011, 10:19 AM
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Multi-lingual Lion

For those of you that do not use a Mac, Lion is the latest OS.

At long last I got round to upgrading my Mac to Lion. I tried out text to speech and I am most impressed by the fluency and quality of the voices I have tried out. So far, I have setup my Mac to speak Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Thai.

I am finding the Lion multi-lingual text to speech very useful for checking out transliterations. e.g.

A Thai person gave me a transliteration of Loughborough into thai - ลัฟเบอเรอะ

I tested ลัฟเบอเรอะ with a Lion thai voice and it does not sound much like the way Loughborough is usually pronounced. I think there could well be a number of factors at play here:

① The transliteration is not accurate
② Lion is not speaking it properly
③ The sounds available in Thai are different to English

Perhaps though of you with knowledge of Thai could comment

André 小山 Schappo
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Old 26th August 2011, 04:06 PM
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Re: Multi-lingual Lion

③ The sounds available in Thai are different to English
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Old 27th August 2011, 12:37 PM
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Re: Multi-lingual Lion

All 3 !

Its a very complicated subject, Thais don't say "London" the same as English people say it. They have short vowels and long vowels, they prefer sounds in Thai to sounds we prefer in English. They have sounds we don't have. We have sounds they don't have. They have 5 tones, we don't.

Just know that Thai <-> English doesn't work very well.

The Lion voice stuff is great, but it still struggles with a lot of English text reading to make it natural, no way in the world it will do good Thai.

As for the particular example:

ลัฟเบอเรอะ

First I would ask how you gave it to your friend. Was it spoken, written? That would make a huge difference right off the bat.

"ลัฟ" is the first syllable. Its typical Thai in that they like the hard "a" sound rather than the English language "u", so I guess you hear it in Lion as similar to "laugh"?

Second syllable, "เบอ" is ok - should sound just like "ber" as in "number", neutral tone, all good.

Third syllable, "เรอะ" doesn't look right to me. Your friend has done it as a short syllable, high tone. I would have done it as long syllable for a start, probably as "เตอร์" which Thais use for syllables like "-er" on the end of "computer". Seems very unnatural as "เรอะ" to me ....

But like I say, depends how you read the word to your friend in the first place, and what your accent is (if you spoke it). The way I pronounce "Loughborough" is very different from the way someone from Nottingham would pronounce it, and even more different from someone from America. Ever heard the difference when Americans pronounce towns like "Edinburgh", completely different from English. Or my home county "Gloucestershire", Americans would use about 5 syllables when I would use 3

Loughborough (the way I say it) is actually fairly simple for Thais to pronounce and fits nicely in their language, but who says the way I say it is correct? Who is to say what the "correct" pronunciation of the word is?

Edinburgh in Thai is apparently "เอดินเบิร์ก" which again, sounds nothing like how I would expect it to sound in English, even as a "translit".

I guess the moral is just for most names, don't expect the Thai translit of the English to sound the same, normally it just doesn't.

Even Premier League football team translits are often "way apart" from how the English sounds.

Last edited by domainguru; 27th August 2011 at 12:44 PM..
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Old 27th August 2011, 03:09 PM
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Re: Multi-lingual Lion

"ลัฟ" does indeed sound similar to laugh in Lion

The Thai person works in Loughborough and so is familiar with the English written form and has heard it pronounced in many different ways. We spent several minutes with me pronouncing Loughborough in the standard/formal way to arrive at the transliteration ลัฟเบอเรอะ

If I deduce correctly you have not yet tried out Thai text to speech on Lion? It would be good if you could give us your assessment of Lion Thai text to speech quality, accuracy & fluency

André 小山 Schappo
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Old 27th August 2011, 03:21 PM
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Re: Multi-lingual Lion

Quote:
Originally Posted by andre View Post
"ลัฟ" does indeed sound similar to laugh in Lion

The Thai person works in Loughborough and so is familiar with the English written form and has heard it pronounced in many different ways. We spent several minutes with me pronouncing Loughborough in the standard/formal way to arrive at the transliteration ลัฟเบอเรอะ

If I deduce correctly you have not yet tried out Thai text to speech on Lion? It would be good if you could give us your assessment of Lion Thai text to speech quality, accuracy & fluency

André 小山 Schappo
When I enter a Thai string into the converter, I just get silence back

Tell me what I have to do to get a voice back. Is there some download I need to do first to get Thai voices?

The first two syllables of Loughborough seem ok to me - the third seems quite strange, foreign even.

But like I say, depends whether you want it to sound right to you or sound right to a Thai person - the two are not the same.

But (a) I'm not Thai and (b) I can't hear anything as yet for Thai words.
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Old 27th August 2011, 04:07 PM
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Re: Multi-lingual Lion

Quote:
Originally Posted by domainguru View Post
When I enter a Thai string into the converter, I just get silence back

Tell me what I have to do to get a voice back. Is there some download I need to do first to get Thai voices?

The first two syllables of Loughborough seem ok to me - the third seems quite strange, foreign even.

But like I say, depends whether you want it to sound right to you or sound right to a Thai person - the two are not the same.

But (a) I'm not Thai and (b) I can't hear anything as yet for Thai words.
System Preferences ➱ Speech ➱ Text to Speech ➱ System Voice ➱ Customize

Then type the word thai into the search box. It will then find the voice files available for that language. In the case of thai the voice file is Narisa. Select & OK and then it will download and install.

Then

Edit ➱ Speech ➱ Start Speaking

For other languages, type the appropriate language name in the search box to see what is available.

André 小山 Schappo
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