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.
Everyone would love to read his or her story on Wikipedia, be it a personal achievement that influences the world or success in business. More so, when other people read about you on a reputable site such as Wikipedia, they respect you and your achievement. However, we all have different abilities.
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