News Release: W3C Expands Support for Speech Synthesis of World Languages

W3C is taking steps to broaden support for the world's languages in  
voice applications on the Web. With the publication of the first  
draft of SSML 1.1 and a new workshop in Hyderabad, W3C is bringing  
together experts in voice applications and Web technologies to build  
a viable framework that gives Voice to the Web. For more information,  
please contact Janet Daly, W3C Global Communications Officer  
<>, at +1 617 253 5884, or contact the W3C Communications  
Team Representative in your region.

W3C Expands Support for Speech Synthesis of World Languages

Early Draft of SSML 1.1 Published; Workshop in India to Bring More  

Web Resources:

	This Press Release
	    In English:
	    In French:
	    In Japanese:

	Speech Synthesis Markup Language 1.1

	SSML Workshop in Hyderabad

	W3C Voice Browser Working Group -- 10 January 2007 -- Today, W3C took steps to  
broaden support for the world's languages in voice applications on  
the Web. This First Public Working Draft of Speech Synthesis Markup  
Language (SSML) 1.1 incorporates important features and feedback from  
SSML Workshops held in Beijing, China and Heraklion, Greece. On 13-14  
January 2007, W3C conducts a third Workshop on SSML, hosted by  
Bhrigus Software and the International Institute of Information  
Technology (IIIT) in Hyderabad, India. This Workshop promises more  
expert review and contributions to SSML, part of W3C's Speech  
Interface Framework, a suite of specifications for building voice  
applications on the Web.

Voice Applications in Many Languages Are Growing on the Web

It is forecast that within three years, the World Wide Web will  
contain significantly more content from Chinese and Indian language  
families, among others. In many of the regions where these languages  
are spoken, people can access the Web more easily through a less  
expensive mobile handset than through a desktop computer. Today the  
world has more than ten times as many cellphones as Internet- 
connected personal computers. With an improved SSML, people worldwide  
will have an increased ability to listen to synthesized speech  
through mobile phones, desktop computers and other devices, extending  
the reach of computation and information delivery to nearly every  
corner of the globe.

SSML 1.1 Brings Together Needed Support for Variety of Spoken Languages

SSML 1.1 improves on W3C's SSML 1.0 Recommendation by adding support  
for more conventions and practices of the world's languages. One new  
feature helps to disambiguate "word boundaries" in languages that do  
not use whitespace as a word boundary, including Chinese, Thai, and  
Japanese. SSML 1.1 allows references to language-specific  
pronunciation alphabets. It clarifies the relationship between the  
author's specified speaking voice and the language being spoken. It  
provides finer-grained control over lexicon activation and entry usage.

In addition, SSML 1.1 provides features to better integrate with  
existing and upcoming Speech Interface Framework specifications.

Hyderabad Workshop Participants to Focus on Indian Language Families,  
Arabic and Hebrew

The third SSML Workshop brings together experts from India, Pakistan,  
and other countries to identify and prioritize requirements for SSML  
extensions and additions that will improve its use for rendering non- 
English languages including (but not limited to) Arabic, Hebrew, and  
the Indian languages Telugu, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarthi and  
Urdu. The top priorities on the agenda are to describe new  
requirements, their usage scenarios, and the problems to be solved.  
The output from this Workshop will be reviewed by the W3C Voice  
Browser Working Group for possible new features in SSML 1.1 and beyond.

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://

Received on Wednesday, 10 January 2007 14:55:47 UTC