Using Great Britain Text to Speech

The Tellme Voice Application Network supports both female (hazel) and male (george) voices for Text to Speech (TTS) processing. This article demonstrates how to access this functionality.

To access this TTS functionality, set the name attribute of the voice element to "hazel" or "george" as shown in the following example.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?>
<vxml version="2.1"
  xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2001/vxml">
  <form>
    <block>
      <prompt>
        <voice name="hazel">
        Welcome to Tellme.
        </voice>
      </prompt>
      <exit/>
    </block>
  </form>
</vxml>

For information about the Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) elements that the TTS engine supports, see the Speech Synthesis Markup Element Reference.

This section covers how phone numbers and mailing addresses should be formatted and how they are read by the TTS engine.

  • Phone numbers are generally organized as <area code> <exchange> <number>, such as 0844 544 6079.
  • Brief time breaks occur between number segments.
  • Phone numbers are not pronounced in pairs, as regular numbers are; digits are read individually.
    Text Pronunciation
    0844 544 6079 "oh eight four four (pause) five four four (pause) six oh seven nine"
    8445446029 "eight four four five (pause) four four six oh two nine"
    (020) 4563 2567 "oh two oh (pause) four five six three (pause) two five six seven "

  • If a phone number does not include the area code, periods are not valid phone number delimiters (for example, 930.9000 is not valid but 650.930.9000 is valid).
  • Phone number delimiters are not pronounced.
  • You can use the SSML say-as element to ensure that the TTS engine pronounces a phone number correctly.
  • Numbers in an address are read as numbers (for details, see the Numbers section)
  • United States addresses are typically in the following format:
    Name of recipient
    Building name [Not all addresses have this part.]
    Street name
    postal town (town/city)
    postal code
    Country 
    
  • To ensure that the TTS engine pronounces the state abbreviation correctly, be sure to include a zip code. Also, do not include extra spaces after the city name.
  • You can use the SSML say-as element to ensure that the TTS engine pronounces an address correctly.

Note. The street number will be read back as individual digits

Pronunciation Rule Text
Between a street address and a numeric street, a break occurs 49 Featherstone Street
A break occurs between city/state and the zip code LONDON EC1Y 8SY UNITED KINGDOM

Four digit numbers have some common pronunciation patterns, as listed below. You can also use the SSML say-as element to ensure that the TTS engine pronounces a number digit by digit.

Note. To express multiplication, you must write out the mathematical functions. For example, use "4 times 5" instead of "4*5" or "4X5".

Pattern Pronunciation Rule Example Text Example Pronunciation
4 digit numbers without commas, decimal points read as pairs 2348 twenty three forty eight
4 digit numbers where 2nd pair begins with zero 2nd pair is read as individual digits 2304 twenty three oh four
4 digit numbers that begins with zero Read as pair 0234 zero two hundered and thirty four
4 digit number where 2nd pair is 00 read in hundreds 1200 twelve hundred
4 digit number 2001 through 2009 Read as a single number 2008 two thousand and eight

Currency values are pronounced, in general, as <number><currency value> AND <number> <currency value>. For example, £432.19 is pronounced as "four hundred and thirty two pounds ,nineteen pence." You can use the SSML say-as element to ensure that the TTS engine pronounces a currency value correctly.

Note. Ignore trailing character  ahead of currency

Pronunciation Rule Text Pronunciation
zero value before or after decimal point, only the non-zero value is read £432.00 "four hundred and thirty two pounds"
£0.19 "nineteen pence"
Use m or b to indicate million or billion, respectively. Capitalization or spacing does not matter. £432M "four hundred and thirty two million pounds"
£432.19 m "four hundred and thirty two point one nine million pounds"
£432B four hundred thirty two billion pounds
£432.19 b "four hundred and thirty two point one nine billion pounds"
Ranges are pronounced with the currency value last £2 - £4 "two pounds to four pounds"
Currency in dollars $12.34 "twelve dollars thirty four cents "
Use currency abbreviations GBP 12.34 Twelve pounds sterling thirty four pence

You can refer here Currency Abbreviations to know about currency code abbreviations and the readout for each.

This section covers how the TTS engine pronounces date and time text. You can use the SSML say-as element to ensure that the TTS engine pronounces a date or time value correctly.

Note. Roman Numerals in dates are not supported.

Dates in Great Britain are formatted as dd/mm/yyyy (DMY convention)

Text Pronunciation
25/11/1990 "November the twenty fifth nineteen ninety"
26.01.90 "January the twenty sixth ninety"
1980s "nineteen eighties"
Feb 14 2009 "February the 14th two thousand and nine"

Time can be formatted in different ways. Below are examples of the different formats. In general, time is expressed in 12-hour format, with am and pm to indicate morning or evening. For official purposes 24-hour time notation is used.

  • 12:14
  • 12:14:13
  • 12:14 pm
Pronunciation Rule Text Pronunciation
Seconds are optional 12:14 twelve fourteen
12:14:13 twelve fourteen and thirteen seconds
Morning and evening indicators are optional, can be capitalized or not, with or without periods 12:14 pm twelve fourteen P M

See Also
Speech Synthesis Markup Element Reference, Unicode Code Charts
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