News Release: W3C to Expand Internationalization in Speech Synthesis Markup Language

In advance of the SpeechTek Conference next week, W3C has announced  
plans for expansion of the Speech Synthesis Markup Language to  
support a greater range of the world's languages, including the  
languages of Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. For more  
information, please contact Janet Daly at + 1.617.253.5884  
<> or contact the W3C Communications Team representative  
in your region.

W3C to Expand Internationalization in Speech Synthesis Markup Language
Goal is to increase support of world's languages in  voice applications

Web resources:

This press release
	In English -
	In French -
	In Japanese -

Full minutes and photos of Second SSML Internationalization Workshop

Simple Summary of SSML Internationalization Workhop

SSML 1.0 Standard -- 3 August 2006 -- Today, the W3C announced the  
results of the second Workshop on Speech Synthesis Markup Language,  
where speech experts from around the world presented ideas for  
expanding the range of languages supported by SSML 1.0.

The results include a new initiative to revise SSML 1.0 in ways that  
support a wider range of the world's languages, including the widely  
spoken languages of Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Russian, Hebrew, and  
other languages spoken in India and Asia.

These results reinforce important discoveries reached at the first  
SSML Workshop in Beijing late last year, which provided critical  
information on many Asian languages.

The announcement of the second workshop results serves as a call for  
participation to researchers around the world to join the effort to  
improve the specification.

Voice Applications and Under-represented Languages Are Growing on the  

It is estimated that within three years, the World Wide Web will  
contain significantly more content from currently under-represented  
languages, such as Chinese and Indian language families.

In many of the regions where these languages are spoken, people can  
access the Web more easily through a mobile handset than through a  
desktop computer. There are more than 10 times as many cellphones in  
the world today as there are Internet-connected PCs.

An improved SSML will increase the ability of people world-wide to  
listen to synthesized speech through mobile phones, desktop  
computers, or other devices, greatly extending the reach of  
computation and information delivery into nearly every corner of the  

Expanding the Range of Languages Supported in Standards is Critical

The participants in the W3C Workshop reached conclusions that support  
the expansion of the SSML standard.

For example, the Workshop participants expressed the need to add to  
the standard the ability to represent features of spoken language,  
including tone, syllabic stress or accent, and duration in a machine- 
readable fashion. In some languages, these attributes are an  
important factor in determining meaning.

The goal of the next phase is to identify a few basic mechanisms that  
can greatly extend the power of SSML to better cover more of the  
world's languages.

W3C Invites Current and New Members to Join Efforts

W3C is moving forward on enhancing and expanding the capabilities of  
SSML, based on the results of the Workshop. Organizations,  
particularly those with native understanding of the languages of  
Japan, China, Korea, Russia and India are encouraged to join W3C and  
participate in the W3C Voice Browser Activity.

Contact Americas, Australia --
     Janet Daly, <>, +1.617.253.5884 or +1.617.253.2613
Contact Europe, Africa and the Middle East-
     Marie-Claire Forgue, <>, +33.492.38.75.94
Contact Asia --
     Yasuyuki Hirakawa <>, +81.466.49.1170

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium  
where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work  
together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission  
through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to  
ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 400 organizations are  
Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer  
Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the  
USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics  
(ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan,and has  
additional Offices worldwide. For more information see http://


World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Janet Daly, Global Communications Officer
o: +1.617.253.5884
m: +

Received on Thursday, 3 August 2006 14:45:46 UTC