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News Release: W3C Extends Speech Framework to Asian Languages

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2010 12:12:54 -0500
Message-Id: <C1F9BAC0-96DB-4DCF-AC26-3DAB81F1905B@w3.org>
To: w3c-news@w3.org
W3C Extends Speech Framework to Asian Languages
SSML 1.1 Enhances Asian Language Support and Author Controls

http://www.w3.org/  7 September 2010  The World Wide Web Consortium  
(W3C) today extended speech on the Web to an enormous new market by  
improving support for Asian languages and multi-lingual voice  
applications. The Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML 1.1)  
Recommendation provides control over voice selection as well as speech  
characteristics such as pronunciation, volume, and pitch. SSML is part  
of W3C's Speech Interface Framework for building voice applications,  
which also includes the widely deployed VoiceXML and the Pronunciation  
Lexicon (for providing speech engines guidance on proper pronunciation).

"With SSML 1.1 there is an intentional focus on Asian language  
support," said Dan Burnett, Co-Chair of the Voice Browser Working  
Group and Director of Speech Technologies and Standards at Voxeo,  
"including Chinese languages, Japanese, Thai, Urdu, and others, to  
provide a wide deployment potential. With SSML 1.0 we already had  
strong traction in North America and western Europe, so this focus  
makes SSML 1.1 incredibly strong globally. We are really pleased to  
have many collaborators in China, in particular, focusing on SSML  
improvements and iterations."

The multilingal enhancements in this version of SSML result from  
discussions at W3C Workshops held in China, Greece, and India. SSML  
1.1 also provides application designers greater control over voice  
selection and handling of content in unexpected languages.

Estimates suggest that around 85% of voice response (IVR) systems  
deployed in North America and Western Europe use VoiceXML and SSML.  
The new version of SSML will open significant new markets, thanks to  
the improved support for non-Western European languages. A number of  
North American and European vendors of text-to-speech (TTS) products  
have indicated they expect to support SSML 1.1 within the coming year.
About the World Wide Web Consortium
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where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work  
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Media Contacts
Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>, +1.718.260.9447
Marie-Claire Forgue <mcf@w3.org>, +33 6 76 86 33 41
Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)    http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs/
Tel:                                      +1 718 260 9447
Received on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 17:12:56 UTC

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