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Brilliant course. But why such a mumbled synthetic Russian voice?

I learned Russian as an English schoolboy in the 1950's. I'm now returning to it at the age of 72. I think this course is brilliant, except for one big problem.The Russian voice, as heard on a PC, is dreadfully hard to follow. If I listen without looking at the text, I get it wrong again and again.

November 19, 2015



Not every language has a good Text-to-Speech solution that is natural, precise, pleasant—all of that at once. I think the English course has a much better voice, though, non-native speakers complain even then, especially if they only started to learn Englush.


Good text to speech is notoriously difficult to achieve and great advances have been made in the last few years. I remember those voices from about 10 years ago, which were completely awful! As voices go this one isn't so bad actually. The last couple of days I've tried a few voices for different languages to read sentences to me from my Anki deck and the one in this course isn't any worse than the rest of the Russian voices I found. Keep in mind that even slight intonation errors of text to speech can turn a longer sentence into a jumble even for native speakers. This is even worse when you don't know the words yet. Once you actually know all the words you'll be able to understand the voice much better. There is one advantage also: I actually find that being able to decipher these odd text to speech inaccuracies helps to understand native speakers with different accents a lot better, because you start to recognise words and structures even if they are quite distorted. Give it time, you'll understand that voice eventually.


I'm a native speaker and I find it really hard to understand what the voice says.


It is a lot less time consuming and cheaper to just utilize a programmed/recorded voice. It's not perfect, but it will have to do until something better comes along. With which words are you struggling?


The same thing happens to French course for Portuguese spkears, an example is the word ''un singe'', when the PC speaks this word sounds very weird than common.


I had a similar problem with the skills test. For example, I had a lot of difficulty understanding "наш" --a word I clearly know--but I listened to it 3 times and still couldn't figure it out. The "a" was inscrutable. Growing pains.


Gosh I haven't found it that way in the slightest, rather that opposite, very very clear. Maybe they updated the voices since this post was originally made.


We originally used Юлия voice by SpeechPro, at 95% the default speed. You can try it here: https://cp.speechpro.com/service/tts .

It was less natural and a bit fast but the service has a pretty good parser (they were pretty good picking the correct stress based on context).

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