Imagine having a text on the internet read out to you, more so on Wikipedia. Well, in the near future, this may be more than just an imagination. An open source project seeks to make Wikipedia more accessible using speech synthesis that will read out texts to the user.
Europe’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology University based in Stockholm, Sweden is developing a speech synthesis platform
. Wikipedia approached the institute to develop the feature based on its prior specialty in that field. Wikipedia will develop an optimized platform for the speech synthesis, besides hosting its servers. The software, on the other hand, will be available freely as open source. According to KTH, any site using the MediaWiki software will readily use the speech synthesis software.
The system will be designed as an open framework, allowing for easy plugging in of any open source speech synthesizer. Additionally, it will be possible to add or substitute some modules to the system. This open framework will also enable anyone to use that functionality for other uses besides reading the wiki. The pilot study is already complete. The element will also entail users reporting poor speech or having the ability to correct it themselves.
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In most instances when we search for anything on the Internet, Wikipedia is usually among the first pages to appear in the results. With 8 billion plus views every month, Wikipedia is among the sites receiving the highest traffic on the Internet.