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BBC Launches Machine-Translated Synthetic Voiceovers (bbc.co.uk) 24

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC News service is trialling a tool which provides synthesized journalist voice-overs in different languages, with translation provided by unspecified established online translation services. Although the simulated speech in the BBC video betrays itself with the characteristic staccato flow most associated with Stephen Hawking, the result is above average in terms of natural-sounding speech. However, journalists still need to clean up the returned translations, particularly as the initial test involves Russian and Japanese, and oriental auto-translations can prove embarrassing.
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BBC Launches Machine-Translated Synthetic Voiceovers

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Todos ustedes son vacas. Las vacas dicen moo.

  • by Chikungunya ( 2998457 ) on Monday December 21, 2015 @07:49PM (#51162405)

    At least in Japanese the artificial voice is quite good, on the first few seconds its difficult to say if its a person or a machine reading the text, but eventually you begin to notice the uniformity of the tone no matter what the news are. At least for now they are choosing minor news to try it, so its not so much of a problem having the voice-over sounding happy and light while reading about dozens of dead people on a landslide or something.

  • I wonder if they'll program the machine translators to blindly support the status quo and protect warmongering, child-diddling, corrupt upper-class twits like the BBC's been doing for decades?

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Probably, because those warmongering, child-diddling, corrupt upper-class twits cut the BBC's budget and told them to pray that it would not be cut again.
      It's a case of using "good enough" machine translation because the staff that used to do it have left the building.
  • Since when did we start referring to any reasonably advanced computer algorithms as "robots". I thought a robot, by definition, had to have a body being controlled by the computer. Or is that definition passé now?

    This is not the first time I've heard this. Recall "robots will be taking over your programming jobs", as though a C3PO-like droid is going to sit down at a desk and start punching away at a keyboard.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      It's been used a lot for complex scripts in multiplayer games - "bots", and I've heard it used to describe an fairly complex automated multi-choice telephone answering menu.
      It may not make a lot of sense but some people are using it that way.
      At least the automated spam systems are still "zombies".
  • I hate that the BBC are so obsessed with voiceovers. Just use subtitles for God's sake, and that way we can actually hear the original language. Some of us prefer that to a voiceover.

    Yeah yeah it's prejudiced against blind people... and voiceovers are prejudiced against deaf people.

  • I prefer David Attenborough doing it.

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