New voice for Dutch- Ivona?
I just saw a post on the Swedish course- they're very excited because they are getting a new voice through a software program called Ivona. I listened to the Dutch voices on offer through this software and the male voice sounds quite Dutch, relative to our current Vrouw Computer. Any hope that we'll be up-graded?
I'd love to see the voice get changed, especially as the accent on the male voice is a lot more natural sounding.
FYI you can test some sentences here: http://www.ivona.com/en/
I agree with JComer1 that the male voice sounds great (very natural), I tested really quickly with some 5 sentences and it only seems to go wrong with loanwords (ones I tested were metro, restaurant and überhaubt), although other ones like computer and veter went well.
I wasn't sure what I was watching with the Matthijs van Nieuwkerk video but, indeed, there was a lot of fast talking. And Susande, do you think that Vrouw Computer is that bad? I think of her as a German speaker who speaks very correct Dutch with a rather charming German accent- I wish I were as good!
That Matthijs van Nieuwkerk video was part of two guys analysing the interview in the show hosted by Matthijs (De Wereld Draait Door, FYI they criticise it heavily), I used it because what is said is written on the right.
Vrouw computer pronounces individual words fine, standard Dutch if you ask me (I don't hear any German accent). But she doesn't talk naturally at all, she pronounces words too clearly (nobody does that in reality) and her pitch is all over the place. Basically it sounds exactly like a native speaker that wants to sound like an 1980's robot. :)
The male voice on the other hand almost sounds like a native speaker. It depends a bit on the words used, mostly ranging between ok and perfect. E.g. if you let him say "Ik heb zin om samen met jou een terrasje te pakken." native speakers could easily think this is just a sentence recorded by a native speaker.
Like I said before, it's just loanwords are not always good, but that makes sense, since the Dutch tend to pronounce these quite similar to English, German and French for words coming from those languages (together with Latin this are the 4 biggest loanword contributor languages to Dutch, if I remember correctly). I guess this can only be solved by individually picking loanwords from those languages and apply a different Dutch/English, Dutch/German or Dutch/French pronunciation algorithm to them. And I'm not even sure if the majority of words per language are even manipulated similarly…hifi and wifi definitely aren't Dutchified the same way. :)
So to summarise my opinion: the female Dutch voice is ok, the male Dutch voice is great.
Not whatever, your opinion does matter. The thing is that IVONA's female Dutch voice sounds very robotic, compared to the male one, in my opinion at least.